In my last column I wrote about President Bush’s inability or unwillingness to communicate effectively with the American people on important issues such as the War on Terror, and specifically the war in Iraq. On July 24, Bush gave a speech that concisely laid out his reasoning and the peril we face in this cancer calledterrorism.
“Nearly six years after 9/11, America remains a nation at war,” Bush said. He reminded us that the terrorist network is determined to strike us again. We must do everything possible to stop them. The key lesson from 9/11 is that America must stay on offense and fight the terrorists overseas, namely Iraq.
He acknowledged disagreement with him regarding al-Qaida’s role in Iraq. Dissenters claim that al-Qaida isn’t at the heart of this war. “That would be news to Osama bin Laden,” Bush said. “He’s proclaimed that the ‘third world war is raging in Iraq.’ Osama bin Laden says, ‘The war is for you or for us to win …”
Bush explained al-Qaida’s danger to the U.S., and the connection to Iraq. Al-Qaida in Iraq was founded by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Zarqawi formally joined al-Qaida in 2004, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and promised to “follow his orders in jihad.” Bin Laden declared Zarqawi the “Prince of al-Qaida in Iraq.”
Our military killed Zarqawi in 2006. Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri replaced Zarqawi. Bin Laden sent one of his senior advisers to Iraq to help al-Masri, but we captured him before he got there.
It’s not what people say, but what they do that’s most telling. Bush points out that bin Laden’s decision to send one of his most important commanders to Iraq indicates the importance of Iraq to al-Qaida.
Interestingly, al-Qaida has created an Iraqi figurehead named Omar al-Baghdadi so as to fool the Iraqis into believing they are following an Iraqi national and not foreigners in al-Qaida. Apparently, this tactic has also worked on people around the globe, including those who don’t believe that al-Qaida is leading the war in Iraq.
“Here’s the bottom line: al-Qaida in Iraq is run by foreign leaders loyal to Osama bin Laden,” Bush said. “… despite all the evidence, some will tell you that al-Qaida in Iraq is not really al-Qaida — and not really a threat to America. Well, that’s like watching a man walk into a bank with a mask and a gun, and saying he’s probably just there to cash a check.”
Bush noted that some believe that al-Qaida did not exist in Iraq until the U.S. invasion, that we caused the problem. “This argument follows the flawed logic that terrorism is caused by American actions. Iraq is not the reason that the terrorists are at war with us. We were not in Iraq when the terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 … when they attacked our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania … when they attacked the USS Cole in 2000. And we were not in Iraq on Sept. 11, 2001,” Bush explained.
Removing Saddam Hussein did not cause the terrorist violence, and withdrawing from Iraq will not end it. Al-Qaida wants the U.S. out of Iraq so that they can set up a safe haven to launch attacks at our nation. “Hear the words of al-Qaida’s top commander in Iraq,” Bush warned, “when he issued an audio statement in which he said he will not rest until he has attacked our nation’s capital.”
Unfortunately, the mainstream media didn’t give much coverage to Bush’s speech. In spite of this, and even because of the lack of coverage, the president must continue to deliver this same message repeatedly. This speech is not only a critical and educational message, but it provides this nation with understanding and leadership.
Bravo, Mr. President.
This speech can be read in its entirety at: www.whitehouse.gov.
Kathleen Antrim is a columnist for The Examiner newspapers, the author of “Capital Offense”, and a correspondent for NewsMax Magazine. She can be heard regularly on Hot Talk 560 KSFO in San Francisco on “The Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan Show.” For more information go to www.KathleenAntrim.com