Countdown: Al Qaeda Reality Check

(h/t Heather for the vids)

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Keith Olbermann and terrorism analyst Roger Cressey knocks down the lies and spin of Bush's increasingly delusional assertions of al Qaeda in Iraq.

...it's completely misleading. The organization that attacked us on 9/11 is still trying to attack us. That is the group that is primarily on the Afghan/Pakistan border that you've seen all the intelligence community assessments about in the past few days. The group inside Iraq is very indigenous. It's a function of what happened in Iraq after Saddam was overthrown. In effect, we've actually helped create the conditions that allowed al Qaeda to take root in Iraq. It's clear that al Qaeda in Iraq has ideological sympathies with al Qaeda Central that clued there's been some communication between the two, but it is false and misleading for the president to make that direct linkage that he did.

Even WaPo makes the distinction that Bush does not (though, to my dismay, burying the lede deep within the article):

U.S. intelligence analysts, however, have a somewhat different view of al-Qaeda's presence in Iraq, noting that the local branch takes its inspiration but not its orders from bin Laden. Its enemies -- the overwhelming majority of whom are Iraqis -- reside in Baghdad and Shiite-majority areas of Iraq, not in Saudi Arabia or the United States. While intelligence officials have described the Sunni insurgent group calling itself al-Qaeda in Iraq as an "accelerant" for violence, they have cited domestic sectarian divisions as the main impediment to peace.

In a report released yesterday, Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies warned that al-Qaeda is "only one part" of a spectrum of Sunni extremist groups and is far from the largest or most active. Military officials have said in background briefings that al-Qaeda is responsible for about 15 percent of the attacks...


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