A majority of Americans, according to a recent poll, now call going into Iraq a mistake. Many Iraqis apparently failed to get the memo.
A poll commissioned by the Coalition Provisional Authority found 63 percent of Iraqis expect conditions to improve after the takeover of the interim government. Four years ago, Iraq's unemployment rate stood between 60 and 75 percent. The current estimated rate is now at approximately 30 percent -- high by our standards, but a dramatic decline since the fall of Saddam's regime.
What about those purported non-existent links between terrorism, al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein? Some of the press enthusiastically reported that the 9/11 commission found no "link" or "collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. But the commission -- only charged with investigating the 9/11 attacks -- actually said, "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States (emphasis added)."
About connections between al Qaeda, terrorism and Saddam, The New York Times recently wrote: "Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990s were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq."
The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes, in his new book, "The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America," explores many Iraq/al Qaeda links, including:
"The al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan in the late 1990s linked to both al Qaeda and Iraq as a front for producing chemical weapons -- according to the testimony of six senior Clinton administration officials . . .
"Photographs . . . placing Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, a suspected Iraqi intelligence operative, at key planning meetings with al Qaeda members for the bombing of the USS Cole and the Sept. 11 attacks . . .
"Official records . . . prove that Saddam's regime harbored Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi who mixed the chemicals for the 1993 World Trade Center attack -- the first al Qaeda attack on U.S. soil . . ."