According to my old Webster expediency is the doing or consideration of what is selfish rather than what is right or just. This is I think the driving force behind the Democrats current efforts to whitewash the regime of Saddam Hussein and nullify any claims that he had operational ties with AlQaida. Note the word operational, it is in and of itself part of this ongoing effort to discredit the Bush administration and gain political power. Back in the 90's the use of the term operational was not the issue, people were just looking for contacts of any kind. The idea that the contacts had to be operational is a relatively recent deveolopment.
In fact I would say that all one has to do is look at the events of 1998 to see these ties:
In February 1998 AlQaida announced its infamous fatwa against the United States, citing the treatment of Iraq in its list of grievances against Americans.
There are attacks on US embassies in Africa on August 7, 1998 which leave hundreds dead and thousands injured.
October 1998 the House overwhelmingly supports the Iraqi Liberation Act at the behest of the Clinton administration, making the removal of Saddam Hussein from power the national policy of the United States.
In November and December 1998 the crisis concerning the UN Weapons Inspectors in Iraq intensifies and ultimately the inspectors are forced to leave Iraq.
Operation Desert Fox is launched in December 1998 and represent the heaviest attacks since Operation Desert Storm.
Ed Morrisey has a post up Follow the Money which contains some interesting information about AlQaida, Saddam and money:
Andy picks up on one very important connection between Iraq and AQ -- money:
Forgetting all of these circumstances, among others, Tom [ed. Jocelyn] also recalls, as Steve Hayes, myself, and others have for some time, that in 1998, "Ayman al-Zawahiri was in Baghdad ... and collected a check for $300,000 from the Iraqi regime." I would add, for context, that this was in the same time frame as bin Laden and Zawahiri's infamous fatwa calling for the murder of Americans — which, if you read it, argues that American actions against Iraq are a big part of the justification. It also came just a few months before al Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassies in east Africa, the Clinton administration bombed a Sudanese phramaceutical factory because intel indicated it was a joint Iraqi/Qaeda chemical weapons venture, and Clinton counter-terror honcho Richard Clarke fretted that "wily old Osama would boogie to Baghdad" — of all places — if the U.S. made things too hot for Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Sure, maybe all this is just a big coincidence. But, given that al Qaeda is a 24/7 terror operation whose main target is the U.S., I've always wondered for what earthly purpose Senator Levin and other connection naysayers figure Saddam Hussein gave Ayman Zawahiri 300K?
So this is not operational? I have heard here of late that the Democrats only went along with the war because they were denied oversight and as such did not realize that Bush was lying to us all. However, the vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq was passed on October 10, 2002 and the Democrats did not lose control of the Senate until the November elections. That of course means they were in control of the Intelligence Committee.
The other day I had this discussion with a friend who was upset because he says that is has been proven that Saddam had nothing to do with AlQaida. I told him that the only thing that has been proven is that the media and the Democrats will say whatever works for them at the time.
In fact back in 1999 ABC did a report on the ties between Saddam and AlQaida:
Stephanopoulos, who used to work for Clinton, should remember that, back in 1998, the Clinton Administration issued a sealed indictment of bin Laden that read, in part, "...Al-Qaida reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al-Qaida would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaida would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq." What evidence did they have?
And ABC reported in December of 1999 that "ABC News has learned that in December, an Iraqi intelligence chief, named Farouq Hijazi, now Iraq's Ambassador to Turkey, made a secret trip to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. Three intelligence agencies tell ABC News they cannot be certain what was discussed, but almost certainly, they say, bin Laden has been told he would be welcomed in Baghdad."
So it seems the truth is relative. Or so some would have us believe. The real truth is that if Saddam was really the innocent victim, the much abused dictator that some folks would have us believe he was, the real question is why were the United Nations and the Clinton Administration picking on the poor man for all those years? Why wait until after Bush came to office and invaded Iraq to decide Saddam was no threat?