If you look at their strategy, it hasn't changed a lot. It's based on the proposition not that they can defeat us, not that can beat us in a stand- up fight -- they can't, they never have -- it's based on the proposition that if they kill enough Americans, they can change American policy. And they cite, as examples of that, Beirut, 1983: Kill 241 Marines and you can get the Americans to withdraw from Lebanon. We did within a matter of months. Or Mogadishu in '93.
So with that basic fundamental proposition, if we were to withdraw precipitously from Iraq, for example, without completing the mission, I think that would validate the al Qaeda strategy. It would say to them they're right, that they're -- for the United States to conduct ourselves in a way that validates the al Qaeda strategy is exactly the wrong thing to do. I think, among other things, it would encourage them to launch further attacks. I think it would encourage them, if we were to operate in a way that said, you're right, if you kill enough Americans, you can change U.S. policy, they'll kill more Americans.
That's sort of the general view I have of the world. And I think in
terms of going forward, it's very important for us to succeed in Iraq and
Afghanistan; that those are not isolated incidents. The notion
|SOURCE White House Press Office|
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