Yet Hitchens doesn't concede an inch. "Was the terror connection not exaggerated?" he asks, and, like some crazed homeless guy wandering down the street muttering imprecations at invisible demons, he answers himself:
"Not by much. The Bush administration never claimed that Iraq had any hand in the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But it did point out, at different times, that Saddam had acted as a host and patron to every other terrorist gang in the region."
I have to say I agree with him on this point, if only to a limited degree. While Hitchens has absolutely no evidence to show links between the Iraqi government and Islamists of the al-Qaeda type – the author is, as usual, linkless as well as clueless – he is right that Saddam did harbor one terrorist group. The Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MeK, is a weird neo-Marxist cult made up largely of Iranian women – at least in the top leadership – who are followers of Maryam Rajavi, the self-proclaimed president of "liberated" Iran. The MeK participated in the 1979 revolution that overthrew the shah and installed the Khomeini regime, but fell out of favor and went into violent opposition, launching terrorist attacks (including against U.S. interests and personnel) in Iran from Iraqi soil. Saddam gave them Camp Ashraf, where they remain to this day – under the protection of the U.S. military, which is reportedly using them for expeditions into Iran, the scene of several recent terrorist attacks.
Ohmigod! There must be something in the Geneva Conventions about using a PMS Brigade! Oh, the horror!
And this chiller:
The problem for Perle and Hitchens is that few are listening. Even in Washington, where both parties collaborated in bringing this disastrous war about, the ranks of the War Party are noticeably thinning. In the country at large, the war is wildly unpopular. The electorate longs for an antiwar presidential candidate like evangelicals pining for the Messiah's return. Deliver us from evil! appears to be the general sentiment, although what sort of evil the American public is just beginning to learn.
It's turning out to be a very hard lesson about accountability, oversight, and complacency in the face of power-mad warmongers of whatever stripe. The rest of us are gonna lose before we win.
Good article. Many links.