Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The name game

The whole case for the Bush Administration claim of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection now rests on the very thin reed of a similarity of names noticed by some neocon twerp working for the Pentagon. Some member of Saddam's private militia has a similar (or here) name to some al Qaeda member, and it was alleged by the neocons that these were in fact the same person, proving a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda. The al Qaeda member, who met fellow al Qaeda members at Kuala Lumpur airport - presumably holding up a piece of cardboard at the arrivals gate saying "Terrorists" - morphed into a senior al Qaeda member for the purposes of the neocon story. Juan Cole analyzes this similarity of names to within an inch of its life, dices it, vivisects it, flails it, bounces it off the ceiling, fries it up, and serves it up on a bed of nails for the neocons to chew on. His conclusion: not even close to being the same guy, and only a profound ignorance of local naming conventions would lead anyone to make the neocon mistake. I guess they'll have to find yet another lie on which to base their ridiculous claims. How many lies about how many things will they have to tell before Americans start to see a pattern?