George Bush in his final SOTU speech touted a familiar distortion: "We are defeating the enemy in Iraq! We have al Qaeda on the run!"
But how can al Qaeda be "the enemy", when it accounts for only 5 or 10% of the attacks killing our troops? Over 90% of those attacks are inflicted by Iraqi guerillas who are not part of "al Qaeda in Iraq", much less Osama's al Qaeda.
It was almost funny to watch Gen. Petraus during his Senate testimony last September. He didn't at first refer to the enemy as al Qaeda, since he knew that al Qaeda inflicted almost none of the terrible violence he was trying to suppress. But soon, picking up on the lead of Republican Senators questioning him, he finally "got with the program" and began calling the enemy al Qaeda.
Bush and his cohorts do this to obscure a critical fact: to almost all Arab Iraqis, our military is a despised army of occupation that they want out of their country. So Bush falsely pins the al Qaeda label on the IED bombers, making them out to be a small violent minority opposed by most Iraqis.
But the attacks on us could not succeed without the support of the local populace. As Sen. Chris Dodd pointed out, the local people know where the IEDs are planted. They don't warn us about them because they approve of the attacks killing our troops.
According to the respected University of Maryland PIPA poll, Arab Iraqis want us out so badly that 92% of Sunnis and 62% of Shias reported they actually favor the violent attacks on our troops.
We are impatient that the Iraqi Sunnis and Shias can't seem to agree on anything. But they do agree on one thing: they want our military occupation to end.
Bush's "al Qaeda is the enemy" myth supported another lie in his SOTU speech: that Iraqis last year were afraid that the US would pull out and "abandon them" to al Qaeda. This is exactly contrary to the truth. The great majority of both Sunnis and Shias wanted us out, and fast: they fear our army of occupation more than they fear al Qaeda.
"Al Qaeda in Iraq" numbers a few hundred fanatics, mostly foreigners, and accounts for less than 10% of our casualties. So don't let Bush tell you that the enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda.
The main enemy fighting us in Iraq is the Iraqi people themselves.
Time we got out.