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What does the NIE really mean?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, September 25, 2006

Maybe it's just me, but while this report from the New York Times on the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) sounds ominous and negative, it also seems contextless:
Democratic lawmakers, responding to an intelligence report that found that the Iraq war has invigorated Islamic radicalism and worsened the global terrorist threat, said the assessment by American spy agencies demonstrated that the Bush administration needed to devise a new strategy for its handling of the war.
"Invigorated" it compared to what? Is the suggestion here that radical Islam was in decline prior to the invasion of Iraq? By what metric or standard of measurement is that conclusion reached? And, in terms of a real threat to the US, what does "invigorated" really mean?

If it means better planned, better funded, better executed terror attacks, then they have a point. But no one has said that. If it means more low level, poorly funded, poorly trained and marginally effective groups are planning attacks - what's new?

What was the state of Islamic radicalism prior to Iraq? Did Afghanistan's fall do nothing to "invigorate" radical Islam?
Representative Jane Harman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that while she could not discuss details of the classified National Intelligence Estimate, “Every intelligence analyst I speak to confirms that” the Iraq war had contributed to the increased terrorist threat.

“Even capturing the remaining top Al Qaeda leadership isn’t going to prevent copycat cells, and it isn’t going to change a failed policy in Iraq,” Ms. Harman said on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “This administration is trying to change the subject. I don’t think voters are going to buy that.”
My goodness the same argument can be made for just about anything in which "radicals" are involved. Thus the label.

They are, as I believe John McCain said, "self-generating". The problem isn't Iraq, it is the continuous and persistent effort to recruit radicals. And if it wasn't Iraq, it would be some other reason (Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, cartoons, the Pope). But seriously, why would Iraq be more of a cause for "invigorating" Islamic radicals than Afghanistan?

And no one argues we shouldn't be in Afghanistan ... well, no one that matters.

In reality, This radical movement has been building for decades. It is an outgrowth of the secular pan-Arabic movement and has turned to more religious roots which actually gives it wider appeal. But their intent is the same and the threat has always existed among a large and sympathetic segement of the Islamic population (some estimates as high as 10% of all Moslems).

To me this speaks more of discovery than an actual increase. I'd suggest the numbers have always been there and we're just now discovering the extent of those numbers. In my opinion Iraq did no more than Afghanistan in terms of "invigorating" anyone. Both are provide the same excuse the USSR gave radical Islamists when they invaded Afghanistan.

So what's the answer? Don't go after them in place like Afghanistan if it means they'll become "invigorated"?
”I think it’s obvious that the difficulties we’ve experienced in Iraq have certainly emboldened” terrorist groups, Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation.”

“But I would also argue that these people didn’t need any motivation to attack us on Sept. 11,” he said.
Precisely. A vigorous threat existed prior to Iraq and it exists now. Short of some metric to measure such things, I'm not sure how the conclusion was reached. If indeed that was the conclusion of the NIE (and that's not at all clear), then I'd suggest it's is based on a faulty analysis.

And that wouldn't be a first for our intelligence agencies, unfortunately.
 
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But seriously, why would Iraq be more of a cause for "invigorating" Islamic radicals than Afghanistan?
Well, I can think of plenty of reasons. Iraq has more sacred religious sites than Afghanistan does. In addition, there is oil in Iraq, and radicals could easily perceive our decision to invade Iraq as being motivated by our desire to control world oil markets. Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, has a sizeable Shia population, and Shia radicals may be more radicalized by our occupation of a Shia country than a primarily Sunni country.

Would terrorists attack us even if we weren’t in Iraq? Of course. Some would. But maybe some wouldn’t. An Iraqi who would otherwise not be a terrorist against the United States might become one because his family was killed by a US bomb, or killed by a US backed Shia dominated government. He might not be motivated by our support for Israel. But he might if his own house was blown up, or his wife killed.

You assume that all terrorists are motivated by the same thing. They aren’t.

But you are missing the more basic point, of course: The purpose of going into Iraq was to decrease the threat of terrorism to the United States. The message of the NIE is that rather than decrease the threat, we have increased it. This is hardly a revelation. Saddam was not in league with Al Qadea and was not a serious sponsor of terrorism. He was a thug who was more fearful of his neighbors than he was concerned with the United States.

If your point is that the terrorists will be invigorated no matter what we do, why in the world stay in Iraq and p*ss away thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars?

Indeed, your argument here is really an argument for getting out of Iraq:
They are, as I believe John McCain said, "self-generating". The problem isn’t Iraq, it is the continuous and persistent effort to recruit radicals.
If, as you assert, the terrorirsts are self-generating, then what possible reason should we be wasting our men and resources in Iraq? If, as you assert, the terrorists will always have the means to self-replicate, then why stay in Iraq? If terrorists can find any means to regenerate, then what you are really saying is that no matter how many countries we occupy in the Middle East, and no matter how many regimes we topple, we will never stop the terrorists from regenerating.

So why stay in Iraq?

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
A vigorous threat existed prior to Iraq and it exists now.
So we lost the war? After all, wasn’t the point of invading Iraq to reduce the threat against the United States?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
of course, it’s the Sunnis who are responsible for much of the violence in Iraq...

