Once again we are mislead by some in the press.
I know some of you complain about me, but it’s on days like this that you should appreciate the No Spin Zone.
The 9/11 Commission (search) has come to some conclusions and Thursday newspapers across the country blared headlines.
The New York Times wrote: "Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq tie."
The Washington Post put forth: "Al Qaeda-Hussein Link Is Dismissed."
The Los Angeles Times opined: "No Signs of Iraq-Al Qaeda Ties Found."
And even the conservative Wall Street Journal trumpeted: "No Iraq-al Qaeda Link."
But if you read below the headlines you see the Commission said something a bit different: That there was no a collaborative relationship between Saddam and Al Qaeda regarding Sept. 11. That's true, but there were certainly links and ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda and that's provable.
The smoking gun is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), an Al Qaeda leader who found his way to Baghdad after being severely wounded fighting against American forces in Afghanistan.
Zarqawi arrived in Iraq in May of 2002 and had surgery in an Iraqi hospital, run by -- are you ready -- Uday Hussein. I believe that might be a tie, but there's more.
Next, the Al Qaeda big shot -- who was wanted by the USA -- traveled to Lebanon to meet with leaders of Hezbollah.
A short time after that meeting, in October of 2002, Lawrence Foley, an American official, was assassinated in Jordan. The arrested killers said Zarqawi was involved in the plot.
Zarqawi wound up back in Iraq after the assassination of Foley and met up with the Ansar al-Islam group, which operated in Northern Iraq and is affiliated with Al Qaeda.
In January 2003, several Ansar terrorists were arrested in Britain and charged with planning to put Ricin in the military food supply. Some of those terrorists fingered Zarqawi in the plot.
Right now, Zarqawi is believed to be in Fallujah working with some of Saddam's former generals in planning terror attacks. Just last week he took credit for killing 13 people in a bombing.
I believe that's a lot of links and ties between Saddam, Iraq and Al Qaeda. But again, I believe the Commission when it says Saddam was not directly involved with Sept. 11. That’s true.
Faced with the misleading headlines ... President Bush said this Thursday:
“The reason that I keep insisting that there’s was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and Al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda. This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and Al Qaeda.”
So, what we have hear is spin. Some in the press used the Commission's report -- which is accurate -- to suggest Bush mislead the public about Saddam and Al Qaeda.
I do not believe that is true.
And that's The Memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
As you know, “The Factor” is boycotting French goods and services and we are providing you with “Boycott France” bumper stickers. Just go to billoreilly.com.
I believe France has hurt America's War on Terror and that Jacques Chirac was disrespectful in not attending Ronald Reagan's funeral. One of our viewers -- Rebecca Main -- got in contact with the French consulate and it sent her a letter:
"Dear Madam, you probably got your information from Monsieur O'Reilly who is not a reliable source as far as France is concerned... President Chirac was not able to attend President Reagan's official state funeral due to previous commitments... He extended his very sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Nancy Reagan and their children."
OK, well we reported that. So what's this unreliable business?
The truth is we were right about France from the get-go: The Chirac government is not our friend.
And this monsieur business is ridiculous.
--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: email@example.com
Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York.