2006 September 23 Saturday
Iraq Invasion Increased Terrorist Threat

Mark Mazzetti of thef New York Times reports that a classified intelligence assessment entitled "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States" reports the Iraq invasion has increased the terrorist threat to the United States and other countries.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 ó A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

Read the full article for all the details.

Bush calls Iraq a front in a war on terror. If so then it is a front we created that spurs Muslims all over the world to take up Jihad against the West.

Bush is sort of like the Manchurian Candidate. Maybe we should call him the Mecca Candidate.

Update: The Washington Post also has gotten access to people who are familiar with the document. Our Iraq invasion has inspired Muslims toward Jihad, not democracy.

The war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists around the world whose numbers may be increasing faster than the United States and its allies can reduce the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded.

A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate completed in April cites the "centrality" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the insurgency that has followed, as the leading inspiration for new Islamic extremist networks and cells that are united by little more than an anti-Western agenda. It concludes that, rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position, according to officials familiar with the classified document.

We are going to need far better border security and tougher visa policies as the threat grows. It is time to put an end to the policies of Immigration, Imperialism, and Insolvency as Daniel Larison calls them.

Here's the Los Angeles Times coverage. I am expecting some reader to take me to task for using very harsh rhetoric about George W. Bush. But Duby and Cheney are either lying or deluded when they claim the Iraq invasion has made Americans safer.

The Bush administration has made the case that a democratic government in the Middle East would serve as a beacon to other nations, providing new hope to populations of disaffected Muslims.

"The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power," Bush said in his speech to the nation on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad." He also said that Americans were "safer, but we are not yet safe" from terrorism.

Bush and Cheney frequently have dismissed suggestions that the U.S. presence in Iraq has inflamed anger toward the United States, arguing that U.S. forces were not in Baghdad on Sept. 11, 2001.

My optimistic hope: We will so enrage the Muslims that when they do things against us that are really bad this will rouse our masses to demand an end to Muslim immigration. That'd put a really big plus in the ledger to weigh against the costs of the Iraq Debacle.

Update II: Greg Cochran comments:

What we're doing makes things worse - big surprise - but we can't quit, because we're effectively nuts. On the other hand, even if you magnify the islamic-terrorist threat tenfold, it still isn't very big as strategic threats go. I guess that the positive way of looking at it is that we've tapped a rich vein of violent insanity that would have undoubtedly broken loose in some other, maybe worse way if we hadn't invaded Iraq. Indeed, this _is_ the best of all possible worlds.

I think we are better off if their anger and resentment toward us intensifies sooner rather than later. If it happens sooner then we can react and isolate them from us before they become a much bigger demographic presence in the West.

But Greg corrects me in my interpretation of what he said: The "rich vein of violent insanity" is something he sees in us.

Update III: Daniel Larison comments:

But remember Bin Laden said that Iraq was vital to their global jihad (Michael Novak has just told us so), so no matter what you do you must not make any kind of rational judgement about this information that would seek to weaken or reduce the jihadi threat.  Under no circumstances should we consider concluding the war in Iraq, even though it daily works to the enemyís advantage for us to remain.  We must have resolve.  After all, itís 1938 and the fascists are coming, aiee!

We have to stay in Iraq because to leave would be a sign of weakness. Never mind that we help our enemies by staying. If we leave then Nazi tanks (with modern 1970s technology) will roll in blitzkrieg across Arabia with the Sunni Arabs (or Shia Arabs? or maybe the Persians?) singing "Deutscheland Uber Alles" as they break the back of the French (er, Sunni Arab?) defense.

The Middle East has become the theater of the absurd. Washington DC has become either the theater of the deluded nuts or the theater of the pathological liars. Probably some of each.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 September 23 10:04 PM  Mideast Iraq Costs

Stephen said at September 24, 2006 1:05 AM:

As has been said before, its not at all clear whose side George is on.

Though the bigger question is how the hell did he get into a position of power in the first place? Why is the system so broken that such a goober can become the leader of a country with nuclear weapons?? Its a frightening thought.

Daniel DiRito said at September 24, 2006 7:55 AM:

The problem, as I view it, is that virtually all the actions of this President in the region are fomenting instability and hostility that may soon reach a point of no return. Even worse, the efforts of this administration are failing to create a wedge between extremist leaders and their populations. On the contrary, the language used by this administration, coupled with the perception that the U.S. is engaged in unwarranted and ideological aggression, has served to push otherwise moderate populations into alignment with radical governments and extremist organizations.

As I attempt to grasp the magnitude of allowing this President unfettered authority between now and the end of his second term, I can't help but wonder what it would take to dissuade a man with his level of certainty and conviction from undertaking the actions that will facilitate the ideations he seems convinced have been presented to him through a mix of fate and faith.

History may well record this chapter as a period of unparalleled extremism. Worse yet, the United States may well be viewed as the primary force in facilitating that eventuality. George Bush, when asked about his legacy, seems content to respond that while he can't predict the future he believes his actions will prove to be pivotal. He may well be correct but, in this instance, I would suggest he recall the expression, "Be careful what you wish for".

Read more here:


gcochran said at September 24, 2006 1:38 PM:

To some extent the reason for continuing the insanity is a determined attempt to avoid admitting anything. Most of the public doesn't pay much attention to affairs of state; they don't know much and a good deal of what they think they know isn't so. Not that different for the talking classes in general. And they they work at being ignorant: they assume that anything said by anybody is solely a function of where that person sits: so ad hominem ruels ok. Exterior reality in such a situation is a weak force, especially when distant. I mean really, most Americans don't even know where Iraq _is_.

In such a situation, about the only think that registers with the base is an admission against interest by the player himself. If the Democrats criticize Bush,. why, they're political opponents and would say that anyhow. If a Bush insider says that Iraq was and is a mistake, why then he's Bush hater and you can't listen to _him_ anymore. Admitting that he made a mistake would be the kiss of death, so the rule is, never admit anything. We could find Bush with his head stuck in the cookie jar and he wouldn't admit to it: and plenty of paid liars would argue that his head _wasn't_ in the jar, would say that it's really an urn rather than a jar, would argue that strong men spend most of their time seeking cookie, etc.

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