Bush and his republican party of fear have lost all credibility in explaining what our troops are still doing in Iraq. Now Bush is reduced to using Osama bin-Laden's threatening words in his 'fear and smear' campaign to frighten Americans away from removing those Senators and congresspersons from office who allowed our soldiers to be sent to Iraq; and who insist on enabling him to keep our troops bogged down there against the will of the overwhelming majority who want them home now. Bush has decided that Iraq is the 'center' of his 'war on terror', despite the fact that those who were identified as the perpetrators of the 9-11 attacks have never found refuge in Iraq.
"If you don't take my word, take the word of Osama bin Laden, or Mr. Zawahiri, about the importance of Iraq," Bush told the republican crowd during a fundraising stop in Reno. "The number one and two of al Qaeda have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, and their ambitions are to drive the United States out of Iraq and to abandon the 12 million people who went to the polls, and to say it's not worth it. They believe it's worth it. Al Qaeda thinks it's necessary in order to defeat America. They want us to leave so they can have a safe haven from which to plot and plan new attacks against the United States of America," he warned.
Why should the American people be swayed by the words of the al-Qaeda thugs? Aside from the most glaring question of why Bush insists on directing our nation's defenses based on the taunts of al-Qaeda, there is the obvious concern that there are still figures at-large who our government insists were major orchestrators of the 9-11 attacks. It's not out of hand to speculate that, if Bush had not diverted to Iraq, and had continued to hunt bin-Laden with intensity and commitment, there would be nothing left to inspire anyone in Iraq to violence against America.
"The other thing you hear coming out of the nation's capital is whether Iraq is a distraction on the war on terror -- you know, it's not part of the war on terror," Bush told the Nevada crowd. "I happen to think it's a central front in the war on terror. Success in Iraq will help make this country more secure. Failure in Iraq will mean that we will have left behind a treacherous world for children and our grandchildren," he warned.
But, there is no 'victory' to be found in Iraq; no mission accomplished outside of securing and refurbishing the oil ministry and recovering Saddam from his hidey-hole. The invasion of Iraq was a clear diversion from Bush's mission that he promised the American people after 9-11 he would not be deterred from when he vowed to bring bin-Laden to justice, "dead or alive."
Before he invaded, Bush claimed that: "Iraq is (was) expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons; Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons; is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons; Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons; It is seeking nuclear weapons; Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program; the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sabin nerve gas, VX nerve gas; Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas; Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States; Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past; Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes for gas centrifuges, used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons."
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," Bush told Americans. "It has a deep hatred of America and our friends and it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaida. "The danger is clear," he warned. Using chemical, biological, or one day, nuclear weapons obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country or any other."
Yet, none of that was proved true. Not one bit of it.
Bush has been desperately hawking the lie that Iraq poses even more of a danger than the worldwide network of terrorists who had already struck with impunity against the U.S.S. Cole and against several U.S. embassies abroad, before its leadership had set their sights on targets within the U.S.. The World Trade Center has already been bombed unsuccessfully once before. The danger from un-apprehended elements associated with the convicted perpetrators of that attack still loomed before the Iraq invasion. But, none of those elements were in Iraq when Bush diverted from the internationally-aided hunt for bin-Laden and his associates in Afghanistan and used our military forces to overthrow the sovereign nation.
Yet, Bush and his republican enablers continue to insist, in words and in their approval of appropriations to Iraq which far out weigh the resources directed to Afghanistan and the hunt for bin-Laden, that fighting on one side of a multi-fronted civil war in Iraq is more important than stemming the influence and muckraking violence directed around the world by bin-Laden and his accomplices. Certainly the dwindled 'coalition of the willing' didn't think Iraq was at the 'center' of their own security needs as they brought their own troops home. Iraq is important, only, to the political ambitions of Bush and the republicans who are desperate to remain in power; and who are using their support for the continued Iraq occupation as a representation of their commitment to keeping us safe and secure, while, at the same time, bashing Democrats and others opposed to the continued occupation as the reckless, unsafe ones.
The effect of the Iraq diversion on our safety and security was made abundantly clear by the collective efforts of the nation's intelligence community in the leaked, National Intelligence Estimate from April which concluded that the Iraq occupation had actually made our country and the region less secure. By likening Iraq to the worldwide Muslim terror offensive the president did what Hussein could not; he bound Iraqis to the Muslim extremists. He practically invited them to join the battle there and ally with the forces that threaten our soldiers daily. "Bring them on" became the administration's mantra, and those Iraqis who would resist their bloody imperialism obliged; some individuals there banding together under the banner of al-Qaeda.
Instead of concentrating the nation's focus and attention on the root of the animosity toward the U.S. - the animosity which has been nurtured by the administration's neglect of al-Qaeda, and by the collateral and deliberate killings which flow out of his military occupation of Iraq - Bush is concentrating his efforts on stoking the ashes of fear from the 9-11 attacks to keep Americans cowed and yoked to his failed military campaigns.
"Take the word of Osama bin Laden, or Mr. Zawahiri, about the importance of Iraq," Bush implored Americans, who've become more than jaded by his paranoid invitations to join him huddling in fear behind his bloody flag in Iraq.
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