The Corner

The Iraq Files

The WSJ editorial page extends well deserved kudos this morning to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) for their vital effort in pushing the intelligence community, finally, to agree to a rapid release of the trove of documents seized from the Saddam Hussein regime.

The administration’s flat-footedness on this has never been fathomable. The reason that has always made the most sense for invading Iraq and deposing Saddam was that he was an assiduous, historic facilitator of Islamist terrorism – harboring terrorists, financing them, and providing training, safe-passage and, perhaps, even operational support.

Thanks to tireless work by folks like Steve Hayes (at the Weekly Standard) and Tom Joscelyn (at both the standard and at Tom’s website, here, which is a must-read for those who follow national security issues), we already know that the relative smidgeon of the Iraq files that has eeked out so far underscores Saddam’s dalliances with bin Laden and his affiliates. But there’s tons more information to wade through, and now it looks like we’ll be able to do that.

This war was about national security, and the imperative of eradicating the Islamist terror network and states that promote it. It was not about democracy-building. The legacy of the Iraq war critically depends not on what kind of government Iraq ends up having, but on making the public case that Saddam was a terror-monger – that he was leading the paragon of regime-type President Bush rightly said had to change or be ousted right after 9/11.

For too long, people in the intelligence community (who were vested in the delusion that secular Saddam would never make common cause with Islamo-fascists), and people in the media and on the Left (who revile the administration) have been in no great hurry to see come to light evidence that would support the Iraq initiative. (For example, with all the news we read about intelligence failure in Iraq, how often have you seen reported in the mainstream press what Steve reported a few months ago in the Standard: to wit, that we are holding in Gitmo an Iraqi who is charged with having gone to Pakistan with Iraqi intelligence to explore blowing up the U.S. embassy there in August 1998 … the very same month al Qaeda blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania)

Now, maybe we’ll get to see who was right and who was wrong.

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