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.)