ARE YOU SITTING DOWN? Shockingly enough, assertions about operational connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda turn out to be ... completely bogus! Who would have thunk it? And just to pre-empt any claims that this is a strawman that nobody ever put forward as a justification for the war anyway, Glenn Reynolds thoughtfully compiled some links at the time to various conservative bloggers (in addition to himself) demanding more attention to Saddam's fictitious connections to al-Qaeda. I particularly enjoyed reading this one: "STEPHEN F. HAYES wonders why the White House continues to downplay the Saddam / Al Qaeda connection. I've wondered the same thing." Yes, indeed, there was an obvious inference to be made from the fact that the administration (with the exception of the Vice President) largely declined to make direct assertions about Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaeda although this would have provided an unassailable justification for the war. The fact that Reynolds, Hayes, and other conservative pundits refused to connect the dots is quite remarkable; it's not easy to make more hackish and factually bereft arguments in favor of the war than Bush himself, but some people succeeded.

--Scott Lemieux

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