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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two degrees of separation:

That's the Weekly Standard's new test to determine if you have a "link" with al Qaeda (it's also Cheney's criteria). From Bill Kristol's essay, Gunsmoke:
Late last week, the Defense Department released an analysis of 600,000 documents captured in Iraq prepared by the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded think tank. Here's the attention-grabbing sentence from the report's executive summary: "This study found no 'smoking gun' (i.e. direct connection) between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda."

[...]

But here's the truth. The executive summary of the report is extraordinarily misleading. The full report, released Thursday night, states, for example, on page 42: "Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda's stated goals and objectives." In fact, as Stephen F. Hayes reports in this issue, the study outlines a startling range of connections between Saddam and various organizations associated with al Qaeda and other terror groups.
According to Kristol, if Saddam had a connection to an outfit that had a connection to al Qaeda, then Saddam has a connection to al Qaeda. By that logic, just about everybody in the Middle East has a connection to al Qaeda, which makes it easy to advocate war against Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, et al.

Actually, Kristol allows for a "connection" even if nobody from a given group has any contacts with al Qaeda, as long as it shares "al Qaeda's stated goals and objectives". Instead of hard facts like contacts and money transfers to determine a connection, it now hinges on Kristol's evaluation of what is "shared". That's lowering the bar to the ground. If al Qaeda comes out for vaccinations, does that mean Bill Gates is a fellow traveler?



2 comments

By that criteria:

The Bush Family has a business connection with the Bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia. Osama Bin Laden is the leader of Al Queda. Therefore, the Bush family--including George W. Bush--is connected to Al Queda.

Dick Cheney has a connection to George W. Bush, therefore Dick Cheney is also connected to Al Queda.

As we on the left have strongly suspected for the past seven years: the country is being run by a bunch of terrorists!

By Anonymous "Fair and Balanced" Dave, at 3/18/2008 5:57 AM  

Yeah, but can he link Osama bin Laden to Kevin Bacon?

By Anonymous e. nonee moose, at 3/18/2008 8:59 AM  

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