On Tuesday, the administration released its latest National Intelligence Report, asserting that al Qaeda has “regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability” and is leveraging “the contacts and capabilities” gained via the Iraq war.
In today’s USA Today, White House spokesperson Tony Snow pens an op-ed denying the intelligence report’s conclusions, making disingenuous and historically false claims about the war in Iraq. Below is a rebuttal of his key myths:
SNOW: “We never argued that [Hussein] played a role 9/11; political opponents manufactured the claim.”
FACT: The resolution authorizing force stated,”[m]embers of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks…that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq.”
SNOW: “The most astonishing argument is the claim the United States (or the Bush administration) is responsible for this terror wave.”
FACT: As the new NIE notes, the Iraq war has spawned al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as the “most visible and capable affiliate” of the original terrorist group. The 2006 NIE stated that the “American presence in Iraq has helped spread radical Islam by providing a focal point for anti-Americanism.”
SNOW: “The al-Qaeda of 2001 no longer exists.”
FACT: The al Qaeda of 2001 is based in Afghanistan and is regenerating — while U.S. forces are mired in Iraq’s civil war. A new threat assessment by the National Counterterrorism Center is titled “Al-Qaida Better Positioned to Strike the West,” showing that al Qaeda has resurged in “operational levels” in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
SNOW: “More than anything, al-Qaeda wants the United States to leave Iraq.”
FACT: Al Qaeda leadership supports Bush’s escalation as it gives them more opportunity to launch attacks on U.S. troops. In fact, top al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri opposes withdrawal because, as he stated, it “will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap.”
Snow writes, “Politics sometimes manages to muddle the obvious.” So does Tony Snow.