The Corner

“Boogie to Baghdad”

My column in The Hill today is one more attempt to inject the words “boogie to Baghdad” into the debate over pre-war intelligence. For those who might not remember, “boogie to Baghdad” is the phrase that Richard Clarke, when he was the top White House counter-terrorism official during the Clinton administration, used to express his fear that if American forces pushed Osama bin Laden too hard at his hideout in Afghanistan, bin Laden might move to Iraq, where he could stay in the protection of Saddam Hussein. That information didn’t come from allegedly intelligence-hyping Bush administration officials, but rather from the September 11 Commission report, which laid out an ongoing relationship between bin Laden and Saddam’s Iraq in the years after 1996. (You can read it here, in the Commission’s report, on page 134.) “Boogie to Baghdad” might seem a phrase too catchy for newspaper editors to ignore, but, according to a search of the Nexis database, it has never appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other major papers, nor has it been uttered on the network newscasts. In fact, other than the September 11 Commission report, just about the only places it has appeared are on this website and in The Weekly Standard.

Byron York is is the author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

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