President George W. Bush says that since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the U.S. and Britain have broken up several large-scale al-Qaida terrorist plots against the United States. In 2006, says Mr. Bush, British authorities stopped a plot to blow up passenger airplanes flying to the United States:
"Our intelligence community believes that this plot was just two or three weeks away from execution. If it had been carried out, it could have rivaled Nine-Eleven in death and destruction."
The U.S. broke up two other post-Nine-Eleven aviation plots. One, says Mr. Bush, was a plot by Nine-Eleven mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to repeat the destruction of Nine-Eleven by sending operatives to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast of the United States:
"During a hearing at Guantanamo Bay [Cuba] just two months ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad stated that the intended target was the Library Tower in Los Angeles."
Iraq, says President Bush, is another key theater of al-Qaida's terrorist operations. Osama bin Laden has called the struggle in Iraq a "war of destiny" and said that an al-Qaida victory there would mean "defeat and disgrace" for the United States and its allies. That is why, says President Bush, the al-Qaida leader sent one of his most trusted advisers, an Iraqi-born terrorist named Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, to run al-Qaida's operations in Iraq. Abd al-Hadi, however, was captured in 2006 before he was able to reach Iraq.
Al Qaida wants to drive the United States and its allies out of Iraq so it can establish "a new terrorist sanctuary," says President Bush:
"Our intelligence community believes that 'al-Qaida leaders see victory in Iraq -- the heart of the caliphate and currently the most active front in their war -- as a religious and strategic imperative.' If al-Qaida succeeds in Iraq, they would pursue their stated goals of turning that nation into a base from which to overthrow moderate governments in the region, impose their hateful ideology on millions, and launch new attacks on America and other nations."
Victory in Iraq, says President Bush, "is vital for the United States of America."