Our leftist idealogues refuse to admit that Saddam had ties to terrorism, but as the oil-for-food scandal grows, we are learning that the UN was actually an accomplice to laundering money used to sponsor terrorism.
The Report of the 9/11 Commission has been digested, and the news media outlets have seized upon it as confirmation of their view that al-Qaeda is a purely stateless entity that never had "operational links" with rogue states like Iraq. Somehow, goes the thrust of the Report, Osama bin Laden was for years able to finance, train, and supply an international terrorist corporation that had ongoing jihad operations in fifty countries - by himself, on no more than a $30 million personal fortune. Thirty million dollars is the budget of a small school district in Wisconsin, where I live.Read this excellent piece here.
But the 9/11 Commission didn't even bother to trace the money trails of terrorist finance that led to the catastrophe three years ago, calling the question "one of little practical significance."
As a criminal litigation attorney, I can say that who pays the bill is centrally important in every criminal conspiracy. American law makes no distinction between the crook who held up the bank, his friend who drove him to the bank, the lookout man, and the genius who paid for the ski masks. They are all "parties to the crime" in legal parlance.
So the central question of our time becomes: Did Saddam Hussein help pay for 9/11, making him legally and morally as guilty as the hijackers themselves? As a lawyer, I think a good case can be made for this in a court of law, a convincing circumstantial case at the bare minimum. Unfortunately, the 9/11 Commission ignored it.
The Commission's report implicitly concedes that money is by its nature fungible. What you save from one funded terror project can now be spent for another terror project - a project that you might not have been able to afford otherwise.
It isn't as if bin Laden didn't need the money. As journalist Richard Miniter pointed out in his book Losing Bin Laden, "the most compelling reason for bin Laden to work with Iraq was money." Al Qaeda officials have repeatedly whined, while under interrogation, that cash was always a problem. Saddam, on the other hand, had over $11 billion to play with, from skimming billions off the lucrative UN "Oil-for-Food" scam operation.