Same Old Song and Dance
In a speech this morning, President Bush marked the anniversary of the Iraq War by recycling much of the tired, discredited rhetoric that we’ve heard over and over for the past five years.
“As the campaign unfolded, tens and thousands of our troops poured across the Iraqi border to liberate the Iraqi people and remove a regime that threatened free nations.”
Yet we now know that Saddam did not pose an immediate threat to any nation in 2003. And a new poll shows that most of those “liberated” Iraqis think the U.S. presence is making their security situation worse. Most Iraqis give credit for progress to their local authorities and militias. Only three out of ten Iraqis credit others (including the U.S.) for any improvements, just as only three in ten Americans believe the war has been worth the cost.
The war in Iraq has made the world a more dangerous place, and has served as a recruiting tool for terrorists, whose numbers have risen faster than we can kill them. Nevertheless, Bush remains in denial:
“Because we acted, the world is better and United States of America is safer… Defeating this enemy in Iraq will make it less likely that we’ll face the enemy here at home. “
And once again, Bush tried to link the battle against the group that calls itself “al Qaeda in Mesopotamia” (a.k.a. “al Qaeda in Iraq”) to the battle against bin Laden’s al Qaeda:
“For the terrorists, Iraq was supposed to be the place where al Qaeda rallied Arab masses to drive America out. Instead, Iraq has become the place where Arabs joined with Americans to drive al Qaeda out. In Iraq, we are witnessing the first large-scale Arab uprising against Osama bin Laden, his grim ideology, and his murderous network.”
Yet bin Laden’s al Qaeda is not the same as the group calling itself “al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.” As the AP explains, “Experts question how closely—or even whether—the group is connected to the international al-Qaida network.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Bush has overstated the connection between bin Laden and Iraq, in spite of proof to the contrary. Nor is it the first time that he has misleadingly conflated “al Qaeda in Mesopotamia” with bin Laden’s al Qaeda.
And just how significant is “al Qaeda in Mesopotamia” a.k.a. “al Qaeda in Iraq” (AQI)?
A 2007 Washington Monthly report explains:
The most persuasive estimate… comes from Malcolm Nance, the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a twenty-year intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq. He believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. “Al-Qaeda in Iraq,” according to Nance, “is a microscopic terrorist organization.”
Twice in his speech today, President Bush said the Iraq War “is a fight we must win.” But how can we “win” if he won’t tell the truth about the people we’re fighting?Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2008 Liberaland