Obama: Bush is confused, but the enemy is real

The Democratic presidential contender lays out his plan for fighting terrorism.

Published August 1, 2007 12:05PM (EDT)

Barack Obama -- wobbling, at least in the eyes of the Beltway political establishment, after saying he'd be willing to meet with the leaders of Syria, Iran and Venezuela in his first year as president -- will lay out his "comprehensive strategy for fighting terrorism worldwide" in a speech in Washington Wednesday morning. We're going to check out the speech ourselves; in the meantime, here's an excerpt from the Obama campaign:

"Just because the president misrepresents our enemies does not mean we do not have them. The terrorists are at war with us. The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real ... To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.

"The president would have us believe that every bomb in Baghdad is part of al-Qaida's war against us, not an Iraqi civil war. He elevates al-Qaida in Iraq -- which didn't exist before our invasion -- and overlooks the people who hit us on 9/11, who are training new recruits in Pakistan. He lumps together groups with very different goals: al-Qaida and Iran, Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents. He confuses our mission.

"By refusing to end the war in Iraq, President Bush is giving the terrorists what they really want, and what the Congress voted to give them in 2002: a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

"When I am president, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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