Is a notorious letter linking Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Osama bin Laden a crock? That's what this article in England's Telegraph says:
No concrete proof of the link between Zarqawi and bin Laden was offered until US officials this year trumpeted the discovery of a computer disk, allegedly intercepted by Kurdish peshmerga guerrillas. Among its files was an apparent draft of a letter from Zarqawi to bin Laden.
"We will be your readied soldiers, working under your banner, complying with your orders and indeed swearing fealty to you publicly and in the news media," the letter read.
That seemed proof enough for the US government. "Zarqawi is the best evidence of the connection to al-Qa'eda affiliates and al-Qa'eda," Mr Bush said in June.
But senior diplomats in Baghdad claim that the letter was almost certainly a hoax. They say the two men may have met in Afghanistan but it appeared they never got on and there has been a rift for several years.
One diplomat claimed that there was evidence to suggest that Zarqawi's aides may have passed on information to the Americans that led to the arrest of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the main planners of the September 11 attacks.
The article also questions the Bushies' campaign to make Zarqawi into Evildoer #1:
The Bush administration has seized on Zarqawi as the principal leader of the insurgency, mastermind of the country's worst suicide bombings and the man behind the abduction of foreign hostages. He is held up as the most tangible link to Osama bin Laden and proof of the claim that the former Iraqi regime had links to al-Qa'eda.
However, fresh intelligence emerging from around Fallujah, the rebel-held city that is at the heart of the insurgency, suggests that, despite a high degree of fragmentation, the insurgency is led and dominated not by Arab foreigners but by members of Iraq's Sunni minority.
...one agent said: "...From the information we have gathered we have to conclude that Zarqawi is more myth than man. He isn't in the calibre of what many politicians want to believe he is.
"At some stage, and perhaps even now, he was almost certainly behind some of the kidnappings. But if there is a main leader of the insurgency he would be an Iraqi. The insurgency, though, is not nearly so centralised to talk of a structured leadership."
If we don't vote Bush out, he and his team will never stop cherry-picking intelligence in order to construct fables
that match their theories and their rhetoric.
(Link via Rational Enquirer.)