One of George W. Bush's key arguments for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely is that al-Qaeda wants to "drive us out." But U.S. intelligence has intercepted an internal al-Qaeda communique that says almost the exact opposite.

The letter written by senior al-Qaeda operative Atiyah Abd al-Rahman states that "prolonging the war is in our interest." Yet, President Bush is rarely challenged when he asserts the opposite, and few members of Congress seem aware of the Atiyah letter, which was translated and analyzed by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

To help clarify this issue, we have posted the relevant excerpt at http://www.consortiumnews.com/prolongingwar.pdf as well as the entire letter at http://www.consortiumnews.com/atiyah-letter.pdf (the relevant excerpt is at the top of page 17). For the fuller context of this letter, you can go to Consortiumnews.com's "Gen. Petraeus & the 'Central Front' Myth" or see the new book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.

By e-mailing this item to your congressional representative or to someone you know at a news organization, you can help spread the word on this important reality -- that "prolonging" the U.S. military occupation of Iraq is just what al-Qaeda's leadership wants.

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