A worldview is a set of claims that purport to be based on ultimate reality.

Archive for April, 2006

Defeatism, From One of the Usual Suspects

Posted by ssbg on April 29, 2006


Andrew Sullivan reviews current data from Iraq, and concludes:

They're grim. 100,000 families have so far forced to flee their homes; U.S. fatalities were sharply up in April; 8,300 civilian Iraqis were murdered by terrorist insurgents in 2005. In terms of civilian deaths, adjusted for population size, Iraq endured something like twenty-five 9/11s last year. Let's put it another way: a territory controlled by U.S. forces accounted for 50 percent of deaths caused by terrorists on the planet last year. If that is a successful military occupation, then I'm not sure what failure would be. I guess I should ask Powerline.

In fact, though, the numbers cited by Andrew prove little about whether our effort in Iraq is a success or a failure. The spike in casualties in April was an interruption in a long-term trend of steadily declining American and Iraqi casualties. This is consistent with the terrorists' historical practice of ramping up violence whenever the Iraqis are about to take a new step toward democracy: electing a constitutional assembly, electing a legislative assembly, choosing a government. Once again, the terrorists' violence failed. Iraqi politicians have agreed on a new Prime Minister who is in the process of forming the first democratically elected government in the history of the Arab world.

The fact that half of all deaths caused by terrorists last year were in Iraq is consistent with what the terrorists themselves often tell us: Iraq is the central front in the global war against Islamic terrorism. The old Andrew Sullivan would have understood that this means we should fight to win in Iraq, not cut and run.

To the extent that people are being murdered by home-grown terrorists in Iraq, as opposed to Zarqawi, et al, the perpetrators are the very same Baathist thugs who, until we overthrew Saddam, controlled Iraq's government. For thirty years, they ruled Iraq through a ruthless campaign of violence that killed many thousands of Iraqis (300,000 is a number that is commonly cited) and terrorized the rest. It is obvious to the Iraqis themselves that it is a good thing that these people are now out of power rather than in power. Why isn't it obvious to Andrew?

Andrew seems to think that he needs to come to us for a definition of success in Iraq. I'm not sure why; the Bush administration has outlined its goals there countless times. If, a few years from now, Iraq has a functioning democracy that 1) does not threaten American interests, 2) does not threaten its neighbors, and 3) serves as an inspiration to pro-reform movements throughout the Muslim world (as has already happened), our effort in Iraq will have succeeded, and will have been well worth the sacrifices it entailed. It is not necessary that Iraq be crime-free or violence-free for our policy to be a success.

It is still possible that we could fail in Iraq, but we certainly haven't failed yet. The key moments will arrive on the first couple of occasions when that country makes a peaceful transition from one elected government to another. If the Iraqis make those transitions successfully, we will be able, I think, to label our policy in that country a success. Even if they don't, and an authoritarian regime ultimately controls the country, it could still be a vast improvement on the virulently anti-American and pro-terrorist Saddam Hussein.

So it will be a while before we can render a verdict on the policy President Bush set in motion in 2003. As I've said before, I think it is more likely than not that history will judge our effort a success. In the meantime, engaging in defeatist hysteria every time the terrorists pull off a successful bombing is neither helpful nor analytically accurate.


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A New Examination of The Da Vinci Code

Posted by ssbg on April 25, 2006


Fact or Fiction?
A New Examination of The Da Vinci Code


April 25, 2006


Three years after its original release, Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code is riding a whole new wave of publicity. With the recent plagiarism trial in Great Britain and the upcoming release of the film adaptation, the book is making headlines all over again.

So it's an especially good time to arm ourselves with facts about The Da Vinci Code. And I highly recommend Dr. Ken Boa's DVD Unraveling the Da Vinci Code and his soon-to-be released book, The Gospel According to the Da Vinci Code.

