I'd like to start a discussion about a link between Iraq and Al-Queda. Powell's arguing that there is solid evidence that there is co-operation between these two organizations, and that's fine, but I'm wondering why they would voluntarily get together (since they've always hated each other). If you were al-queda, and you hated iraq, wouldn't it be a good idea to get together with them, if for no other reason than to invite US military action against iraq?? By doing this, you'd provide: 1) A distraction away from Afghanistan and al-queda 2) A free way to get rid of saddam hussein (with the US footing the bill and doing all the dirty work) 3) A puppet government in Iraq would be more easily destabilized than saddam hussein, for two reasons: a) Politically, it would be easier to oust a US-supported puppet government than it would be to oust an Arab leader like saddam who is popular with the arab people (i.e. those $25k checks for suicide bombings) b) The US cannot afford to safeguard Iraq forever -- prolonged military action against the middle east will further weaken the economy of the US, and people will continue to vote republican because they believe that repubs are better at wars, thus further broadening the deficit and further weakening the US economy. 4) More international criticism of the US for invading the middle east. Let's not forget that al-queda tends to be politically shrewd - this is an organization that has always been very good at counter-intelligence -- they know that the US is trying to listen to them, and they will often make cell phone calls (for us to intercept) broadcasting false information. During the US invasion of Afghanistan about a year ago, they played recorded messages of bin laden talking on cell phones and radios to lead US forces around the country who were hunting for bin laden. Of course, this is all pure speculation..