New York Times reporters Michael Gordon and Jim Rutenberg lost no time in following up on the exhortation by new Public Editor Clark Hoyt to attack President Bush’s view that we are fighting al Qaeda in Iraq. Their article is titled Bush Distorts Qaeda Links, Critics Assert. Gordon and Rutenberg make no effort to disguise the fact that they are among the “critics.”
But, as happens so often, it is the Times, not President Bush, that can’t be relied on for the straight story. In the Weekly Standard, Thomas Joscelyn points out key areas where the Times’ account is misleading. Read it all; here are some key paragraphs:
The Times states that when Zarqawi relocated to Iraq he did so “with support from senior Qaeda leaders, American intelligence agencies believe.” This directly contradicts what has been reported at various times over the past several years by the New York Times and other media outlets. A common argument that has been made is that Zarqawi wasn’t really an al Qaeda operative until 2004, when he swore bayat (loyalty) to bin Laden and was made emir of al Qaeda in Iraq.
There was always evidence tying Zarqawi to al Qaeda (for example, he helped plan attacks with top al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah at the turn of the millennium). But it is interesting to see that the intelligence officials quoted in this piece recognize the role that al Qaeda played in supporting Zarqawi