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June 20, 2004

Fedayeen Saddam May Have Been 9-11 Conspirator

Let me tell you something: I never expected this story to go anywhere. It was too good to be true.

As police say when a man with a mistress winds up finding his wife "accidentally" drowned in the pool: No one gets that lucky.

But maybe Kerry is Unelectable was right.

If this story is true -- and it's starting to look as if it might be -- then Kerry is unelectable.

Hare-Brained Update: The Smoke 'Em Out of Their Caves Strategy? For a long while, George Bush has been contending against a shadowy, evasive figure for whom no actionable intelligence exists by which to fix his position.

That opponent, of course, is John Kerry.

John Kerry has the perfect position on the War in Iraq: When things are going well, he's for it; when things are going poorly, he's vigorously against it.

Obviously, George Bush would rather he took a single position on the war. It does Bush no political good if, supposing the war goes well, Kerry can say in October, "Oh, yes, I was all in favor of that war myself."

So the question is, or perhaps was: How can we get Kerry to take a, let us say, less splendidly nuanced position and either declare his support (putting him shoulder-to-shoulder with Bush, come good or come ill) or declare his opposition (in which case Kerry may profit in the case of a catastrophe, but will himself suffer a catastrophe should the war be deemed a success-- or at least a necessary one, if less than a success)?

Perhaps the Bush Administration has sandbagged Kerry. They've induced him, little by little, to declare his true feelings about the war (of course, he's always been against it, and his sporadic statements which indicate some support for the effort are both ambiguous and cosmetic).

Perhaps they've decided to let Kerry get more solidly opposed to the war before releasing their best intelligence.

Now, a few caveats:

1) We've gotten our hopes up about this smoking gun or that one before. None of this may mean anything. Or perhaps this means something, but it can't be proved to the media's satisfaction. And the media, of course, are a panel of OJ jurors when it comes to Iraq; even videotape of this Fedayeen meeting with Mohammed Atta will be deemed "inconclusive" at best. ("Perhaps they were just discussing a Beirut time share.")

2) This is certainly a devious strategy. But deviousness isn't always a bad thing; in fact, it's often laudable. Kerry's strategy is fundamentally dishonest-- he wants to conceal his true opinion about the war until events clearly vindicate one position or another, and then he wants to claim he was on the right side of history all along. If it takes a little deviousness to unmask a liar-- who's the victim?

Well, Kerry's the victim, of course. Rather: Where is the innocent victim?

At any rate, I still don't expect this story to go anywhere. No one gets this lucky. I, like most people, have a tendency to believe the current situation will also be the future situation; while we all know, intellectually, that events may radically change the campaign, we have trouble accepting the possibility that any specific event may radically change the campaign.

Sure, Iran could have a counter-Islamist revolution; but who strongly believes that will happen?

It is starting to look, however, like maybe -- maybe -- this story has both legs and substance.

Will the media ignore it?

They'll try, of course.

But they wouldn't be able to ignore it should John Ashcroft issue a worldwide APB for a Mr. Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, lieutenant colonel in Saddam's intelligence service and conspirator in the 9-11 attacks.

Were that to happen -- and, if this story is real, I have to guess that it will -- expect to see Dan Rather announcing a worldwide manhunt for a Saddam's agent in the 9-11 attacks but with his famous Kathryn Harris caveats: "as John Ascroft sees it and as John Ascroft believes it."


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posted by Ace at 11:33 PM

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