Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to President Bush’s remarks about Al Qaeda and the war in Iraq:
“The President’s claim that the war in Iraq is protecting us from Al Qaeda is as misguided and dangerous as the conclusions that drove us to Iraq in the first place. The fact is that our continued flawed strategy in Iraq is emboldening and unifying Al Qaeda, both in that country and elsewhere.
“Despite what the President would like us to believe, it has been established that Al Qaeda had no active cells in Iraq when we invaded, and we have long known that we were not attacked from Iraq on 9/11. Saying otherwise does not make it so. The Administration’s own National Intelligence Estimate reported last week that the war is Al Qaeda’s most effective tool for recruiting terrorists and raising money. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda is growing stronger and Osama bin Laden operates freely along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border nearly six years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“This is why Democrats will continue fighting for what the vast majority of the American people know we need: changing the mission in Iraq, bringing our troops home responsibly, and refocusing our resources on Al Qaeda and the real threat it poses. We hope the President will soon focus on the true measure of victory we need – bringing justice to bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s senior leaders – instead of trying to justify claims that have long ago been proven to be misleading.”