VIDEO: Feingold Argues Emergence of Al Qaeda Leader Shows ‘Insanity’ Of Misplaced Priorities

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"VIDEO: Feingold Argues Emergence of Al Qaeda Leader Shows ‘Insanity’ Of Misplaced Priorities"

This morning on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) argued that the broader al Qaeda network is gaining strength as a result of the Iraq war.

Feingold cited Somalia, where an individual listed by the U.S. State Department as a suspected al Qaeda collaborator was yesterday named as the new leader of a militia that has seized control of Somalia’s capital:

While we were asleep at the switch, while we were bogged down in Iraq, all focused on Iraq as the be all and end all of our American foreign policy, we are losing the battle to al Qaeda. … We’ve spent $2 million in Somalia in the last year while we’re spending $2 billion a week in Iraq. This is insanity if you think about what the priorities are of those who have attacked us and those who are likely to attack us in the future.

Watch it.

Full transcript:

FEINGOLD: Our number one moral responsibility is to protect the American people — to focus on those who attacked us on 9/11, to not be distracted into a situation where even the administration did not have Iraq as one of the 45 countries that was connected with al Qaeda.

Our number one responsibility is to protect the American people from being killed by terrorists. Iraq has very little to do with that at this point. Iraq is obviously a place where they’re training people, but the idea of standing up and keeping a military involvement forever in Iraq will actually weaken the American people’s ability to go after terrorists who, frankly, look like they’re taking over Somalia right now.

You know, Tim, today it was announced that a guy named Hassan Dahir Aweys is now the head of the government that has taken over in Mogadishu in Somalia. He is on the State Department’s terrorist list. He is known as an al Qaeda operative, or somebody that is connected with al Qaeda. While we were asleep at the switch, while we were bogged down in Iraq, while we were all focused on Iraq as the be all and end all of our American foreign policy, we are losing the battle to al Qaeda because we’re not paying attention.

I asked [Coordinator for Counter Terrorism in the State Department] Ambassador Crumpton at a hearing the other day, how many people in our federal government are working full time on the problem in Somalia? He said one full time person. We’ve spent $2 million in Somalia in the last year while we’re spending $2 billion a week in Iraq. This is insanity if you think about what the priorities are of those who have attacked us and those who are likely to attack us in the future.

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