Boa, who is one of the most accomplished Christian thinkers I know, has done extensive research on The Da Vinci Code. He says that we need teaching tools like these because so many people have a tendency to confuse fact and fiction—even when we know that what we're reading is just a novel. In this case, Dan Brown encourages that delusion with an author's note in the book stating that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."

So the average reader with little background in theology, history, or art is likely to come away from the book believing that the Christian Church, out of a hatred for all things feminine, has deliberately been hiding the truth about Jesus' identity and His relationship with Mary Magadalene.

The odd thing is, Dan Brown claims on his website to be a Christian, "although," he adds, "perhaps not in the most traditional sense of the word." But as Ken Boa points out, the negative impression of the Church that Brown's readers receive is no accident. The book itself claims that the secret it supposedly reveals is "so powerful that . . . it threatened to devastate the very foundation of Christianity." Brown's agenda in this book, Boa charges, is no less than "the deconstruction of Christianity."

On the evidence that Boa presents, it's a fair charge. Why else would Brown fudge so many of his supposedly "accurate" facts—facts that can be easily checked? From the correct spelling of the titles of paintings; to the colors, techniques, and materials used in those paintings; even to the name of the artist around whom the book revolves, Brown commits error after error. And his errors don't stop with art. He gets all kinds of details wrong about both Church history and secular history.

Brown is even wrong about the tenets of Gnosticism, the religion he's really pushing here. Brown presents Gnosticism as a religion that glorifies the body, and Christianity as one that considers the body to be evil. In reality, as an examination of the New Testament and Gnostic documents will show, it's exactly the other way around. Gnosticism, in fact, considers all matter, including the human body, evil. That's why, while Christianity emphasizes the incarnation of Jesus, Gnosticism doesn't even believe in it.

I don't have enough time here to go into all the facts shared by Boa, which is why I urge you to get his DVD Unraveling the Da Vinci Code and the book The Gospel According to the Da Vinci Code and then see for yourself what the facts are.

Then, make sure you talk to your friends and neighbors who have read The Da Vinci Code or who plan to see the movie. Make sure they aren't taken in by what is, in the end, pure mischief and fiction.

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Saddam’s Archives: We’re Getting Warmer

Posted by ssbg on April 17, 2006


As regular readers know, we've been cautious about drawing conclusions from the tiny number of Iraqi documents that have so far been made public under Project Harmony. But today, jveritas at Free Republic, whose translation efforts we linked to here, has come up with what appears to be a highly significant memorandum. This is how he introduces the translation:

Document ISGP-2003-0001498 contains a 9 page TOP SECRET memo (pages 87-96 in the pdf document) dated March 16 2003 that talks about transferring “SPECIAL AMMUNITION” from one ammunition depot in Najaf to other ammunition depots near Baghdad. As we know by now the term SPECIAL AMMUNITION was used by Saddam Regime to designate CHEMICAL WEAPONS as another translated document has already shown. For example in document CMPC 2004-002219 where Saddam regime decided to use “CHEMICAL WEAPONS against the Kurds” they used the term “SPECIAL AMMUNITION” for chemical weapon What is also interesting is that these “SPECIAL AMMUNITION” were listed as 122 mm, 130 mm, and 155 mm caliber shells which are not by itself SPECIAL unless it contain CHEMICAL WEAPONS. In fact the Iraqi have always used 122 mm, 130 mm, and 155 mm caliber shell as a main delivery tool for Chemical Weapons Agents by filling these type of shells with Nerve Gas, Sarin, Racin, Mustard gas and other Chemical Agents.

