Did al-Qaeda hustle Bush?
In February 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell committed what would become the most humiliating public act of his career, ultimately ending any hope he had of running for high office. He stood up before the United Nations Security Council and told the world that Saddam Hussein had offered to train al-Qaeda in the use of chemical or biological weapons. The United States knew this, he said, because they had obtained the information from "a senior terrorist operative" who "was responsible for one of al-Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan."
The operative was almost certainly Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda trainer captured in November 2001 and taken to Egypt allegedly to be tortured. It has long been known Libi lied to his interrogators, but the question was why. According to Omar Nasiri, a Moroccan who claims to have been an agent for European intelligence agencies, Libi deliberated planted misinformation to encourage the U.S. to overthrow Saddam. Nasiri claims Libi had told his followers that al-Qaeda had chosen Iraq as the best place to fight the jihad because it was the weakest Muslim state. All that stood in the way was Saddam.
Nasiri also claims jihadists like Libi would never have told the truth if tortured, that they were trained to withstand interrogation and provide false information.
If Nasiri is reliable and the story is true, what a tragic irony. In his war on terrorism, George W. Bush unwittingly collaborates with the enemy, achieving for them what they couldn't achieve for themselves. Given his life-long history of incompetence, we are saddened but not surprised.