The fact that the administration's disinformation campaign was entirely successful is evidenced by an October 2004, Harris Poll, taken three weeks before the last presidential election, which reported that 62% of all voters, and 84% of those planning to vote for Bush, still believed that Saddam had ''strong links" to Al Qaeda, and that 41% of all voters, and 52% of Bush backers, believed that Saddam had ''helped plan and support the hijackers" who had attacked the country on 9/11.
As we now know, the basis for these allegations were false but the saddest part of the situation is that many Americans are just now beginning to realize that Bush knew the stories were false for more than a year when he cited them as justification for taking the country to war.
Documents recently declassified and made public show that the administration was warned by the Defense Intelligence Agency in February 2002, that the tale about a trip to Prague by the leader of the 9/11 highjacker, Mohamed Atta, had come from an unreliable drunk, and that the story about Iraq training members of al Qaeda on the use of chemical and biological weapons was deliberately fabricated by an Iraqi defector.
A recent poll conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, indicates that Americans recognize the significance of this revelation, where 57% of Americans now believe that Bush misled the country about prewar intelligence; a 52% majority of those polled say the war was not worth it; and by a 58% to 38% margin, Americans believe that Bush has not given good enough reasons to keep our troops in Iraq.
The debate over who was most responsible for convincing the nation that there was a link between Saddam and 9/11 will probably continue for years but an important piece of the puzzle can be found by zeroing in on a woman by the name of Laurie Mylroie, that most people have probably never heard.
Mylroie had been pushing for an all-out war against Iraq for a decade. In the run-up to the first Gulf war, Mylroie, along with the recently fired New York Times reporter Judith Miller, wrote a book titled, "Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf."
The original Iraq war obsession originated at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think-tank that served as a home base for the many neocons who were rendered powerless during the Clinton years such as Richard Perle, who became chairman of the Defense Policy Board under Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz, who moved into the number-2 position at the Pentagon, and Newt Gingrich and John Bolton, to name just a few.
In 2000, at a time when Dick Cheney sat on AEI's board, the group's publishing arm put out a book by Mylroie titled, "A Study in Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America."
In the author's acknowledgement section of the book, Mylroie thanked a familiar case of characters, including John Bolton and the staff of AEI, for their assistance. She also wrote thanks to Scooter Libby for his "generous and timely assistance."
Mylroie noted that Paul Wolfowitz was instrumental to her in writing the book and said, "At critical times, he provided crucial support for a project that is inherently difficult." She said that Wolfowitz's wife (at the time), had "fundamentally shaped the book."
Neocon, Richard Perle, described the book as "splendid and wholly convincing,"
If Mylroie is to be believed, Saddam was involved in every anti-American terrorist event that took place since the early 1990s, from the bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which she says may have been "the work of both bin Laden and Iraq," to the federal building in Oklahoma City.
She also accuses Saddam of involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center even though the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, the US Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York, the CIA, the National Security Council, and the State Department, all determined that there was no evidence of the Iraq's involvement in the attack back in the mid-1990s.
Mylroie has also claimed that the TWA flight 800 which crashed into Long Island Sound is a likely Iraqi plot even after a lengthily investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that it was an accident.
She maintains that in 2000, Saddam provided the expertise for the bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors, even though no law enforcement agency has ever made such a claim. She even blames Saddam for the anthrax sent through the mail shortly after 9/11.