The translation follows:

In the Name of God the Merciful The Compassionate Top Secret Ministry Of Defense Chairmanship of the Army Staff Al Mira Department No. 4/17/ammunition/249Date 16 March 2003

To: The Command of the Western Region

Subject: Transfer of Ammunitions

The secret and immediate letter of the Chairmanship of the Army Staff 4/17/308 on 10 March 2003

1. The approval of the Army Chief of Staff was obtained to transfer THE SPECIAL AMMUNITIONS in the ammunition depots group of Najaf and according to the following priorities:

A. The first priority

First. Ammunition (122 mm)
Second. Ammunition (130 mm)
Third. Ammunition (155 mm)

To the depots and storage of the Second Corps and the two ammunition depot groups Dijla/2/3

B. Second priority.

First. Ammunition (23 mm)
Second. Ammunition (14.5 mm)

To the ammunition depots of the air defense and distributed to the ammunition depot groups in (Al Mussayeb- Al Sobra- Saad).

2. To execute the order of the Chief Army Staff indicated in section (1) above, we relate the following:

A. Duty

Transfer of the ammunitions shown in sections (A) and (B) from the ammunitions depots of Najaf to the ammunition depots in (Dijla 2/3, and Al Mansor, and Saad, and Al Mussayeb, and Sobra and Blad Roz and Amar Weys from March 16 till April 14 2003.


General Rasheed Abdallah Sultan
Assistant to the Army Chief of Staff- Al Mira
March 2003

jveritas concludes:

The remaining pages of this 9 pages top secret memo talk about getting the special vehicles to transfer the SPECIAL AMMUNITION and the people assigned to supervise and execute the transfer and they were top Iraqi Army and Military Intelligence officers.

The apparent significance of this document requires no elaboration. Transferring a load of ordinary munitions from Najaf to Baghdad would presumably not require the approval of the Army's Chief of Staff; nor would it be the subject of a top secret memo; nor would arrangements for "special vehicles" be necessary. Hugh Hewitt writes:

Now comes another document with more potentially significant language, and so the question grows: What do these documents mean?The suspicion is growing that the American intelligence community never systematically checked these docs. If they did, they should produce the record of that evaluation and the conclusions reached on documents which, on their face, seem to be proof of Saddam's pre-war WMD stockpiles.

The White House as well must recognize that these documents are not yesterday's news and must not be afraid to reopen the debate about the WMDs.

As always, we want to proceed with caution. This document is dated just a few days before the war began, and, based on the prefix assigned to it, I think it came from the Iraq Survey Group. It seems almost inconceivable that the ISG could have overlooked a document with such apparent relevance to its mission.

The document can be accessed here. We'd like to get confirmation of jveritas's translation, as well as any comments on the significance of other portions of the document. We'd also be interested to get the perspective of anyone who served with the ISG. If this document is old news, and there is some innocent explanation, we're curious to know what it is.

UPDATE: Reader Bill Wiese is skeptical:

14.5mm is for machine guns (mainly) and 23mm is for anti-aircraft guns (mainly). What's special about them? Nothing. And yet, they get the "special" tag as well in the memo.

Good question, but hardly dispositive. Clearly there was something "special" about this ammunition; if it wasn't WMD, what was it? It wouldn't take an order from the Army Chief of Staff or "special" vehicles to move ordinary machine gun ammunition, nor would such a routine supply issue be the subject of a top secret memo.

I don't know whether shells as small as 14.5 mm or 23 mm can be used for delivery of WMD; do any of our readers? And, if that seems unlikely, can anyone suggest an alternative reason why these shells were "special"?

FURTHER UPDATE: We've gotten lots of reader responses. The consensus is that small caliber shells couldn't be used for WMD delivery per se for what, I guess, are obvious reasons. Some readers, though, think it's plausible that the Iraqis might have added a dash of poison to make such ammunition more deadly. (One reader reminds us that the Symbionese Liberation Army used bullets poisoned with cyanide when it assassinated the Oakland School Superintendent.) Or, as to the smaller caliber ammunition, "special" may have referred to some other quality, such as armor-piercing.

