James Taranto explains
There weren't a lot of surprises in President Obama's Afghanistan speech last night, but here's one: The president quietly repudiated the myth that Iraq has nothing to do with al Qaeda. The acknowledgment came in this passage:
We must keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and to do that, we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region. Of course, this burden is not ours alone to bear. This is not just America's war. Since 9/11, al Qaeda's safe havens have been the source of attacks against London and Amman and Bali.
Amman? Do you remember the attack on Jordan's capital? It happened Nov. 9, 2005, as the New York Times reported:
Terrorist bombs ripped through three hotels in the Jordanian capital, Amman, tonight, killing dozens of people and wounding hundreds more in what appeared to be a coordinated suicide attack, Jordanian officials said.
At least 57 people were killed and more than 300 injured when bombs exploded at a wedding party at the Radisson SAS, the lobby of the Grand Hyatt and outside a Days Inn, Jordanian officials said.
Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher gave varying casualty estimates to CNN, saying at least 53 initially, then as high as 67. Early casualty tolls in such chaotic situations often fluctuate wildly, and it was impossible to know with any confidence just how many people had been killed and injured.
Mr. Muasher also said that while there was no initial claim of responsibility, he regarded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, as a "prime suspect."
When a U.S. air strike killed Zarqawi in June 2006, the Times noted that he was indeed behind the 2005 attack in Amman, as well as two earlier operations:
The only attacks outside Iraq known to be directed by Mr. Zarqawi were in Jordan, said an American counterterrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity because his agency does not permit him to discuss such matters on the record. Those attacks include the 2002 murder of Laurence Foley, an American diplomat; a foiled plot in 2004 to attack the United States Embassy and Jordanian intelligence headquarters; and bombings of three Amman hotels in November that killed 60 people.
Little wonder Obama also said in his speech that "the wrenching debate over the Iraq war is well-known and need not be repeated here." That's easier than admitting that he has changed his mind and now regards Iraq as having been an al Qaeda safe haven and source of international terrorism.
Labels: Politics, War on Terror