From Capitol Hill to the Democratic presidential campaign trail, opponents of Operation Iraqi Freedom continue to dismiss the idea that Saddam Hussein was a key ally of international terrorists and the al Qaeda network in particular. And on ties to the September 11 conspiracy, Hussein gets a total pass from those who oppose American intervention in Iraq.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration’s reply to this criticism has been silence punctuated by occasionally murmured rebuttals. On Sunday, President Bush mentioned this issue on Meet the Press with the frustrating vagueness that typifies the U.S. government’s pronouncements on this vital topic. Saddam Hussein “funded suicide bombers into Israel,” Bush told NBC’s Tim Russert. “He had terrorist connections.”
The Hudson Institute’s magazine, American Outlook, has published my response to the Left’s deep denial on Saddam Hussein and terrorism. “Saddam Hussein’s Philanthropy of Terror,” featured in American Outlook’s recently released Fall 2003 issue, amplifies an October 21, 2003 piece on this topic that I wrote for NRO.
This piece goes further, providing pictures of terrorists who enjoyed Hussein’s money, hospitality, and logistical support. A satellite photograph proves the existence of the Salman Pak terrorist training camp just outside Baghdad. A chart lists the numbers of people killed and wounded by terrorists who the Baathist regime nurtured, including Americans murdered and maimed by these butchers. In case anyone believes these are fabrications, 29 footnotes document these crimes.
If I were an assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting Saddam Hussein for his terrorist misdeeds, this would be my opening statement to the jury. In the vital and ongoing debate on America’s role in Iraq, both fans and foes of administration policy should review this indictment. Public deliberations on this key issue will be better informed if people learned the facts about Saddam Hussein’s decades of generosity towards those who fight against civilization itself. This is one place to begin to gain that understanding.
–A pdf version of this article is available online here.