Bush Says Iraq not in Civil War, Calls Violence an al Qaeda Plot
When is a civil war not a civil war? According to President Bush, it's when an al Qaeda plot.
President Bush said Tuesday that an al-Qaida plot to stoke cycles of sectarian revenge in Iraq is to blame for escalating bloodshed, refusing to debate whether the country has fallen into civil war.
"There's a lot of sectarian violence taking place - fomented, in my opinion, because of the attacks by al-Qaida causing people to seek reprisal," Bush said at a news conference with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves during a stop in Estonia.
So how is this supposed to work? Al Qaeda attacks Shia and the Shia attack the Sunnis in reprisal? His argument seems to be that everyone in Iraq is stupid.
Al Qaeda in Iraq claims 12,000 fighters, but that's terrorist propaganda. You can pretty much assume it's untrue. For a more realistic number, middle east expert Juan Cole says, "There's a technical definition of al-Qaeda: fighters who gave their loyalty to Osama bin Laden. Those are very few: a few hundred, maybe a few thousand... My information is that bin Laden is not interested in Iraq. I don't think there are even 600 al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq."
It'd be a damned good trick for a group of a few hundred to throw a country into a state of civil war. See, al Qaeda's a terrorist organization and terrorism's pretty easily lost in Iraq -- there's this war and stuff. Al Qaeda in Iraq is nothing more than a PR stunt -- there's someone there to take credit...