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Monday, July 05, 2004

The Missing Card in the Neocon Deck 

From the Guardian (via Smirking Chimp): Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc., weighs in with a profile of Laurie Mylroie, whose tinfoil speculations are at least as outlandish as anything our lefty whackjobs have yet produced. The main difference? When Ms. Mylroie starts connecting the (patently-unrelated) dots, America goes to war:
It was the first bombing of the World Trade Centre in 1993 that launched Mylroie's quixotic quest to prove that Saddam's regime was the chief source of anti-US terrorism. She laid out her case in a 2000 book called Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America. Perle glowingly blurbed the book as "splendid and wholly convincing". Wolfowitz and his then wife, according to Mylroie, "provided crucial support".

Mylroie believes that Saddam was behind every anti-American terrorist incident of note in the past decade, from the levelling of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 to September 11 itself. She is, in short, a cranky conspiracist - but her neoconservative friends believed her theories, bringing her on as a terrorism consultant at the Pentagon.

The extent of Mylroie's influence is shown in the new book Against All Enemies, by the veteran counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, in which he recounts a senior-level meeting on terrorism months before September 11. During that meeting Clarke quotes Wolfowitz as saying: "You give Bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack on New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages does not mean they don't exist." Clarke writes: "I could hardly believe it, but Wolfowitz was spouting the Laurie Mylroie theory that Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Centre, a theory that had been investigated for years and found to be totally untrue."

Mylroie's influence can also be seen in the Bush cabinet's reaction to the September 11 attacks. According to Bob Woodward's recent book, Plan of Attack, Wolfowitz told the cabinet immediately after the attacks that there was a 10 to 50% chance that Saddam was implicated. Around the same time, Bush told his aides: "I believe that Iraq was involved, but I'm not going to strike them now."

The most comprehensive criminal investigation in history - pursuing 500,000 leads and interviewing 175,000 people - has turned up no evidence of Iraqi involvement.

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