The year of the memo

Oliver North

11/21/2003 12:00:00 AM - Oliver North

ENROUTE TO UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -- Attention members of the Fourth Estate. You are missing an extraordinary opportunity to add yet another meaningless moniker to your pathetic pantheon of social stereotypes. To the list that includes such ludicrous labels as "Soccer Moms," "Angry White Males," "Gen Xers," and "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Theorists," you can now add "Beltway Memo Writers."

This group of scribes has not yet reached the vaunted social status of the Judson Welliver Society -- a group of former White House speechwriters -- but if their memoranda continue to impact the literary genre as they have over the past several months, they are well on their way.

Topping the list of recent notable memoranda is one titled, "The Long Hard Slog," by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In it, Rumsfeld posed all the right questions and provided strategic insight to his staff about the steps needed to win the war on terror, but Democrats and their media allies jumped on it as "evidence" that he should be replaced.

In recent weeks, several memos have surfaced that indicate that Democrats and liberal activists are abusing government institutions for political purposes. Among these is a memorandum titled, "Pulling the Trigger," whose author remains anonymous, but is reported to be a Democrat staffer on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The memo outlines a plan to abuse what is supposed to be a nonpartisan committee entrusted with classified intelligence and national security information to attack the president and defeat him in his 2004 bid for re-election.

A series of memos, written by Democrats staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the appointment of federal judges has also come to light. We'll call these "Bigotry and the Bench," for their offensive manipulation of minorities. One, written by a staffer for Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., instructs Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to block the confirmation of Miguel Estrada to the federal bench because, in their eyes, he is "especially dangerous because ... he is Latino." Another memo, written by Teddy Kennedy's staffers, urges Democrat senators to delay the confirmation of one of President Bush's appointees to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals so the new judge could not influence the court's decision on affirmative action.

Then last week, there was public disclosure of "The Osama-Saddam Diaries," a memo written by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith to the Senate Intelligence Committee. In it, Feith recounts extensive connections between Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist organization going back more than 10 years.

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.