Glenn Kessler And The Washington Post Calls Bullshit On Bush
Imagine that, a reporter that compares Bush's public statements with actual facts on the ground:
In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.
Under Bush's rubric, a country such as Iran -- which enjoys diplomatic representation and billions of dollars in trade with major European countries -- is lumped together with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat," Bush said, referring to the different branches of the Muslim religion.
Similarly, Bush asserted that Shia Hezbollah, which has won seats in the Lebanese government, is a terrorist group "second only to al-Qaeda in the American lives it has taken." Bush is referring to attacks nearly a quarter-century ago on a U.S. embassy and a Marine barracks when the United States intervened in Lebanon's civil war by shelling Hezbollah strongholds. Hezbollah has evolved into primarily an anti-Israeli militant organization -- it fought a war with Israel last summer -- but the European Union does not list it as a terrorist organization.
At one point, Bush catalogued what he described as advances in the quest for freedom in the Middle East during 2005 -- such as the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon and elections in Iraq. Then, Bush asserted, "a thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics and in 2006 they struck back." But his description of the actions of "the enemy" tried to tie together a series of diplomatic and military setbacks that had virtually no connection to one another, from an attack on a Sunni mosque in Iraq to the assassination of Maronite Lebanese political figure.
Read the whole thing, including the debunking of Bush's upbeat claims about job performances and budget deficits. But the real crime is his lumping together Shiite extremists with Al Qaeda, and it is doing nothing but pissing off the people we are supposed to be supporting:
Iraqi Shi'ite officials on Wednesday dismissed as "ridiculous" U.S. President George W. Bush's comment that Shi'ite militants were as big a danger to the United States as Sunni al Qaeda.
. . .An official from a top Shi'ite party in Iraq said Washington would lose focus in fighting terrorism if it decided to open up a new front against Shi'ite militias.
"Comparing Shi'ite militias to al Qaeda is ridiculous. They are protecting their own communities after a three-year onslaught by terrorists and only a few outlaws take revenge. How are the militias a threat to the United States?" he said.
"The only solution is to give the government control of its own forces," said the official, who declined to be identified.
That's the Uniter, uniting everybody against us.