Republican Senator Wrongly Says Al Qaeda, Iraqi Insurgents Are "The Same Group Of Killers"
Add Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) to the list of Republicans muddling who we are fighting in the "war on terror."
Speaking on Friday, Bond wrongly said that those who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and those who we are fighting in Iraq are the "same group of killers."
"On September 11, 2001, the American people learned there exists a group of killers, fueled by a twisted version of Islam, who want to destroy America," said Bond. "Today, we continue to fight the same group of killers not on an airplane over America but in a country in their own neighborhood, Iraq."
But Americans should know that's not true, no matter how many times Republicans trot out the argument.
Al Qaeda planned and carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, with no help from or connections with Iraq. President Bush said as much last month during a press conference:
BUSH: The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.
QUESTION: What did Iraq have to do with it?
BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?
QUESTION: The attack on the World Trade Center.
And contrary to what Bond said, the Iraqi insurgency is led by Iraqis, not Al Qaeda. A report last year from the Washington-based Center for Strategic International Studies found that of the estimated 30,000 insurgents, only 4%-10% were foreign fighters. That finding was confirmed, at least anecdotally, by U.S. Army commanders in Iraq, in interviews last year with the Telegraph of London.
The Center believes most of the insurgents are members of Sunni Arab Iraqi tribes who are "wary of a Shiite-led government." It's that conflict between Sunnis and Shiites that led even our own military leaders to acknowledge last month that an Iraq civil war was "possible."