President George W. Bush on Wednesday declared al-Qaida "public enemy No. 1 in Iraq," placing increasing emphasis on the terror network forever associated with the deadliest attack in US history.
The president also seemed to offer another definition of success in Iraq - not a lack of violence, but a livable level for citizens.
In a speech to construction contractors, Bush put a heavy focus on al-Qaida, which carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. In doing so, he sought more bluntly to cast the unpopular Iraq war in terms that US citizens could connect to their own lives.
"For America, the decision we face in Iraq is not whether we ought to take sides in a civil war, it's whether we stay in the fight against the same international terrorist network that attacked us on 9/11," Bush said. "I strongly believe it's in our national interest to stay in the fight."