"What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoast, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not the reliance against the resumption of tyranny in our fair land. --Abraham Lincoln, Edwardsville, Illinois, on September 11, 1858
Last October, in a desperate bid for attention and struggling to keep their republican presidential candidates from straying from the Bush foreign policy doctrine, the White House threw their political kindred a lifeline by refashioning their counterterrorism strategy to warn of a strengthened al-Qaeda still determined to attack the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction. The administration report concluded that al-Qaeda was enjoying "safe haven" in the tribal areas of Pakistan, and claimed that those in Iraq who'd identified themselves as al-Qaeda were the most likely and capable branch of the terrorist organization to carry out the threats they describe.
The new White House terror threat assessment was remarkable in it's seeming obliviousness to its own admission of the administration's failure to either capture or stifle the influence of the individuals that Bush himself declared directly responsible for the killings on 9-11. There they were, without shame or apology, declaring that after over six years since the killings and thousands of lives squandered "fighting them there" -- in Iraq, instead of in Afghanistan/Pakistan -- the best they could do was to tell us that an enemy Bush promised in 2001 to apprehend, "dead or alive," is "persistent" and still "dangerous."
Al Qaeda has “protected its top leadership, replenished operational lieutenants, and regenerated a safe haven in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas — core capabilities that would help facilitate another attack on the Homeland,” the report said.
It continued, "We also must never lose sight of Al-Qaeda's persistent desire for weapons of mass destruction, as the group continues to try to acquire and use chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material."
From the offices of those who were in power and authority in our nation when the 9-11 killings occurred, we've been told over and over (for years and years) that Iraq is the "central front" in their "war on terror." After their failure to capture those they claimed were responsible for the 9-11 killings, the administration insisted that it was Iraq which posed the greatest threat to our national security. Why? Because, we were told years later, over and over in Bush's campaign speeches, "bin-Laden said so."
The very administration which ignored warnings from their own intelligence agencies -- right up to the Oval Office in the form of a memo describing the intentions of the alleged 9-11 orchestrators, entitled, 'Bin-Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.' -- has not only failed to capture the perpetrators, but, in their zeal to invade and occupy Iraq, have allowed them to influence others who would do our nation and our interests harm by the mere virtue of their years of freedom.
"What I say to the American people when I am out there is, all you got to do is listen to what Osama bin Laden says," Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden a month before the congressional elections which swept his party out of their enabling majority and replaced them with Democrats pledged to end his Iraq occupation and bring our troops home.
"I take the words of the enemy very seriously," Bush said, "and so should the American people."
What bin-Laden and his band of thugs wanted to accomplish out of their attacks was to provoke America into the very type of U.S.-centered overreach and imperialism that Bush was all too eager to commit us to after the original perpetrators had first eluded capture and his political face was crumbling. Bush's diversion to Iraq not only allowed bin-Laden to escape; it also did what bin-Laden had not been able to accomplish over the resistance of Saddam's dictatorship. The invasion and occupation effectively bound Iraqis to al-Qaeda's campaign of violence against the U.S..
"Listen to the words of the enemy," Bush said."
Don't listen his own intelligence agencies, who have overwhelmingly concluded that his occupation is encouraging and enabling more individuals to "jihad" against heavy-hand of our military forces. Don't listen to the Democratic opposition in our own Congress who have been pleading with Bush and his republican party to allow a change of course to take our soldiers out of the way of Iraqis determined to kill each other, and to get our troops out of the way of those Iraqis determined to attack the vulnerable American symbols of Bush and Maliki's imperialism.
The White House has persisted in their effort to justify their continued diversion of the overwhelming bulk of our nation's ready-defenses to Iraq -- even as they admitted the leaders of the organization they described as "the most serious and dangerous" terrorist threat facing the country were enjoying "safe haven," 100's of miles away from the Iraq occupation they are so obsessed with maintaining.
General Petraeus, the man who Bush has relied on to justify his perpetual occupation (and is scheduled to take it on the lam before his boss leaves town), repeated their lie to interviewers this week that Iraq is still the "center" of their "terror war." That's right, Iraq.