SADDAM AND OSAMA….Enough about the uranium. The real reason we invaded Iraq was because of Saddam Hussein’s ties to al-Qaeda, right? Umm….

“There was no significant pattern of cooperation between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist operation,” former State Department intelligence official Greg Thielmann said this week.

Intelligence agencies agreed on the “lack of a meaningful connection to al-Qaida” and said so to the White House and Congress, said Thielmann, who left State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research last September.

Another former Bush administration intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed there was no clear link between Saddam and al-Qaida.

“The relationships that were plotted were episodic, not continuous,” the former official said.

Considering that Iraq is a big, Arab country that hates the United States, the thing that’s always struck me is how little connection there was between Saddam and al-Qaeda. My guess is that the CIA has a pretty thick dossier on al-Qaeda connections for practically every country in the Middle East, and while there was almost certainly some al-Qaeda activity in Iraq, the astonishing thing is that it was so miniscule.

Back to the drawing board, I guess. It sure would be helpful for W and the gang if they could actually dredge up a bit of WMD out in the desert somewhere, wouldn’t it?