Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Much of the right blogosphere is crowing about a detail in this Telegraph story about how we got to bin Laden's courier, and thus ultimately to bin Laden:

[A Wikileaks] file suggests that the courier's identity was provided to the US by another key source, the al-Qaida facilitator Hassan Ghul, who was captured in Iraq in 2004 and interrogated by the CIA. Ghul was never sent to Guantanamo but was believed to have been taken to a prison in Pakistan.

"Captured in Iraq"? That's like catnip to the right. So, at Breitbart's Big Peace we get "The Hunt for bin Laden: The Iraq Connection?" At Gateway Pundit we get "More Bad News for Dems... It Was a Captured Terrorist in Iraq Who Gave US Info on Bin Laden’s Courier." And so on.

Sorry, boys, but no. Go read Ghul's well-annotated Wikipedia page. I'll give you some of the text, and you can go to there for the links:

Allegedly an al-Qaeda agent, Hassan Ghul ... has also been identified as a member of Ansar al-Islam....

Yeah, right: Ansar al-Islam was an Al Qaeda affiliate, later known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, that formed before the Iraq War in Kurdistan -- the part of Iraq that Saddam didn't control. It was largely covered by the northern no-fly zone, which was mandated by the UN after the first Gulf War.

He was captured on January 23, 2004 by Kurdish police forces, possibly associated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan,at a checkpoint near Kalar, at the Iranian border....

There are contradicting claims that he was caught
entering Iraq to bring al-Zarqawi money and bomb schematics or that he was caught leaving Iraq bringing al-Zarqawi's progress report on successful suicide bombings into Iran....

Kalar is in the Kurdish region of Iraq. But also please note the year of the capture: 2004. Zarqawi and his fellow Islamists were running amok in Iraq precisely because we'd overthrown Saddam and then (spectacularly) failed to establish security.

In 2006, two and a half years after his capture, Ghul was transferred to a secret Pakistani prison system, where he was held alongside British suspect Rangzieb Ahmed. The two spoke to each other, and Ghul seemed to indicate he was Pakistani....

Lovely. Some "Iraq connection." (The source for that is here.)

So the righties are now saying that overthrowing Saddam was a good move in the war against Al Qaeda because a key connection to bin Laden settled in a region largely outside Saddam's control, and that guy subsequently thrived for a while in the Iraq chaos the war created. I fail to see the logic.

If you'd argued in 2002 that we should pursue the Al Qaeda affiliates in Iraqi Kurdistan, I would have said you had a case to make. But if you're arguing that it was a good idea to induce a state of violent anarchy throughout Iraq so Al Qaeda affiliates would feast on that anarchy and then we'd catch some of them, having broken and thus bought Iraq, at the cost of thousands of lives and billions of dollars, well, you're still nuts.

No comments: