“The war we fight today is more than a military conflict,’’ Mr. Bush said in a speech to veterans at an American Legion convention here. ”It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century.’’…..
At the same time, he placed various factions of terrorists — Sunnis who swear allegiance to Al Qaeda, Shiite radicals who join groups like Hezbollah and so-called homegrown terrorists — under one umbrella.
Experts said that might be overstating the facts.
“ ‘Network of radicals’ suggests they are actually connected in some practical fashion, and that’s obviously not the case,’’ said Steven Simon, a State Department official in the administrations of President Bill Clinton and Mr. Bush’s father.
But the comparison is central to Mr. Bush’s message, said Ken Mehlman, chairman of the National Republican Committee, who has played an integral role in developing Republican strategy for the midterm elections.
”I thought linking together the different elements of this ideological movement was important to do, and was effective,’’ Mr. Mehlman said.