I Caught About 30 Seconds Of The Bush Press Conference On Iraq

Ken AshfordBush & Co., IraqLeave a Comment

070712_bush_hmed_8ah2_2Man, does our president smirk a lot!

And he smirks on all the wrong words.  "Sectarian violence" — he smirked on that phrase.  "Send more troops" — he smirked on that phrase.

It’s really kind of creepy.

But according to MSNBC, the White House report on Iraq cites success on 8 goals, failure on 8, mixed effort on 2, which Bush calls a C-.  And that’s after the White House spin!  Of course, given Bush’s educational background, a C- is probably "good" in his eyes.

Biden has the best quote so far:

“This progress report is like the guy who’s falling from a 100-story building and says half-way down that ‘everything’s fine.’"

Anyway, at one point during the presser — the point I happened to catch — Bush equated al-Qaeda in Iraq (now popularly shortened to "AQI") with the al-Qaeda of September 11th, saying they were the "same thing".  A CNN reporter jumped in on that, asking what evidence he had.  Bush’s response was that AQI had sworn allegience to bin Laden.

Sorry, but that dog don’t hunt.

Listen, I can swear allegience to the Red Sox, but that does not make be a Red Sox player, you know what I mean?

There simply is no evidence — and Bush gave none — that AQI is controlled, funded, or run by bin Laden and his cohorts.  This was pointed out months ago in the Washington Post:

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the United States’ most formidable enemy in that country. But unlike Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization in Pakistan, U.S. intelligence officials and outside experts believe, the Iraqi branch poses little danger to the security of the U.S. homeland.


Attacking the United States clearly remains on bin Laden’s agenda. But the likelihood that such an attack would be launched from Iraq, many experts contend, has sharply diminished over the past year as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has undergone dramatic changes. Once believed to include thousands of "foreign fighters," it is now an overwhelmingly Iraqi organization whose aims are likely to remain focused on the struggle against the Shiite majority in Iraq, U.S. intelligence officials said.

Although AQI’s top leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, is thought to be Egyptian, most members "are Iraqis, both in terms of leaders and foot soldiers," said one counterterrorism official. He and other officials estimated that Iraqis make up 90 percent of AQI’s several thousand fighters.

They are not the same.  al Qaeda in Iraq poses no threat to us, unlike, the real al Qaeda, which — we learn here — is thriving at September 2001 levels:

U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned.

The conclusion suggests that the group that launched the most devastating terror attack on the United States has been able to rebuild despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.

Buried deep in that article is this strange paragraph:

The findings could bolster the president’s hand at a moment when support on Capitol Hill for the war is eroding and the administration is struggling to defend its decision for a military buildup in Iraq.


The findings that the real al Qaeda is strong could bolster the President’s hand?  Well, probably, because the President’s engine operates on the fuel of fear.  But shouldn’t it work the opposite?  Shouldn’t people say, "Hey, al Qaeda’s threat is just gone back UP to 2001 levels under your watch, Mr. President, which means you are a FAILURE"?!?!?!?

UPDATE:  Sully weighs in on the Bush press conference:

Worse, the president conflated every single radical element in the Middle East into one amorphous anti-American entity. It appears that he sees Shiite militias, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Hamas and the Sunni insurgents as indistinguishable. He has even said baldly that the people bombing and murdering in Iraq are the same people who attacked us on 9/11. The Shiite militias? The Baathist dead-enders? Is he serious? He seems to be still operating under the premise that the fundamental dynamic is one between democracy and radicalism. At some very broad and general level, that’s not wrong. But in terms of forming policy, it’s close to useless. Actually, it’s worse than useless. We have a president who seems unable to understand the critical dynamics of the war he is allegedly waging. Is he capable of understanding the complexity? Does he really think we need another lecture on the evil of al Qaeda? Does he really think that’s what we’re arguing about at this point?