White House denies Iraq link to terror escalation
Don't you just love it when the government contradicts itself? The White House responds to the National Intelligence Estimate report finding the Iraq war is fueling global terrorism. From the LA Times, Sept. 25:
White House: Terrorism not linked to invasion
WASHINGTON - The White House yesterday sharply disagreed with a new U.S. intelligence assessment that the war in Iraq is encouraging global terrorism, as Bush administration officials stressed that anti-American fervor in the Muslim world began long before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Peter Watkins, a White House spokesman, declined to talk specifically about the National Intelligence Estimate, a classified analysis that represents a consensus perspective of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies...
But the White House view, according to Watkins, is that much of the radical fundamentalists' deep anger with the United States and Israel goes back generations and cannot be linked to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.
"Their hatred for freedom and liberty did not develop overnight," Watkins said. "Those seeds were planted decades ago." He said the administration has sought in Iraq to root out hotbeds of terrorism before they grow. "Instead of waiting while they plot and plan attacks to kill innocent Americans, the United States has taken the initiative to fight back," Watkins said.
President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney also have highlighted the war in Iraq as the main thrust in the fight against terrorism, contending that the world is safer overall without Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a likely presidential candidate in 2008, agreed with the White House view that radicalism predates the toppling of Saddam, and that fundamentalists are always looking for reasons to recruit new jihadists.
"If it wasn't Iraq, it'd be Afghanistan," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation." McCain also cautioned that the longer the war continues "the more likely they are to have more recruits."
What pathetically transparent myopia. As we recently had to scold the equally dishonest (or self-deluded) Irshad Manji:
There were "foreign policy grievances" galore in September 2001. The two al-Qaeda communiques in the immediate aftermath of the attacks (Oct. 7, 2001, Oct. 9, 2001) both invoked the US troop presence in Saudi Arabia, the Iraq sanctions and Washington's support of Israel. Just because the US has made the situation much worse in the intervening years doesn't mean that there were no "foreign policy grievances" behind 9-11! And however criminal al-Qaeda's tactics and however totalitarian its ideology, these grievances are legitimate—a reality we ignore to our own peril.