Friday, July 27, 2007

Bush Speaks the Obvious

In 'surge of facts,' Bush emphasizes Al Qaeda-Iraq link

On Tuesday President George W. Bush delivered what some have called his longest, most detailed argument yet that Al Qaeda in Iraq is linked to the central Al Qaeda organization. Speaking to 300 troops at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina, the president argued that a new unclassified report clearly indicated a connection between the Al Qaeda who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is largely believed to be composed of a strong majority of Iraqi nationals. Politicians, intelligence officials, and regional analysts have met Mr. Bush's recent assertions with much skepticism.
In his address Bush made it clear that he intended to rebut those who accused him of drawing links between the two organizations to create a "distraction from the real war on terror." In his speech, reprinted on the official White House website, Bush accused those who contested his position of having problems "with the facts."
Here's the bottom line: Al Qaida in Iraq is run by foreign leaders loyal to Osama bin Laden. Like bin Laden, they are cold-blooded killers who murder the innocent to achieve al Qaida's political objectives. Yet despite all the evidence, some will tell you that al Qaida in Iraq is not really al Qaida – and not really a threat to America. Well, that's like watching a man walk into a bank with a mask and a gun, and saying he's probably just there to cash a check.

For anyone with an IQ above room temperature, this comes as no surprise. The news worthiness of this article comes not from Bush's relatively obvious statements, but from the downright ridiculous hem and haw that came from the left of the aisle:

White House officials have ardently defended Bush's speech, but many Democratic congressmen criticized the president of exaggerating the connection between the two groups, reports The New York Times.
Democratic lawmakers accused Mr. Bush of overstating those ties to provide a basis for continuing the American presence in Iraq. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, said Mr. Bush was "trying to justify claims that have long ago been proven to be misleading."

This is much akin to trying to tell you that the local boy scout troop in your area is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. Or that the Michigan Republican party has absolutely no connection to the nationwide righties. Or that the Louisiana ACLU has no ties the national ACLU. If you made any of these absolutely stupid remarks...youd be laughed out of the room. That some people are trying to argue that there is no connection between al Quida in Iraq, and al Quida...shows a deeply ingenuous desire to confuse and mislead the American people. And of course, this claim that the two are unrelated is impossible to contain under even a feather's weight of scrutiny, so the opposition seeks to reframe the debate:

"I think what the president is saying is in some sense fundamentally misleading," said Robert Grenier, former head of the counter-terrorism center at the CIA as well as the agency's mission manager for the war in Iraq. "If he means to suggest the invasion of Iraq has not created more jihadists bent on killing Americans, and that if Iraq hadn't been there as a magnet they would have been attracted somewhere else, that's completely disingenuous."
The war "has convinced many Muslims that the United States is the enemy of Islam and is attacking Muslims, and they have become jihadists as a result of their experience in Iraq," Grenier said.


"The Americans have been playing up the role of Al Qaeda in the context of the insurgency.... Al Qaeda is clearly an important segment in the counterinsurgency campaign, but it's not the only one. It may not be the biggest quantitative factor but qualitatively they are important," says Martin Navias, a counterterrorism expert at the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College in London.

But those questions are not the debate. We don't care whether or not some Muslims see this as a war on Islam and have joined al Quida, nor is ANYONE on the President's side claiming that al Quida is the only threat in Iraq. The question is "Are they connected?" And the answer, as even the opposition grudgingly admits is yes, though they try to spin it...

Bush's speech may have misinterpreted the National Intelligence Estimate report upon which he based his argument say a number of intelligence officials and counterterrorism experts. The report described Al Qaeda in Iraq as an "affiliate" of the central Al Qaeda organization currently flourishing in Pakistan, reports The Washington Post. However, the report did not say that the Iraq group took orders from the main Al Qaeda organization. Rather it indicated that Al Qaeda might attempt to utilize the Iraq organization's "contacts and capabilities" for fundraising and recruiting.
That conclusion prompted Democrats and others to say that al-Qaeda is not running the war, but is instead benefiting from it, and thus that the conflict has increased the terrorist threat rather than diminished it.

So, al Quida is directly benefitting from the war, but there's NO CONNECTION! As proof, Democrats say that the Iraq branch doesn't take direct marching orders, which means nothing. The ford plant chief in Missouri doesn't call up the head of Ford every morning to ask what he should do, but it doesn't mean they're not connected. That claim is bordering on the insane. By that logic, I could claim that baseball players who ignore what their managers tell them are not part of the team. Or that quarter backs who call audibles are clearly not affiliated with their coaches.

And furthermore, what does this prove? Terrorist cells are, by their very nature, that if one cell is caught they can't tell anything about other groups.

Furthermore, the mythical differences between al Quida in Iraq and al Quida everywhere else don't stand up to even a brief overview:

Before his death, there was clearly connection between Zawahiri and Zarqawi, and even praised him in death.

And our new bundle of joy leader in Iraq ABU HAMZA AL-MUHAJER has clear ties to Zawahiri and the endorcement of Osama himself. So, the two leaders of al Quida in Iraq have clear ties to the world wide group's leader and #2, but again, no connection, move along.

And even the high ranking Iraqi who was caught (and is being touted as proof of AQI's Iraqi membership) seems to have direct ties to Osama.

Bottom line:
If Bush's claims that al Quida in Iraq and al Quida are linked (which, name alone, isn't that much of a stretch), then it is a delusion that Osama bin Ladin, al Zawahiri, al Zarqawi, and virtually every ranking member of the two supposedly unaffiliated groups share.

And if Democratic leaders aren't willing to admit that much, then why in God's name should we listen to anything they say about the war in Iraq period?

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