Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NIE Finds Iraq War a “Cause Célèbre” for Islamic Militants

George W. Bush has, under media duress, declassified three pages of a 30-page National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), completed in April 2006 and showing yet more proof that Bush's war of choice in Iraq has made America less safe. The brief excerpt of the report, which reflects the consensus of the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies, makes clear that the continued American occupation of Iraq has increased Islamic radicalism and worsened the global terrorist threat.

“The Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause célèbre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement,” the declassified document said.

While conceding that America's counterterrorism efforts have put a serious dent in Al-Qaeda's capabilities, the report concluded what most Americans already know: That we've taken our eye mostly off Osama bin Laden and his crew in favor of the Iraq quagmire.

"We judge that Al-Qaeda will continue to pose the greatest threat to the homeland and U.S. interests abroad by a single terrorist organization,” the report said.

Further, the report excerpts declared that “The Iraqi jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives" and said that global terrorist activity will increase over the next five years -- hey, I thought we were winning this war? -- and “if this trend continues, threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.”

Bush, of course, will continue to say he's right, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary and he reinforced that yesterday, saying that people who believe the Iraq war is a mistake are the clueless ones.

“I think it’s naïve," said Bush. "I think it’s a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm against the American people makes us less safe.”

Meanwhile, Representative Jane Harman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the Iraq war has “made the global jihadist threat more dangerous.”

“We created a failed state by removing Saddam Hussein and established a recruiting tool and training ground for global jihadists,” she said.

Here's more from leading Congressional Democrats:

Said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):
“The declassified findings contained in the National Intelligence Estimate confirm what the American people have long believed – the Bush Administration’s failed policies in Iraq are fueling global terrorism and making America less safe. These results are the unfortunate consequences of the Administration’s decision to cherry pick pre-war intelligence, ignore our senior military leaders, and completely fail to plan for the post-Saddam occupation.

"With such a devastating and authoritative analysis of the Bush Administration’s failures in Iraq, the President and the Republican-controlled Congress now have a choice to make. Will they stubbornly follow a failed stay the course strategy that America’s intelligence community has concluded makes America less safe, or will they finally admit their mistakes and change course? On behalf of our troops and the security of the American people, it is time to change course. We need a new direction in Iraq so that America can finally win the war on terror.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):
“Rather than reducing the number of terrorists worldwide and lessening the motivation of terrorists to attack the United States, the war in Iraq is having precisely the opposite effect. We did not invade Iraq to fight terrorism, as the President would now have us believe. Instead, we are less safe today because the war in Iraq has hindered our ability to make progress in combating terrorism."
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI):
“The views of the intelligence community, as expressed in the National Intelligence Estimate declassified today, confirm what has been obvious for a long time -- that the war in Iraq is fueling international terrorist organizations and is making us less safe.

In addition, the NIE confirms the need to go ‘well beyond’ the Administration’s current efforts to track terrorist leaders by strengthening multilateral efforts and addressing the underlying conditions that are strengthening terrorist organizations. The war in Iraq, along with the Administration's other unilateral actions, is hurting these efforts. We must redeploy our troops from Iraq, and focus more attention on the threats identified in the NIE, including al Qaeda, the growth of other terrorist organizations, and the safe havens that are being exploited by terrorists around the world."