The most recent National Intelligence Estimate indicates that the war in Iraq has worsened the threat of terrorist attacks. Duh.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — 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.
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.
Here's my question: why on earth would anyone be surprised by this conclusion? The US attacked a sovereign nation that posed no real threat to us. Yes, I know Saddam was a bad guy, and he needed to go, but this wasn't the way to get rid of him. Now, instead of a secular state where Sunnis and Shia live in relative peace together, we have all-out sectarian civil war. And who is to blame for that? The answer may be quite complex, but the US is the biggest and most obvious target for those whose lives have been turned upside down by war.
So what does Bush do with this conclusion? He stays the course. And more. Is the next stop Iran?
As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1.
Bush seems to think that unprovoked attacks on other nations will help us win the War on TerrorTM. I seem to recall the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. If this is Karl Rove's "October Surprise", I'd say he can keep it.