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Hayes on SSCI Report

Stephen Hayes asks, How Bad Is the Senate Intelligence Report?

And he answers, taking exception first to the authors' acceptance of Saddam Hussein's claims that America was not considered and enemy of Iraq.

None of this is a secret, as the press coverage attests. But the authors of the Senate report seem determined to write it out of the history. On what basis do the authors claim that Saddam Hussein was "resistant" to cooperation with Islamists? The finding is sourced to "postwar detainee debriefs--including debriefs of Saddam Hussein and Tariq Aziz." Well then, that settles it.

But why take Saddam's word for it? This is, after all, the same man who claims that he is the president of Iraq. Even assuming the man isn't a pathological liar, isn't it the case that detainees interrogated by a government fighting a global war on terror might have an incentive to understate their complicity in global terror?

This appears to have occurred to the report's authors. "The Committee believes that the results of detainee debriefs largely comport with documentary evidence, but the Committee cannot definitively judge the accuracy of statements made by individuals in custody and cannot, in every case, confirm that detainee statements are truthful and accurate."

In fact, it's not clear that the results of the detainee debriefs do, in fact, largely comport with the documentary evidence. What is clear is that where there was a conflict, the committee almost always chose to disregard the documentary evidence in favor of the debriefings, sometimes to comical effect. According to the report, Saddam Hussein was asked whether he might cooperate with al Qaeda because "the enemy of the enemy is my friend." The report dutifully--and uncritically--offers his response. "Saddam answered that the United States was not Iraq's enemy. He claimed that Iraq only opposed U.S. policies."

Really? That's hard to reconcile with these instructions from Saddam Hussein in a 1993 address. "Attack them, our beloved people," Saddam ordered in a speech broadcast on Iraqi television. "You are the glory of our nation. Attack them." Or this editorial: "American and British interests, embassies, and naval ships in the Arab region should be the targets of military operations and commando attacks by Arab political forces," argued Uday Hussein's newspaper Babel on November 15, 1997.

Hayes continues on to dissect the report. Read it all.

1 Comment

Right on! There's no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a threat. However, the invasion of Iraq did not take place in a vacuum and the "Law of Unintended Consequences" came into play leaving Iran unopposed as the dominant country in the Middle East. And it could turn out that Iran may be a more formidable adversary than Hussein ever was.