And why stay in Iraq?

Better that terrorists die there, then die here. Better that our soldiers fight them here, then civilians die here in attacks.

You have to wonder where the Democrats who care about national security are. Why aren’t they crying for an investigation into this leak? Rather selective in their rightous indignation aren’t they.

Some further thinking of mine here... inactivist.org/damned_if_we_do

Quoted from Mr Thomas Barnett:
This analysis is typical intell stuff: obvious, useless, and playing into a do-nothing mind-set that here says, "Do nothing to piss off the terrorists!"

Duh! When we engage the security situation—any security situation—in the Middle East, we piss off (and create more) terrorists. We do it when we’re pro-active, like in Iraq. We do it when we’re passive, like our military support to Israel. And we do it when we’re behind the scenes, like our intell co-op with regimes throughout the region.

So it’s never been a question of whether or not we piss off terrorists (who live to be pissed off, and when there’s not enough going on, they’ll get jacked over a film (e.g., Van Gogh), a book (Rushdie), a speech (Benedict)—whatever).
We can either engage the region militarily to deal with its security deficits that hold off economic connectivity and keep this overwhelmingly young population from engaging the future (globalization) or we can sit back, try to firewall America (something the spooks are always up for) and wait for the next explosion—or 9/11.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
Indeed, your argument here is really an argument for getting out of Iraq:
Actually it’s not, but if you could put to coherent thoughts together, you’d know that.
You assume that all terrorists are motivated by the same thing. They aren’t.
Right. Having read you in the past and suffered through your ’analysis’, you’ll excuse me if I ignore anything further from you, especially that where you intimate you have it all figured out.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Now as in most of the recent pre election periods, the CIA will continue to leak more and more spun intel to damage the current admin. I just wish they put that much effort into the War on Terror.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Well, the CIA must CYA you know...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
Okay, so there have beem and are today terrorists in various locations, including Iraq. To follow MCQ’s train of thought, then, we could keep on attacking various locations, and it would make no difference.
Should we bomb the suburbs of Paris and large areas of Great Britain where potential and probable jihadists live? And don’t forget the Madrases all over Saudi Arabia; let’s go in there with guns blazing, too.
Now, Mushaaraf claims we threatened to bomb Pakistan unless they complied with our demands.
Unless the US is ready and able to obliterate large areas of the globe, we had better stop playing Superman games, and try using our brains!

To remain strong, you have to recognize your limitaions. Instead of thinking up phony reasons not to admit that we make a ghastly mistake, what we have to do is figure out a way to get out of this mess with whatever shreds of dignity we can muster up. .
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Statement by the Director of National Intelligence

OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE
WASHINGTON, D.C.
20511
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 24, 2006

Statement by the Director of National Intelligence, John D. Negroponte, in response to news reports about the National Intelligence Estimate on Trends in Global Terrorism

"A National Intelligence Estimate is a comprehensive assessment comprised of a series of judgments which are based on the best intelligence our government develops. Characterizing only a small handful of those judgments distorts the broad strategic framework the NIE is assessing . in this case, trends in global terrorism.

"Although the NIE on Global Terrorism is still a classified document, I and other senior intelligence officials have spoken publicly, and in a way consistent with the NIE’s comprehensive assessment, about the challenges and successes we have had in the Global War on Terror. What we have said, time and again, is that while there is much that remains to be done in the war on terror, we have achieved some notable successes against the global jihadist threat.

"We have eliminated much of the leadership that presided over al Qaeda — our top global terror concern . in 2001, and U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts continued to disrupt its operations, remove its leaders and deplete its cadre. The Estimate highlights the importance of the outcome in Iraq on the future of global jihadism, judging that should the Iraqi people prevail in establishing a stable political
and security environment, the jihadists will be perceived to have failed and fewer jihadists will leave Iraq determined to carry on the fight elsewhere.

"Those statements do nothing to undermine the assessment that we have an enormous and constantly mutating struggle before us in the long war on terror. They simply demonstrate that the conclusions of the Intelligence Community are designed to be comprehensive and viewing them through the narrow prism of a fraction of judgments distorts the broad framework they create."
 
Written By: susan
URL: http://wwwwakeupamericans-spree.blogspot.com/
Actually it’s not, but if you could put to coherent thoughts together, you’d know that.
Actually, it is.
Right. Having read you in the past and suffered through your ’analysis’, you’ll excuse me if I ignore anything further from you, especially that where you intimate you have it all figured out.
My point was that different terrorists are motivated by different things. You seem to believe they are all motivated by the same thing. (E.g., why would one muslim terrorist be more upset over Iraq than Afghanistan than another would be?)

This point of view bespeaks an ignorance, of course. Of course, if the US were to bomb a Shia shrine, Shias would be more upset than Sunnis. But to you, they would be equally upset.

Ignorance of the Middle East is one of the root causes of our current problems. Your ignorance of the Middle East is breathtaking.
And why stay in Iraq?

