Bush: Iraq is war against al Qaeda

Defending his strategy in an increasingly unpopular war, President George W. Bush on Tuesday ratcheted up his effort to link the U.S.-led fight in Iraq to the broader battle against al Qaeda.

Bush spoke at an air force base in Charleston a day after the city hosted a Democratic presidential debate in which calls for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq were a common theme.

Faced with a new poll showing anti-war sentiment on the rise, Bush cited newly declassified intelligence as he gave an impassioned response to criticism that the U.S. focus on Iraq has become a distraction from the wider war on terrorism.

“Al Qaeda in Iraq is a group founded by foreign terrorists, led largely by foreign terrorists and loyal to a foreign terrorist leader: Osama bin Laden,” Bush told a audience made up mostly of military personnel and their families.

“They know they’re al Qaeda, the Iraqi people know they’re al Qaeda, people across the Muslim world know they’re al Qaeda,” he insisted.

Mindful of his trouble selling the U.S. public on the war, Bush has worked harder to put the spotlight on al Qaeda, the Islamist group behind the September 11 attacks on the United States and whose leader, bin Laden, has eluded a U.S.-led manhunt.

But war critics accuse him of overstating the connections between al Qaeda and Iraq-based militants in an attempt to de-emphasize the role of sectarian fighting in the country’s turmoil and justify the U.S. military presence there.

“The president’s claim that the war in Iraq is protecting us from Al Qaeda is as misguided and dangerous as the conclusions that drove us to Iraq in the first place,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.

With Bush’s approval ratings at the lows of his presidency, he has come under growing pressure ahead of a September 15 progress report that Democrats and many of fellow Republicans see as pivotal in deciding the future U.S. course in Iraq.

BUSH WARNS AGAINST EARLY PULLOUT

Bush declared that “the merger between al Qaeda and its Iraqi affiliate is an alliance of killers,” and reiterated his longstanding argument that an early pullout would allow them to use Iraq as a safe haven for exporting violence.

“Fighting could engulf the entire region in chaos and we would soon face a Middle East dominated by Islamic extremists who would pursue nuclear weapons and use their control of oil for economic blackmail or to fund new attacks on our nation,” he said.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed many of the worst attacks there since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, but secular fighting between majority Shi’ites and minority Sunnis has also been responsible for a large share of the bloodshed.

Bush’s remarks followed an intelligence report last week warning that the United States faces an increased threat of further attack from al Qaeda, which is said to have become entrenched in Pakistan’s tribal region near Afghanistan.

Democrats seized on the findings to say the administration has mishandled national security and the Iraq war.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 80 percent of Americans view Bush as too inflexible on the Iraq war — a rise of 12 points since December — and most prefer that Congress have the final word on deciding when to withdraw forces.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington)

15 Responses to "Bush: Iraq is war against al Qaeda"

  1. Carl Nemo  July 26, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks Elmo for the brilliant analogies and humor. :)) I need to laugh my butt off once in a while…you’re spot-on…!

    Nemo **==

  2. acf  July 25, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Why doesn’t he just … go away? He’s never been honest about why he invaded Iraq, or even when he decided he wanted to do so. It’s been one new excuse after another as the previous one loses traction. I tuned him out long ago. His time to ever be believed again has long since vanished.

  3. long_rider  July 27, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    If the republicans supported impeaching cheney and the chimp, they would gain seats in the next election, rather than lose them.

    I wonder how much money Blackwater is contributing to the republican party this year?

  4. Elmo  July 25, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Al Qaeda is like a church.
    There’s the overarching philosophy of Al Qaeda which is sort of like the Catechism or the Discipline.
    Then there is the local group of people who make up the local church.

    If they are say, Baptists or Unitarians or Lutherans, all the people say that they are members of that church. They feel a sense of identity with other people who say that they are members of the church.

    Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda is kind of like the Mother Church of Christian Scientists which was founded by Mary Baker Eddy and she pretty much ran it until she died. She didn’t have much to do with the other churches that were established by Christian Scientists but they’re all Christian Scientists.

    So every time that Bush says Al Qaeda, just think of “Christian Scientist”.

    “Christian Scientists in Iraq is a group founded by foreigners, led largely by foreigners and loyal to a foreign leader: Mary Baker Eddy.”

  5. Carl Nemo  July 26, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Bill Robinson…

    Oil=Black Gold=Money=Power=Absolute Power, Absolutely…!

    Nemo **==

  6. Bill Robinson  July 25, 2007 at 10:02 am

    It’s really interesting and very nice to find so many like-minded people. I too cannot stomach listening to the drunked babbling of Bush, or the hate-filled invectives of Cheney. They make me sick.
    I do disagree with most of y’all when you say that the war is about Oil. I believe it is about money–money that flows into Bush and Cheney’s overstuffed coffures in an unending stream of millions and hundreds of millions of dollars. These two thieves have only their own interests at heart, not ours. They want more and more and more, and the war will not end until we boot them out of office. Ride em out on a rail after tarring and feathering the both of them. Then hang them from the nearest tree. They deserve nothing better.
    Nixon deserved to be impeached. Bush and Cheney deserve to be tried for murder and treason, and when found guilty, hung.
    That is the least we can do for America.
    Bill Robinson

  7. Jessica09  July 24, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Regardless of the reasons why the United States chose to invade Iraq or even why a US presence remains there today, it is clear that the Bush Administration is putting too many of its resources—OUR resources— into remaining there. To date, the war has cost over $340 billion dollars—money which could have been spent much more wisely and with better end results. It is estimated, for example, that the expenditure of a mere $19 billion would eliminate starvation and malnutrition worldwide. In a time when the current defense budget is $522 billion, the goal of eradicating world hunger is clearly well within reach. Thus, it is clear that the occupation of Iraq needs to end, and it needs to end now without regard to what this will do to United States interest in Iraq’s oil. There are simply much more important issues that need to be addressed.

