Stephen Hayes, reporter for The Weekly Standard, which obtained a copy of the memo, wrote in the Nov. 24 edition that Saddam Hussein had an "operational relationship" with Osama bin Laden "from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, Al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq and Iraqi financial support for Al Qaeda."
In their attempt to continue to undermine the president, the media is largely ignoring this memo -- and the few that are reporting on it have cast doubts about its contents.
Is it that hard for them to believe the Iraqis were providing "training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction"? When I was in Iraq during the war, the Marines with whom I was embedded found hundreds of munitions depots filled with weapons, ammunition and military equipment. Schools, mosques and stadiums were all used to store arms. We also found chemical protective equipment, atropine injectors and chemical warfare manuals.
I think it's also safe to say that the terrorist bomb jackets and training manuals we found at terrorist training camps were not intended for Iraqi Boy Scouts. There was ample evidence that those trained at the facilities were not Iraqis, but "foreigners," as the Iraqi people called them -- Sudanese, Saudis, Syrians and others.
In fact, if Saddam was not cavorting with Osama bin Laden, it would have been the only terrorist with whom he did not keep company. In August 2002, Sabri al-Banna, better known as Abu Nidal, the terrorist mastermind who targeted my family and me, was found dead with four bullets in his head. Iraqi intelligence ruled it a suicide, which would make it the first multiple-gun-shot-suicide in history.
Abul Abbas, who orchestrated the October 1985 terrorist hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship and murdered passenger Leon Klinghoffer, was apprehended by U.S. Special Forces in Baghdad in April. And when Saddam was not providing comfort to terrorist masterminds like Nidal and Abbas, he was giving financial support to "garden variety terrorists" who were willing to strap dynamite to themselves and kill as many Israelis as they could.
The president's critics will continue to demand proof that Osama and Saddam were best friends who attended each other's birthday parties, despite memoranda by Rumsfeld and Feith explaining that the United States can't eradicate overnight the terrorist network that Saddam supported for over a decade. Meantime, the press will continue to ignore Democrat memos that explain their plans to exploit the federal judiciary and national security to undermine the president at home and abroad. Memo to national news editors: There's a story here somewhere.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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