Bush Contorts Qaeda Threat, Critics Charge

Iraqi insurgents' links to Bin Laden group said to be consistently misstated
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2007 10:23 AM CDT
Family members watch as, the flag draped coffin of Spc. Andre Craig is carried from Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church in New Haven, Conn., Friday, July 6, 2007, following a funeral service. Craig was...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With George Bush using the words "al Qaeda" more than 30 times in his speech on Iraq yesterday, critics charge that he's persistently distorting links between the global Al Qaeda organization and the Iraqi insurgency. The Al Qaeda faction fighting in Iraq is largely an independent Iraqi phenomenon, the New York Times reports, and its links with the broader organization are murky.

“The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September 11th," the president said yesterday, But Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia didn't exist before 9/11, and has grown mostly as a response to the American presence.  “Al Qaeda, both in Iraq and globally, thrives on the American occupation,”  said a former CIA official. (Read more Abu Ayyub al Masri stories.)