In The Boston Globe, a day before the VP debate, we get
Cheney presses Hussein-Qaeda link
The phrases vary. Some days, Vice President Dick Cheney says Saddam Hussein had "long-established" ties to Al Qaeda. Other days, he says the former Iraqi dictator "had a relationship" with the terrorist group.
But the underlying message remains unchanged -- Cheney plants the idea that Hussein was allied with the group responsible for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001...
Meanwhile, over at the right-wing Cybercast News Service, we get something a bit more alarmist:
Exclusive: Saddam Possessed WMD, Had Extensive Terror Ties
Read the story. Apparently everything the UN couldn't find before the war, everything U.S. inspectors couldn't find after the war, has suddenly shown up -- and dropped in the lap of a reporter for a marginal right-wing Web site! No one's found a smoking gun in the eighteen months since Baghdad fell, and now, out of nowhere, there are enough smoking guns to restage the St. Valentine's Day Massacre! Who'da thunk it?
According to documents obtained by CNS, in 2000 Saddam was purchasing mustard gas and "malignant pustule" (i.e., anthrax)! According to more documents obtained by CNS, in 1993 Saddam urged the Baath Party to "hunt the Americans" -- nine months before "Black Hawk Down" in Somalia! Oh, and Al Qaeda connections? According to CNS's documents, there were Al Qaeda connections up the wazoo!
I said "documents." CNS claims to have these documents, but all you get on the Web site are translations in the same typeface as the main story. CNS isn't going to risk posting PDFs of the actual material allegedly in its possession -- after all, the best way to avoid a Dan Rather embarrassment is never to expose your documents to scrutiny, right?
Oh, and vouching for all this is, among others, Laurie "Oklahoma City Was the Work of Saddam" Mylroie.
Yes, it's a joke. But does Cheney know it's a joke? Might he cite the article tomorrow night, in a way that's both patronizing and avuncular ("I don't know if you saw this, John, but yesterday the Cybercast News Service posted new documents on the Internet indicating that Saddam ..."). I'm sure Edwards is ready for Cheney to claim Saddam and Osama were the best of pals, but this article, with its preposterous but scary-sounding details, is so below-the-radar that I'm sure it hasn't made its way into his debate prep. Would Cheney actually use it to try to throw Edwards off stride? And could it work?