Friday, April 11, 2008

President Bush: Iran and AlQaeda Are Two Greatest Threats to America

I recently posted about how Bush administration is once again claiming that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Now the administration is also conflating Iran and AlQaeda. I posted key quotes from the Patraeus-Crocker reports to Congress this week in which they blamed Iran for failures in Iraq. In his speech on April 10, President Bush reaffirmed these claims and lumped Iran with AlQaeda. He stated: “Serious and complex challenges remain in Iraq, from the presence of al Qaeda to the destructive influence of Iran, to hard compromises needed for further political progress.” President Bush also gave Iran an ultimatum, saying “the regime in Tehran has a choice to make. It can live in peace with its neighbor, enjoy strong economic and cultural and religious ties. Or it can continue to arm and train and fund illegal militant groups, which are terrorizing the Iraqi people and turning them against Iran. If Iran makes the right choice, America will encourage a peaceful relationship between Iran and Iraq. Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests, and our troops, and our Iraqi partners.”

President Bush concluded his speech by saying “Iraq is the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century -- al Qaeda and Iran. If we fail there, al Qaeda would claim a propaganda victory of colossal proportions, and they could gain safe havens in Iraq from which to attack the United States, our friends and our allies. Iran would work to fill the vacuum in Iraq, and our failure would embolden its radical leaders and fuel their ambitions to dominate the region. The Taliban in Afghanistan and al Qaeda in Pakistan would grow in confidence and boldness. And violent extremists around the world would draw the same dangerous lesson that they did from our retreats in Somalia and Vietnam. This would diminish our nation's standing in the world, and lead to massive humanitarian casualties, and increase the threat of another terrorist attack on our homeland.”

“On the other hand, if we succeed in Iraq after all that al Qaeda and Iran have invested there, it would be a historic blow to the global terrorist movement and a severe setback for Iran. It would demonstrate to a watching world that mainstream Arabs reject the ideology of al Qaeda, and mainstream Shia reject the ideology of Iran's radical regime.”

In a special to the, Dan Froomkin outlines recent other statements from the Bush administration on Iran, including Vice President Cheney’s portrayal of Iranian regime this week as apocalyptic zealots who yearn for a nuclear conflagration. He also reviews the record of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement regarding Israel, as well as President Bush’s statements about Iran’s nuclear intentions. Froomkin concludes: “What seems to be a new drumbeat for military action has thus far remained under the radar of the mainstream media. When my colleagues do take notice, I hope they point out that the advocates of a strike against Iran are the same people who enthusiastically advocated the invasion of Iraq, making similarly authoritative-sounding declarations about the uselessness of diplomacy and the easy triumph of military might.”

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