On the broader question of the memo's significance, Steve Hayes, who knows as much about this subject as anyone, writes:

Interesting. I hadn't seen it. I find generally persuasive the narrative laid out by LTC Kevin Woods, et. al. in the Iraqi Perspectives Project. Their thesis is, basically, that Saddam Hussein didn't have what we thought he had because he didn't have what HE thought he had. In mid-December 2002, according to their narrative, SH tells top regime officials that he doesn't have large quantities of WMD.I don't know whether the Army Chief of Staff was among the senior regime officials who were told that the WMD was gone. If he wasn't, it could be that these are genuine orders, contained in an authentic
document, for materials that simply weren't available to them. The document certainly seems to suggest that the author believed that they had them on March 16, 2003.

That said, it's certainly possible that he (or his subordinates) retained some small capability in the chemical area. I think that's the reason that the ISG quite deliberately left open the possibility that some materials could have been transferred to Syria or elsewhere.

I'm not sure where the recent revelations about Naji Sabri fit into this picture. Sabri, the former Iraqi foreign minister, apparently told the CIA (through the French) in January 2003 that Iraq had retained some chemical capability but that the weapons were no longer under military control.

As we've said before, it will take more than a few pieces of paper to resolve the questions surrounding Iraq's WMDs. Let's hope that the Project Harmony documents, taken in their entirety, provide definitive answers.

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Saddam Targeted American Assets For Terrorism: Case Closed (Bumped)

Posted by ssbg on April 17, 2006


A few days ago, I posted a translation of a document culled from the captured Iraqi documents that the US found during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This particular memo, dated March 17, 2001, comes from a brigadier general in the Iraqi Air Force and requests a list of volunteers from all units under his command for suicide attackers. The memo explicitly explains the targets for these terrorist attacks, as the original translation from Joseph Shahda shows:

The top secret letter 2205 of the Military Branch of Al Qadisya on 4/3/2001 announced by the top secret letter 246 from the Command of the military sector of Zi Kar on 8/3/2001 announced to us by the top secret letter 154 from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001 we ask to provide that Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests and according what is shown below to please review and inform us.

When I posted this document, readers of this blog questioned the accuracy of the translation. People know that Joseph translated this for Free Republic, a strongly pro-war website, and that it was distributed by Laurie Mylroie, another pro-war commentator. Skeptics felt that this pedigree lent itself to a possibly warped interpretation of the memo. While the accuracy of the translation remained in question, the actual text — which showed an active Iraqi terror program aimed at Americans — would not get the attention it deserved.

In order to solve this problem, I decided to hire two Arabic translators on my own.

I found a translation service, Language 123, that employs a number of translators who work as free agents. The first translator, Nabil Bouitieh, works in the UK as a full-time translator for several government services. He has language certificates from Karl Marx University in Dresden, the German Cultural Center in Damascus, a degree in translation from Polytechnic of Central London, and a Masters of Diplomatic Studies from the Diplomatic Academy of London. Separately, I also hired Hamania H, who works from Damascus. She earned several degrees in language at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, including masters in translation, foreign languages, and bachelors in both areas and in law as well.

Neither of them knew that I had asked the other to translate the document. I split out page 6 from the original PDF and sent it to both along with payment. They both returned their translations today, and their results make it clear that Joseph Shahda had it right all along. First, we have Nabil Bouitieh:

Top secret memoranda sent to Al-Kadisseiya Military branch No.2205 dated 04/03/2001 and to the Headquarters of Zee karr military branch No. 246 dated: 08/03/2001 that we were informed by another memo from Ali Unit military branch No. 154 dated: 10/03/2001. We urge you to inform the above mentioned unit of the names of people wishing to volunteer for suicide action to liberate Palestine and strike American interests according to the following below for your information and to let us know.

Now here's the translation of the same passage from Hamania H:

A confidential letter of Qadisya Military Branch, that holds the number 2205 dated on 4/3/2001, notified upon a confidential letter issued by Thi Kar military command, that holds the number 246 dated on 8/3/2001 and notified to us upon a confidential letter issued by Ali squad military command, that holds the number 154 dated on 20/03/2001. Kindly provide the aforementioned squad with the names of persons desiring to volunteer in the suicidal act in order to liberate Palestine and to strike the American interests in accordance with the following details. You are informed and we therefore expect you to notify us.

