And now consider that we are still in the shadow of September 11. The Taliban have been toppled and, as critics of the Iraq war would have it, the Americans have kept their "focus" on Afghanistan. That doesn't mean they've caught Osama bin Laden -- the escape from Tora Bora was in 2001, long before the Iraq "distraction" -- but it may well mean he and his followers are in need of a new hideout. We know that they were in continual contact with Saddam, even if Duelfer found that this did not amount to a "relationship." Where in this world would they find a regime more willing to defy the Americans, then at the height of their power? What might they have achieved, within the shelter of a nuclear-armed Iraq?You have to admire the audacity of someone who uses air quotes on "relationship" (as if by doing so it leaves open the possibility that they did in fact have an as yet "undiscovered super-secret" one), when there is absolutely no credible evidence that Hussein and Bin Laden were working together. In fact, the evidence shows that while they talked, their interests were so divergent they could never find common ground.
To suggest, as Coyne does, that Bin Laden was ever going to end up in Baghdad as an honored guest of Hussein, is just a flight of wingnut fantasy. Yes, yes, it is possible that it might have happened (though as Coyne himself points out, Bin Laden was chased out of Afghanistan long before Saddam was toppled, and did not go to Iraq) as Coyne theorizes, just as it is possible that Stephen Harper will admit his love for Jack Layton, but it is highly, highly, improbable. So improbable, that Coyne has left the realm of journalism and has entered the realm of alternative history.
I know it hurts to have Hans Blix say that Iraqis had it better under Hussein, but sometimes you just have to stand there and take the truth for the team. Giving the world yet another "King Lear yelling at the wind" denial of reality only makes Coyne look like a loon. Recommend this Post