Sunday, September 24, 2006

Surreal analysis, political spin... The dangers still loom

This is a surreal era in the political life of this Republic. No one with any intellectual honesty can deny that the situation in Iraq has increased the threat of global terrorism. There are daily attacks in Iraq from radicalized Islamists. There have been attacks in London, Madrid and Jordan bearing political or operational links to the conflict. Plots have been foiled in England, Germany, Spain, Canada and the United States. Experts in neighboring countries, such as Saudi Arabia, state that the conflict between Sunni and Shiite in Iraq, which has been antagonized by Zarqawi's wing of al Qaeda, may spread into other countries. A Marine intelligence officer, Colonel Devlin, has recently reported that al Anbar was lost politically to al Qaeda.

In January, 2005, the Washington Post reported that the National Intelligence Council declared that Iraq was a breeding ground for a new generation of Islamist terror. Porter Goss, then CIA Director, said in February, 2005, that the war in Iraq has been used as a tool for recruiting and training new terrorists, the Washington Post.

Yet, in speech after speech, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush continue to spread the implication that their conduct in the war on terror is beyond reproach. The two paint a positive picture of their strategy and its effects on the world. If one were to disagree with their policy or analysis, the implication is made that the person is a threat to our national security. Or, the person does not "get" that the world changed on September 11, 2001.

Apparently, when the world changed on that day, the president became infallible. Infallible not just in an intellectual and moral sense of what is right and wrong, but also in a practical sense. The president, apparently, is so astute and gifted that facts are no longer relevant to the discussion. The circular and destructive logic goes something like this: George W. Bush knows how to win this war and becase he knows how to win, he therefore is winning.

This is absurd.

The policies of this administration have degraded our security.

The New York Times:
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
The Washington Post:
The NIE, whose contents were first reported by the New York Times, coincides with public statements by senior intelligence officials describing a different kind of conflict than the one outlined by President Bush in a series of recent speeches marking the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"Together with our coalition partners," Bush said in an address earlier this month to the Military Officers Association of America, "we've removed terrorist sanctuaries, disrupted their finances, killed and captured key operatives, broken up terrorist cells in America and other nations, and stopped new attacks before they're carried out. We're on the offense against the terrorists on every battlefront, and we'll accept nothing less than complete victory."

But the battlefronts intelligence analysts depict are far more impenetrable and difficult, if not impossible, to combat with the standard tools of warfare.
We will soon hear a lot of spin on this NIE. There will be a series of smokescreen remarks: this is the liberal media, 9/11 changed the world, the war in Iraq is a central front of the war on terror.

None of these points are meant to address the issue. The war in Iraq is going badly, and this front, this present strategy, this president and his middling senses have placed innocent people in great danger.


Blogger Chuck said...

Iraq has in fact become the focal point of the jihadists. They are pulling in as many as they can recruit to fight in Iraq. Whether or not jihadism itself is growing as a result of Iraq is open for debate.

I personally am glad the jihadist have decided to take their stand in Iraq. We and others have troops in Iraq to deal with them and we are killing or capturing them with regularity.

For every jihadist in Iraq, there is one less in the US or England. What we are seeing in Iraq is the worst of the jihadists and having the bad apples gathered in one place makes it easier to control the problem in other places.

4:36 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

My counterpoint is that Iraq has likely created more jihadists not only in Iraq but also in western countries such as the UK, Canada and so on.

We are not handling Iraq well, and the conflict is producing negative results (a boom in jihadists) that the administration does not seem to realize.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

The release of the NIE was such a "Duh!" moment. Islamists from the radical clerics to the heads of madrasas have been pointing out that Bu$hCo is great for recruiting, and they've been doing it for years.

2:16 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I don't think we will get to enjoy a real fire and brimstones condemnation from this pontiff. But, I think he's going to stick by his theological guns. Plus, his work today was very media savvy. I remain optimistic.

7:08 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

hahaha shoot. responded in the wrong comment forum.

7:08 PM  

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