Many youngish bloggers banging about these days were mere tadpoles in the '90s, so perhaps they need a short overview of how the Democrats once regarded the Butcher of Baghdad.
When Bill Clinton was bombing him in response to aggressive defiance of the interntional community, Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaida. After President Chimpy McHitler had removed him from power in an illegal war, Saddam was a comic thug without weapons of mass destruction who served as a bulwark against Islamists. Everything clear?
Obviously, both cannot be right. American bombs are accurate, but it is doubtful they can go back in time and blow up Clinton's rationales. To the left, however, the clock of history was reset the day the Supreme Court overturned Al Gore's 50-state electoral sweep, and Iraq inexplicably became a large sandy Monaco the U.S. invaded on orders from Petro-Zionist puppetmasters.
What, then, will they make of the newly released documents that reinforce the alleged connections between Saddam and terrorists, and suggest Clinton was right all along?
Obviously, they're a plant. An attempt to deflect Censure Fever, now sweeping the nation. More lies from the people who said Saddam had WMD, when we all know the Kurds died from bad catered shellfish. More crafty Rovian disinformation, brilliantly leaked three years too late with as much fanfare as a straight-to-video "Deuce Bigalow" movie.
So far, decrypting the documents has been up to Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard, the occasional ABC story and intrepid wingnut bloggers. Among other tasty tidbits, the documents suggest Saddam was shoveling money to a Philippine Islamist al-Qaida franchise — Abu Sayyaf, Al-Angry, Al-Roker, something or other.
Nonsense, some Bush critics insist. Saddam was relentlessly secular! He hated the Islamists!
True; one can no more imagine Saddam bowing to Mecca than kneeling at the rail of St. Peter's for Communion. In his mind, there was one reason to kneel, and that's because you were about to be tumbled into a pit.
But that's quite different from saying he opposed al-Qaida out of high-minded principle. This is a fellow who specialized in transparent manipulation of religion, just to hedge his bets and build a PR rep in the region. He built enormous mosques that made American megachurches look like a Waffle House; he put a Quranic verse on the state flag, showed up on TV praying like a good Muslim, and commissioned a copy of the Quran that used his blood as ink. Wait until that thing hits eBay.
Suggesting that Saddam made common cause with bearded nutlogs to weaken mutual enemies is not exactly some ether-induced neocon delusion. In fact, to anyone who paid attention in the '90s, it's remarkable we're still arguing the point: When Osama bin Laden came out in '98 defending Iraq against the evil sanctions of the West, what was his motivation? A separate peace struck for reasons of "strategery," or a sneaky little crush on the brash lad from Tikrit?
Here the argument usually shifts to the post-9/11 rhetoric. According to the left, Bush spent 2002 insisting that G-d demanded we erect a 900-foot cross in Baghdad, preferably one doubling as an oil well, because Saddam was involved in the attack on New York and the Pentagon.
Of course, he said no such thing. The administration aimed its rhetoric at terror-supporting nations, foolishly expecting Democrats to remember when their guy got all hot and bothered about the megalomaniac gas-happy whackjob and his gangster-state government. No such luck. Once it became apparent that Bush was serious about draining the swamp, it suddenly became a protected wetland.
The more documents trickle out, the more we'll know.
But don't expect opinions to change; the hard left simply wants to glue horns on Bush, and if that means Saddam gets a bent rusty halo, well, it's collateral damage.
Besides, who cared if Saddam gave money to Philippine terrorists?
Sure, they're all threads in the black tapestry of the anti-liberal modernity-hating stone-the-gays-and-hide-the-women death cult. Sure, planning for 9/11 took place in Manila. But the Philippines didn't attack us on 9/11!
Like they used to say about the military: always fighting the last war.