The United States is making another document dump - a total of 68,000 documents captured in Iraq and Afghanistan - after a media campaign to get this stuff available to the public. Unlike past document dumps, though, this one is not likely to cause serious problems for the war effort, but might instead provide a bit of a boost. Captured enemy documents can be gold mines of information. In the case of documents recovered in the war on terror, the following information has been made public (albeit not widely reported):
@ In April, 2003, a reporter with the Toronto Star discovered a memo in the bombed-out rubble of the Iraqi Intelligence Service that discussed bringing an envoy from Osama bin Laden to Iraq for purposes of discussing the future of the relationship between al-Qaeda and Saddam's regime.
@ Three terrorist Fedayeen rosters indicate that Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, an attendee of the January, 2000, al-Qaeda summit in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, held the rank of lieutenant colonel in that organization.
@ Other documents indicated a relationship between Saddam's regime and the Egyptian terrorist group Al-Jehad, which counted one Ayman al-Zawahiri among its leadership. Zawahiri is second in command of al-Qaeda.
@ Another document shows that Saddam Hussein was looking for a way to target American troops, particularly in Somalia.
This is a small sampling of documents that have tricked out. In the 68,000 documents that will be released shortly by the Director of National Intelligence, there is much more of a chance that more documents that point towards a connection between Saddam Hussein's regime and the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
Any such connection - largely hinted at from documents already recovered - would be a huge albatross around the anti-war movement's neck. It would turn Iraq into a case of going into looking for weapons of mass destruction, but finding evidence of collaboration with the organization responsible for the attacks of September 11. As a result, the liberation of Iraq would be seen as justified by a significant portion of the American people. - Harold C. Hutchison (firstname.lastname@example.org)