updated 7/23/2004 10:37:06 AM ET 2004-07-23T14:37:06

I‘ve talked about the nonsense about “long-established ties between al Qaeda and Iraq” and I think misleading statements from the vice president, who continues to perpetuate a myth about some longstanding relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda that helped somehow justify the war. 

As I have said before, there were other good-faith reasons to believe Iraq was a real threat, but this supposed relationship with al Qaeda, was never one of them. 

The commission found, while there were some “friendly contacts” between Iraq and al Qaeda, none of them ever “developed into a collaborative relationship.”  And so the issue should now become moot, although a few hard-core partisans will continue to ignore the evidence.  Some have already chimed in, offering Clintonesque legalistic defenses. 

For Cheney, the issue is not, “Were there any contacts between the two?”  It is, “Was their relationship significant enough that one justification for war against Iraq is the extent of that relationship?”  Of course not. 

Bottom line? The U.S. had “friendly contacts” with Iraq before the 1991 war.  In fact, you could easily argue we had a collaborative relationship. 

It is not a justification for anything.  If we justify a war even in part based on ties as tenuous as those, war is going to become all too common. 

Hopefully, this report will focus everyone back on the real issues, how to make things better now rather than trying to justifying old mistakes.  The fact that five distinguished Democrats and five distinguished Republicans were able to unanimously agree on everything in this report means that we should listen, we should act, we should regain focus on al Qaeda and the immediate danger we face.

Dan Abrams is the host of 'The Abrams Report.' The show airs weedays, 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC.


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