Yesterday, in linking to Thomas Joscelyn’s latest debunking of the “no al Qaeda-Saddam Hussein connection,” orthodoxy, I noted that “Saddam was not one to be boxed in without a fight, and since the Clinton administration was not willing to fight, it’s not surprising that Saddam saw al Qaeda as a vehicle through which he could operate outside of his ‘box.'”
Joscelyn responded to my post by noting:
The most amazing part of all of this to me is that when the Clinton administration launched Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, Saddam’s response was to quickly dispatch his top intelligence operative to bin Laden. Bin Laden then issued a condemnation of the U.S.-led air strikes and called on Muslims to retaliate against British and American targets.
We know this because the worldwide media reported [it]. So, when you write, “it’s not surprising that Saddam saw al Qaeda as a vehicle through which he could operate outside of his box,” I think you are right in ways many will never admit.
One more point. Saddam had good reasons to sneak out of his box, and not just the motive of revenge. Saddam had been humiliated by our military in 1991, and living in a “box” was no way to restore his prestige and credibility. Indeed, one suspects it was no way to live if he hoped to remain a feared figure within his own circle.