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December 15, 2003

Comments

I seem to recall other big deal type stories popping up in the Telegraph and never getting anywhere. Not to say this one is specifically not true, but the currently the Telegraph is on my "high degree of skepticism" list.

But, as you say, if true, &c., &c.

the fact that it was handwritten might explain why the memo survived

This may be a sign that I have work/life issues, but, as an attorney, the thing that shrivels my soul (even more than usual) are the words "handwritten memo." (The words "oh, yeah, we do all our business via e-mail" makes my soul go "pop!" and disappear.)**

Put me in the "assume untrue unless verified" camp.

von

*Why? Well, if someone (say, the president of your company) is going to say something flip or horribly stupid, his(+) first choice is to put it in an e-mail. No e-mail available? Hey, there's a pen and a pad of paper . . . . .

+It tends to be a "he," because the perp is almost always from the "old boys network" (i.e., non-email-comfortable). The kind who figures, hey, when I hit delete, my e-mail disappears! (Wrong. And now you look even guiltier for trying to delete it.)

"Why? Well, if someone (say, the president of your company) is going to say something flip or horribly stupid, his(+) first choice is to put it in an e-mail."

Speaking of which, you and Katherine just both got one. :)

Yeah, me too. The Telegraph, The Mirror, The NY Post, Fox News--all require independent verification before I believe it. Added to which I find it almost impossible to believe the administration wouldn't have gone public with the information if it were real. I feel like the exact same thing has happened at least twice before with the bombshell memos from the Telegraph.

Honestly? If there was any real, sound, verifiable evidence connecting Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda, the Bush administration would be on it like white on rice. That instead they've made do with making rhetorical connections in speeches which they can then publicly deny meant what they clearly intended people to take as their meaning... well, you see my point.

Oh, yeah, and as the key point of the anti-war movement was always that the invasion of Iraq was illegal and awesomely badly-planned, the fact that it also had no connection with the "war on terrorism" is really an add-on extra. It doesn't, of course - and that's something that Bush's opponents should keep pointing out - but the anti-war movement has a far stronger case than could be destroyed by evidence that Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda had a connection... since, given their political/religious viewpoints, it could hardly ever have been a strong alliance.

A ditto for Jesurgislac's first para above.

If the memo is true, then it does add another reason for getting rid of SH, and anti-warists should admit that - although if it turns out there were no WMDs, then any link between SH and al-Q were not going to amount to what the Coalition were claiming (and it's still more likely al-Q could get WMDs from Pakistan, but, yes, I know, Musharraf's helping out, and I believe he at least is anti-al-Q).

Furthermore wasn't there a Bin Laden tape calling on Iraqis to oppose the Coalition if they invaded but also to dump SH? All right, so we don't know that it was 100% genuine, but Jack Straw was quoting from it (the bit about opposing the Coalition... he strangely ignored the other bit).

Thirdly, The Telegraph has trusted memos in the past which have turned out to be fabrications, like the one linking George Galloway with a bribe. Galloway's an idiot (and has scared me since I saw him at the Feb. anti-war rally) but he wasn't that much of one (wouldn't have surprised me too much if he had been, though).

Does it make sense that he would train Atta and then get killed for refusing to train other Al-Qaeda terrorists? I suppose he could have had a change of heart, but I find it somewhat unlikely. Plus, as others have noted, the Telegraph is notoriously unfortunate when it comes to the veracity of memos they stumble across.

"Plus, as others have noted, the Telegraph is notoriously unfortunate when it comes to the veracity of memos they stumble across."

So it would seem, based on the commentary so far. Good thing I registered my own mild skepticism, which may need to be upgraded. :)

A follow-up - "the document is most likely a forgery — part of a thriving new trade in dubious Iraqi documents that has cropped up in the wake of the collapse of Saddam's regime."

Interesting article; I was hoping for something a bit more definite, though.

Jesurgislac-

Oh, yeah, and as the key point of the anti-war movement was always that the invasion of Iraq was illegal and awesomely badly-planned, the fact that it also had no connection with the "war on terrorism" is really an add-on extra.

I don't understand how one can possibly say that the invasion of Iraq had no connection with the war on terror whether or not there is a direct connection between SH and Al-Quaeda. SH was without question connected to other terrorist groups. He provided these terrorists with funds, arms and the use of his territory to train and shelter. Removing SH from power prevented him from providing more of the same, or indeed, establishing a future link with Al-Quaeda. It also prevented SH from providing ANY terrorist group with WMD that he either had, was developing, or was looking to purchase. I just can't understand how one can view removing SH from power was anything but a necessary and obvious step in the war on terror.

Keith Johnson

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