You will note that all three translations of this document — performed by three different people working independently of each other — all translate this section almost identically. All three explicitly show that the Iraqi military had ordered a call for volunteers to carry out suicide attacks on American interests, six months before 9/11 and two years almost to the day prior to our invasion.

This confirms that Saddam Hussein and his regime had every intention of attacking the US, either here or abroad or both, using members of their own military for terrorist attacks. That puts an end to all of the arguments about whether we should have attacked Iraq, we now know that Saddam and his military planned to attack us. This one document demonstrates that had we not acted to topple Saddam Hussein, he would have acted to kill Americans around the world.

UPDATE: Why "case closed"? Because this shows that Saddam had recruited suicide bombers to attack American interests — showing that destroying Saddam's regime is an integral part of the war on terror, not a distraction.

What else could this memo mean? I look at the timing of this recruitment drive in this post.

BUMP 4/10/06: To top. Interesting that no one in the media, or really all that much in the blogosphere, seems to be picking this one up


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What we’ve learned about Iraq’s terrorist training camps

Posted by ssbg on April 17, 2006

Camp Saddam  00Algore9.jpg
by Stephen F. Hayes
04/03/2006, Volume 011, Issue 27

REPRESENTATIVE John Murtha, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, appeared on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, March 19, to evaluate the war in Iraq on its third anniversary. Murtha, a decorated veteran and longtime hawk, has become a leading spokesman for his party on the war. And on the show, he spoke of what "probably worries me the most" about the U.S. effort in Iraq. The war, said Murtha, is a diversion from the global war on terror.

"There was no terrorism in Iraq before we went there," said Murtha. "None. There was no connection with al Qaeda, there was no connection with, with terrorism in Iraq itself." This is now the conventional wisdom on Iraq and terrorism. It is wrong.

A new study from the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, paints quite a different picture. According to captured documents cited in the study and first reported in THE WEEKLY STANDARD in January, the former Iraqi regime was training non-Iraqi Arabs in terrorist techniques.

Beginning in 1994, the Fedayeen Saddam opened its own paramilitary training camps for volunteers, graduating more than 7,200 "good men racing full with courage and enthusiasm" in the first year. Beginning in 1998, these camps began hosting "Arab volunteers from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, 'the Gulf,' and Syria." It is not clear from available evidence where all of these non-Iraqi volunteers who were "sacrificing for the cause" went to ply their newfound skills. Before the summer of 2002, most volunteers went home upon the completion of training. But these camps were humming with frenzied activity in the months immediately prior to the war. As late as January 2003, the volunteers participated in a special training event called the "Heroes Attack." This training event was designed in part to prepare regional Fedayeen Saddam commands to "obstruct the enemy from achieving his goal and to support keeping peace and stability in the province."

Some of this training came under the auspices of the Iraqi Intelligence Service's "Division 27," which, according to the study, "supplied the Fedayeen Saddam with silencers, equipment for booby-trapping vehicles, [and] special training on the use of certain explosive timers. The only apparent use for all of this Division 27 equipment was to conduct commando or terrorist operations."

The publication of the Joint Forces Command study, called the "Iraqi Perspectives Project," coincides with the release by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence of several hundred documents captured in postwar Iraq. There are many more to come. Some of the documents used to complete the study have been made public as part of the ODNI effort; others have not.

It is early, but the emerging picture suggests that the U.S. intelligence community underestimated Saddam Hussein's interest in terrorism. One U.S. intelligence official, identified only as an "IC analyst" in the Senate Select Intelligence Committee report on Iraq, summarized the intelligence community's view on Iraq and terrorism with disarming candor: "I don't think we were really focused on the CT [counterterrorism] side, because we weren't concerned about the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] going out and proactively conducting terrorist attacks. It wasn't until we realized that there was the possibility of going to war that we had to get a handle on that."

A report produced by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, signed by all members of the Intelligence Committee, Democrats and Republicans, offered this withering assessment of the intelligence community's work on Iraq and terrorism:

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did not have a focused human intelligence (HUMINT) collection strategy targeting Iraq's links to terrorism until 2002. The CIA had no [redacted] sources on the ground in Iraq reporting specifically on terrorism.

It wasn't just Iraq. "The CIA had no [redacted] credible reporting on the leadership of either the Iraqi regime or al Qaeda, which would have enabled it to better define a cooperative relationship, if any did in fact exist."

One document posted on the Internet by the government last week, after it was excerpted in the most recent issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, sheds additional light on the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. The internal Iraqi Intelligence memo was written at some point after January 1997 and described the efforts by the IIS to strengthen its relationships with four Saudi opposition groups. One of those groups was the "Reform and Advice Committee," run by Osama bin Laden. The New York Times reported that a Pentagon task force that studied the document concluded that it "appeared authentic." Last week, the investigative unit of ABC News summarized the document in a report.

A newly released prewar Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995, after receiving approval from Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. According to the document, Saddam's presidency was informed of the details of the meeting on March 4, 1995, and Saddam agreed to dedicate a program for them on the radio. The document states that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what's open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation." The Sudanese were informed about the agreement to dedicate the program on the radio.

The report then states that "Saudi opposition figure" bin Laden had to leave Sudan in July 1996 after it was accused of harboring terrorists. It says information indicated he was in Afghanistan. "The relationship with him is still through the Sudanese. We're currently working on activating this relationship through a new channel in light of his current location," it states.

The summary was followed by an "Editor's Note" assessing the contents and meaning of the document.

This document is handwritten and has no official seal. Although contacts between bin Laden and the Iraqis have been reported in the 9/11 Commission report and elsewhere (e.g., the 9/11 report states "Bin Laden himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995) this document indicates the contacts were approved personally by Saddam Hussein.It also indicates the discussions were substantive, in particular that bin Laden was proposing an operational relationship, and that the Iraqis were, at a minimum, interested in exploring a potential relationship and prepared to show good faith by broadcasting the speeches of al Ouda, the radical cleric who was also a bin Laden mentor.

The document does not establish that the two parties did in fact enter into an operational relationship. Given that the document claims bin Laden was proposing to the Iraqis that they conduct "joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia, it is worth noting that eight months after the meeting–on November 13, 1995–terrorists attacked Saudi National Guard Headquarters in Riyadh, killing 5 U.S. military advisers. The militants later confessed on Saudi TV to having been trained by Osama bin Laden.

John Murtha's claim–that there was no connection "with terrorism in Iraq itself"–might come as a surprise to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines. In early April 2003, they found a ten-acre terrorist training camp ten miles outside of Baghdad. In an interview at the time with an embedded reporter from Stars & Stripes, Captain Aaron Robertson said: "We believe this is a training camp where Iraqis trained forces for the Palestine Liberation Front. This is what we would refer to as a sensitive site. This is clearly a terrorist training camp, the type Iraq claimed did not exist."

Reporter Mark Oliva described the camp in detail:

About a dozen reinforced concrete buildings line the front edge with a large parade field, concrete and steel obstacle course and even a shooting range within its confines. The camp has many modern amenities, including running and heated water, a large kitchen and electricity. Some buildings had ceiling fans and central air conditioning.

Said Captain Robertson: "It's much more sophisticated than those training camps we found in Afghanistan. It has a permanent obstacle course, which rivals anything our Marines have back at Camp Pendleton."