  8. mojibyrd  July 24, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Gotta get the oil, the oil

    This is no war on terrorism or al qaida or any other myth organization, Bush and his cronies can summon up from the depths of hell….it is all about the oil and only the oil…they say it is a war on terror but their actions speak something completely different and that is oil/greed/corruption/power/wealth, so be afraid america, very very afraid as you are being led down a path that you may not recover from.

    Impeach Bush Now

  9. Carl Nemo  July 25, 2007 at 5:05 am

    No doubt many CHB members as myself can’t stomach listening to this guy speak. He’s inarticulate, stumbling, repetitive, shifty-eyed, and “sweaty”…!

    For the 15 seconds or less that I viewed his continuing Al Qaeda focused screed, I had to laugh because I realized this speech can easily be added to this You Tube clip that’s already been posted by several site members, but is most appropo concerning his most recent performance and this CHB article.

    Yes we do have an obligation to confront terrorists etc. for our collective safety; but, we don’t want Bushco’s gang, nor any Republicans involved in the process. They’ve proven themselves to be incompetent with the focus simply being on shaking down the American taxpayer for MIC and the “oil patch” benefit. There’s no fiscal discipline associated with this debacle nor is there any plan to operate in such a fashion. We cannot afford these adventuristic wars of ill-planned aggression at this point in our nations history. I hope people take the time to watch this clip in it’s entirety and let it percolate into their consciousness.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgfzqulvhlQ

    French intelligence services said OBL is dead which was passed on via Saudi intelligence. He supposedly died of a water-born illness, typhoid in August of 2006. They both have superb services and I believe it to be true. OBL has been serving the MIC’s needs for a long, long time as ally, enemy of convenience, and a superb “straw man” to serve their ongoing games concerning using the Middle East as a “cash cow”. The second link will explain the byzantine ties the Bush family has with the Saudis, the bin Ladens, and a host of othere shadowy Middle Eastern types.

    http://www.hermes-press.com/BushSaud.htm

    Evidently, “we the people” are supposed spend 12 billion or more per month of “debt-money” until the 12th of never until we reduced to poverty stricken beggars standing in the sands of time. Wake up America, you’ve been forced to take deadly ride to national oblivion….!

    Contact your elected reps and demand impeachment. We don’t have 1.5 years left as nation under Bushco. They have us on their fast-track to a NWO Hell on Earth…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. Klaus Hergeschimmer  July 25, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Awesome Post Carl.

    Bush has come full circle from his original claim of Saddam having WMD, and now saying Iraq could be a safe haven for terrorists with a nuclear weapon if the US ‘Cuts and Runs’.

    i-Yi-Yi-Yi-Yi

  11. gene  July 25, 2007 at 8:14 am

    I just wonder how many in this crowd he was puking, I mean speaking too were thinking “this guy is a f**king psycho”.

    Their is NO WAY I could sit in an auditorium or anywhere else for that matter and listen to this sub-human piece of shit rape the english language with his verbal puke. Just looking at a photo of this idiot makes me nauseated. I want say what I would experience if I actually saw him in real life, their are no words to describe that….at least for me.

  12. JoyfulC  July 25, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Sigh! The US invasion of Iraq is the best thing that ever happened to al Qaeda.

    No, I can’t stand to watch President Bush for any length of time either without feeling seriously ill. I never liked his personal style, but that I could get past if I felt more confident of his policies or strategies. When you’re watching a president make what is turning out to be one monumental mistake after another, you can’t help wondering if he really doesn’t grasp that these are errors, or if they’re not actually “errors” at all — they’re just choices that would be so objectionable to the American people that they can’t be declared honestly, and the next best fit is to have them viewed as errors.

  13. bryan mcclellan  July 25, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Have you ever met someone for the first time and as soon as they open their mouth you want to kick them in the nuts ??? It’s no longer Al Qaeda,smirk has tuned it to, I’ll Kidya ,as evidenced by nearly 90 references to said organization that just happens to be his creation.BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARFO…

  14. LurkingFromTheLeft  July 25, 2007 at 10:06 am

    How many times…

    …did he say al Queda and al Queda in Iraq? –

    …would one more have made his head pop off? –

    …oh wait, that’s Beetlejuice –

    …maybe it’s Laura’s pet name for him –

    …note to self – must have more wine –

    LFTL

  15. Steve Horn  July 25, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    it strikes me that al Qaeda wasn’t IN Iraq until we created a power vacuum by invading a nation in a “premptive” strike and tossed out Saddam. In fact, other than thumbing their nose at the UN sanctions, Iraq just seemed to want to do business with the rest of the world prior to our invasion. Just look at the food for oil deal with the UN – Iraq seemed more than willing to exceed it’s quotas in order to get more money.
    Odd how the administration never mentions that isn’t it???
    Sounds like another attempt to connect Iraq and 9/11 – somehow “pathetic” just doesn’t cut the mustard as an apt description.

    Peace

    Steve

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