Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 8, 2006
WAR: The Training Ground
THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.
Now, this isn't entirely brand-new news to those of us who have followed Hayes' reporting. If Hayes is right, then the anti-war position can not possibly be defended - even if you set aside all of the other contacts between Saddam and terrorist groups, and set aside his violations of UN resolutions and the terms of the 1991 cease-fire, set aside his cat-and-mouse games with weapons inspectors and all the other WMD issues, set aside his corruption and evasion of the sanctions regime through the Oil-for-"Food" program and otherwise, set aside his open celebration of the September 11 attacks, set aside his history of attacks on neighbors, set aside his brutal abuse of his own people, and set aside the continuing cost we'd paid in keeping a military presence around him - there's really no way to argue that the United States could, in its right mind, have left a regime in power that was dedicated to training more anti-American terrorists.
Is Hayes right? Austin Bay thinks his account has the ring of truth, but as Jason van Steenwyk points out, Hayes spends the rest of his article complaining about the government's refusal to release documents rather than providing backup. Unfortunately, like the NSA story and similar stories based on anonymous sources or out-of-context documents provided to the press, this won't get support from the mainstream media in ferreting out what happened. But if we're going to keep debating the origins of the war, it should.