The Marines recovered training manuals in Arabic and English, along with rosters of Palestinians trained there. Last week, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an Iraqi "intelligence-coded" memo that included lists of "Palestinians trained in Iraq." In fact, Saddam Hussein boasted of his support for Palestinian terrorists and provided the families of Palestinian "martyrs" rewards of $25,000. Another captured document details those payments.

Among the documents released last week was a translation of a three-page Iraqi Intelligence memo regarding a wave of attacks to be conducted by the Saddam Fedayeen. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence website states that it cannot verify the authenticity of the posted documents, but the document appears to be similar to one described in the "Iraqi Perspectives Study." The undated document was apparently prepared in response to orders given on May 5, 1999.

According to those orders, the Fedayeen Saddam was "to start planning from now on to perform special operations (assassinations/bombings) for the centers and the traitor symbols in the fields of (London/Iran/self-ruled areas) and for coordination with the Intelligence service to secure deliveries, accommodations, and target guidance." The execution of the plan would take place in several steps. After the IIS selected 50 "fedayeen martyrs," they were to receive training at an IIS school. Those who passed the tests would be assigned targets. "The first ten will work in the European field (London). The second ten will be working in the Iranian field. The third will be working in the self-ruled field."

How many of these attacks were executed, if any? And who, exactly, were the non-Iraqi Arabs trained in Iraq beginning in 1998? Did some of them return to Iraq before the war? Are we fighting them still?

That is a distinct possibility. In an interview last month, David Dunford, a career foreign service officer who served as the chief U.S. government liaison to the post-Saddam Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad, described a document his team found in the abandoned ministry building. It was "a list of jihadists, for want of a better word, coming into Iraq from Saudi Arabia before the war," he said, unprompted. "That suggested to me that Saddam was planning the insurgency before the war."

One key element in shaping the conventional wisdom on Iraq and terrorism was the 9/11 Commission Report, which found that Iraq and al Qaeda had no "collaborative operational relationship." But the day that report was released, Commissioner John Lehman offered this prophetic warning in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD: "There may well be–and probably will be–additional intelligence coming in from interrogations and from analysis of captured records and so forth which will fill out the intelligence picture. This is not phrased as, nor meant to be, the definitive word on Iraqi Intelligence activities."

The "Iraqi Perspectives Project" has provided a look at Iraqi support for terrorism through its analysis of captured documents. The interrogation of the military commander of Salman Pak, a terrorist training camp outside of Baghdad, is said to add to this picture. And then there is the provocative "Summary of Evidence" on an Iraqi detainee at Guantanamo. Based in part on an interrogation of the detainee, it was produced by the U.S. government and released last year.

1. From 1987 to 1989, the detainee served as an infantryman in the Iraqi Army and received training on the mortar and rocket propelled grenades.2. A Taliban recruiter in Baghdad convinced the detainee to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban in 1994.

3. The detainee admitted he was a member of the Taliban.

4. The detainee pledged allegiance to the supreme leader of the Taliban to help them take over all of Afghanistan.

5. The Taliban issued the detainee a Kalashnikov rifle in November 2000.

6. The detainee worked in a Taliban ammo and arms storage arsenal in Mazar-E-Sharif organizing weapons and ammunition.

7. The detainee willingly associated with al Qaeda members.

8. The detainee was a member of al Qaeda.

9. An assistant to Usama Bin Ladin paid the detainee on three separate occasions between 1995 and 1997.

10. The detainee stayed at the al Farouq camp in Darwanta, Afghanistan, where he received 1,000 Rupees to continue his travels.

11. From 1997 to 1998, the detainee acted as a trusted agent for Usama Bin Ladin, executing three separate reconnaissance missions for the al Qaeda leader in Oman, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

12. In August 1998, the detainee traveled to Pakistan with a member of Iraqi Intelligence for the purpose of blowing up the Pakistan, United States and British embassies with chemical mortars.

13. Detainee was arrested by Pakistani authorities in Khudzar, Pakistan, in July 2002.

Stephen F. Hayes is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.

© Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.


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