Don’t Trust the Toronto Star, Either

This piece in the Toronto Star–a straight news item from the paper’s Washington bureau, not an opinion piece–is another example of the anti-American and anti-Bush prejudice of the worldwide press. The article begins:
“Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has directly linked the war on Iraq to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, signalling another shift in Washington’s defence of a conflict that continues to claim American lives.” Wolfowitz is quoted as saying: “Stop and think, if in 2001, or in 2000, or in 1999, we had gone to war in Afghanistan to deal with Osama bin Laden, and we had tried to say it’s because he’s planning to kill 3,000 people in New York, people would have said, you don’t have any proof of that. I think the lesson of Sept. 11 is that you can’t wait until proof after the fact. It surprises me sometimes that people have forgotten so soon what Sept. 11, I think, should have taught us about terrorism.”
So this is “another shift in Washington’s defense of” the Iraq war? Do these reporters not read their own news reports? To suggest that the Bush administration has not been linking the Iraq war to September 11 and the threat of terrorism from the beginning is ridiculous. For example, in his October 2002 speech on the Iraqi threat, President Bush made exactly the same point that Wolfowitz made yesterday:
“Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there’s a reason. We’ve experienced the horror of September the 11th. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no less willing, in fact, they would be eager, to use biological or chemical, or a nuclear weapon. Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
The Star’s second paragraph is as false as the first: “Wolfowitz, in a series of interviews on U.S. television networks yesterday, appeared to ignore intelligence reports, which have discredited links between Iraq and Al Qaeda and the war on terrorism.” Oh yeah? What intelligence reports are those? We know for a fact that a large terrorist group, Ansar al-Islam, was headquartered in northern Iraq until they were driven out during the war, and that they were affiliated with and trained by al Qaeda. We know that other terrorists were harbored by Saddam’s regime, including Abu Abbas, who directed the Achille Lauro hijacking, and Abu Musab Zarqawi, a high-ranking al Qaeda member who was involved in the murder of American diplomat Laurence Foley. All of this has been widely reported in the press, including presumably the Toronto Star. Yet the Star, like many other newspapers, blithely asserts as a fact that “intelligence reports have discredited links between Iraq and al Qaeda and the war on terrorism.”


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