The Case Against
Yet the administration was far from having things all its own way. Every strand of its case for war was scrutinized by enemies and allies alike and minutely examined in the media. Both Czech President Vaclav Havel and the CIA discredited the strongest circumstantial link between Iraq and al Qaedaa reported meeting in Prague in April 2001 between September 11 hijack leader Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence official. Many commentators trashed the notion of a link between the militant Islamist Osama bin Laden and the militant secularist Saddam Hussein. French President Jacques Chirac said no direct connection had been establishedor at least made publicbetween Iraq and al Qaeda. The New York Times, in an editorial, accused the Bush administration of making "confused and scattered assertions about Iraq" and urged it to lay out a clear and unambiguous case.
Few of Bush's critics around the world disputed his portrait of Saddam Hussein as a tyrant, but many took issue with his depiction of the threat from Baghdad. His case for war rested largely on assertions of an Iraqi weapons buildup that were emphatically denied by Baghdad and could not be proved or disproved in the absence of arms inspections.