PAUL BREMER CORRECTS THE RECORD:
The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president’s strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism. I have been involved in the war on terrorism for two decades, and in my view no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush.
The president was right when he concluded that Saddam Hussein was a menace who needed to be removed from power. He understands that our enemies are not confined to Al Qaeda, and certainly not just to Osama bin Laden, who is probably trapped in his hide-out in Afghanistan. As the bipartisan 9/11 commission reported, there were contacts between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime going back a decade. We will win the war against global terror only by staying on the offensive and confronting terrorists and state sponsors of terror – wherever they are. Right now, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Qaeda ally, is a dangerous threat. He is in Iraq.
President Bush has said that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He is right. Mr. Zarqawi’s stated goal is to kill Americans, set off a sectarian war in Iraq and defeat democracy there. He is our enemy.
Our victory also depends on devoting the resources necessary to win this war. So last year, President Bush asked the American people to make available $87 billion for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . .
Mr. Kerry is free to quote my comments about Iraq. But for the sake of honesty he should also point out that I have repeatedly said, including in all my speeches in recent weeks, that President Bush made a correct and courageous decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s brutality, and that the president is correct to see the war in Iraq as a central front in the war on terrorism.
I don’t find the press’s reluctance here especially “curious.”
UPDATE: More on an incident that supports the forward strategy against terrorism:
Federal law enforcement authorities notified school districts in six states last month that a computer disk found in Iraq contained photos, floor plans and other information about their schools, two U.S. officials said Thursday. . . . The districts mentioned are in Georgia, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon and California. The officials said last month that FBI agents in charge of those areas alerted local education and law enforcement officials.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here.