U.S. forces came upon a recently abandoned terrorist training camp on the outskirts of Baghdad where recruits were apparently taught how to make bombs and what to do if they got captured, the Marines said Wednesday. The extensive camp consisted of about 20 permanent buildings on 25 acres south of the city and was operated by the Iraqi government and the Palestine Liberation Front, said Marine spokesman Cpl. John Hoellwarth. [Associated Press, 4/17/03]

“So what?” say the antiwar protesters. “This was to support the Palestinians. Everybody knew they did that. But what does that have to do with terrorism in America?” Leave aside for a moment this utterly anti-conceptual method of approaching issues, and consider a second story:

Secret dossiers detailing [Ugandan guerilla group Allied Democratic Forces’] discussions with the Iraqi Intelligence Service were found in the spies’ Baghdad headquarters, among the detritus of shredding…..In a letter to the head of the Iraqi spy agency, a senior ADF operative outlined his group’s efforts to set up an “international mujahideen team”. Its mission, he said, “will be to smuggle arms on a global scale to holy warriors fighting against US, British and Israeli influences in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East”….Nassir offered to “vet, recruit and send youth to train for the jihad” at a centre in Baghdad, which he described as a “headquarters for international holy warrior network”. It was not clear whether the centre was established….In December 2001 the movement was placed on the US list of terrorist organisations. Throughout its campaign the ADF has been provided with weapons and funding by the Islamist government in Sudan, one of more than half a dozen states Washington accuses of sponsoring terrorism. The key figure behind the ADF is widely acknowledged to be a fundamentalist Islamic cleric, Sheikh Jamil Makulu. According to the Ugandan government and western intelligence sources, Sheikh Makulu became friendly with Osama bin Laden in the early to mid-Nineties, when the al-Qa’eda chief was living in Khartoum. [Daily Telegraph, 4/16/03]
Of course, by the anti-conceptual method, this isn’t enough either, since so far there’s no evidence that the ADF was responsible for 9/11. And don’t worry, if evidence is found connecting Saddam Hussein to 9/11, the anti-conceptual mentality will just say that it doesn’t count since we didn’t know about it before the war started. And if it turns out our intelligence officials did know about it before the war started, then the fact that they didn’t reveal their sources will disqualify their having known about it. And if they did reveal their sources to closed Congressional committees, well, then, it still doesn’t count because it wasn’t public.

All these objections are beside the point: Iraq was known to have supported terrorist action against the US and was developing weapons of mass destruction that would have made a strike devastating. But the objections do serve a purpose: The refusal to integrate information is a tool of evasion. All the facts in the world cannot force a person to acknowledge reality.

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