Thank you, Tony.
Opposing view: Victory in Iraq is vital
President has weakened al-Qaeda, made USA safer from attack.
By Tony Snow
Politics sometimes manages to muddle the obvious. The war in Iraq, authorized by three-quarters of the Senate, was launched in response to Saddam Hussein's refusal to abide by 17 United Nations resolutions — and by the fact that Saddam clearly supported terror movements around the world. We never argued that he played a role 9/11; political opponents manufactured the claim to question the president's integrity.
Politics has muddied another fact: Our enemies started fighting long before 2001. Terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. They hit the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, U.S. Embassies in East Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000. All the while, Osama bin Laden was advocating war against the United States and building a terror network from camps in Afghanistan.
The most astonishing argument is the claim the United States (or the Bush administration) is responsible for this terror wave. Terrorists are responsible for terror, period.
The al-Qaeda of 2001 no longer exists. We've killed or captured two-thirds of its senior leadership. The new National Intelligence Estimate says our nation has become a tougher target. That's because our government has adopted aggressive measures to gather intelligence, protect Americans and strike enemies before they can strike us.
Al-Qaeda doesn't have the strength it had six years ago, but it remains committed to killing Americans. It also wants to find a safe haven, as it had in Afghanistan. It sees Iraq as its best hope. It wants to topple Iraq's emerging democracy and establish a base of operations in a land with vast oil reserves.
More than anything, al-Qaeda wants the United States to leave Iraq and hand victory to the terrorists. But it will not succeed. Recent military action has inflicted serious damage on al-Qaeda in Iraq and has inspired a growing number of Iraqis to fight al-Qaeda. That vindicates the president's faith in liberty as a common inheritance of mankind.
Iraq and Afghanistan are theaters in the fight against terror that has spread through Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. To deny al-Qaeda victory in Iraq sends the message that terrorism will fail and democracy prevail. Victory in Iraq will mark the beginning of the end of the war on terror.
Tony Snow is White House press secretary
And if you want or need visual aids, go to Terrorism Watch and watch the graphic display of the expansion of Islamic Terrorism in the last 30 years.