Friday, April 06, 2007

3,267 dead, 24,314 wounded

Pentagon: No Saddam-Al Qaeda Link: Saddam Hussein's government did not cooperate with Al Qaeda prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the U.S. Defense Department said in a report based on interrogations of the deposed leader and two of his former aides.

Cheney Reasserts al-Qaida-Saddam Link: The same day the declassified report was released, the vice president went on Rush Limbaugh's radio show to repeat his assertion that al Qaeda was operating inside Iraq "before we ever launched" the war, under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist killed last June.

Cheney used the claim to bolster his argument that pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq would "play right into the hands of al Qaeda."

Zarqawi was not a member of al Qaeda before the war, however, but "was the leader of an unaffiliated terrorist group." He didn’t publicly ally himself with al Qaeda until early 2004, after the U.S. invasion.

The Sept. 11 Commission's 2004 report also found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network during that period.

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