Better that terrorists die there, then die here. Better that our soldiers fight them here, then civilians die here in attacks.
This is a joke, right? Typical right wing ignorance and rhetoric.

If you really believe that a Sunni tribal leader is going to send members of his tribe on suicide missions to the United States, you have a screw loose.

Why is it so hard to fathom that Iraqi Sunnis are killing US soldiers because US soldiers are occupying their country?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
McQ,

Respectively, I think you’re being deliberately obtuse about this, as are most Iraq war defenders. You approvingly quote John McCain when he responds: “But I would also argue that these people didn’t need any motivation to attack us on Sept. 11.”

The implication is, apparently, that because 9/11 happened before we invaded Iraq, this somehow proves that invading Iraq couldn’t have made anything worse. I’m sorry, but that "argument" just insults everyone’s intelligenc. It is a counterpoint to an imaginary bonehead argument that no one is making, i.e., that there was no terrorism threat prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Imagine someone came across a fire and decided to douse it with gasoline. Another person then comes along and criticizes the first for causing the flames to spread. Would you and McCain respond by arguing that the fire was already burning before the gasoline was poured on top of it, and therefore, the gasoline couldn’t have made it worse? Please.

You suggest that had we not invaded Iraq, al Qaeda would have highlighted other U.S. actions—like the invasion of Afghanistan—in their recruitment efforts. But this too is a profoundly unserious argument. While it’s certainly true that al Qaeda would have tried to recruit new members regardless of what we did, what really matters is how successful those recruitment efforts are. There is every reason to believe (and the NIE bears this out) that our invasion of Iraq made al Qaeda’s job much easier.

The success of ideological terror groups like al Qaeda depends on two things: 1) the existance of a larger population of people generally supportive of the group’s aims and willing to support, fund, and harbor the group, and 2) the continued supply of sufficiently radicalized youth who are susceptible to the groups recruitment efforts. Those are the basic metrics of terrorism.

Our invasion of Afghanistan created very little backlash. Nearly everyone, including most of the Muslim world, understood why we had to go in there following 9/11. Could al Qaeda have used our presence in Afghanistan to recruit new members? Sure. But the effectiveness of such an appeal would be limited, particularly among Muslims in Europe and North America.

But Iraq is a whole nother story. There we invaded a Muslim country that had nothing to do with 9/11, and we did so with no provokation (at least in the eyes of most of the world). That played right into al Qaeda’s message. It greatly angered much of the Muslim world, particuraly Muslims in Europe and North America, many of whom saw the war as a wholly illegitimate act of U.S. aggression.

Our invasion of Iraq increased the two relevant metrics. It caused al Qaeda’s message to resonate more within the Muslim world. And it further radicalized the very Muslim youth most at risk of being drawn in by the terrorist recruiters. That’s what the NIE says. That’s what common sense says. And there’s all kinds of anecdotal evidence to support that as well.

This is a very simple concept, and one that has been obvious for some time. You can argue that the benefitial consequences of the war in Iraq will ultimately (somehow) compensate for this uptick in the terrorism threat, but you really have to do mental gymnastics to avoid the reality of what’s happening. The NIE is the consensus view of all the intelligence agencies and it tracks basic common sense.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
By the way, I meant "respectfully"; not "respectively".
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
You suggest that had we not invaded Iraq, al Qaeda would have highlighted other U.S. actions—like the invasion of Afghanistan—in their recruitment efforts.
But they did AL. Originally they said it was all about the US having troops in Saudi Arabia ... remember?
The success of ideological terror groups like al Qaeda depends on two things: 1) the existance of a larger population of people generally supportive of the group’s aims and willing to support, fund, and harbor the group, and 2) the continued supply of sufficiently radicalized youth who are susceptible to the groups recruitment efforts. Those are the basic metrics of terrorism.
And we’re pretending those 2 things only happened after Iraq? Now who’s being obtuse?
Our invasion of Afghanistan created very little backlash. Nearly everyone, including most of the Muslim world, understood why we had to go in there following 9/11. Could al Qaeda have used our presence in Afghanistan to recruit new members? Sure. But the effectiveness of such an appeal would be limited, particularly among Muslims in Europe and North America.
Oh, please. It was a rerun of the USSR’s invasion as characterized by the radicals. A good "Muslim" nation had been attacked. "Most of the Muslim world" isn’t who we were threatened by just as we’re not threatened by "most of the Muslim world" now.

It is the same 10% that has existed since the first days of the Muslim Brotherhood and the dream of a pan-Arabic future. It is from that sympathetic group they recruit just as they have in the past. Iraq is just another cause in a plethora of them. And if Iraq wasn’t available, something else would be. To pretend it would be any different had Iraq not happened is simply ridiculous on its face.

How, without Iraq, did al-Qaeda ever grow to the level that it could do what it did on 9/11? And why, with Iraq, haven’t we suffered more of the same? I mean if the NIE has any credibility at all, those should be easy questions to answer since the numbers should be readily available to demonstrate how we’re much more threatened now than then.
Our invasion of Iraq increased the two relevant metrics. It caused al Qaeda’s message to resonate more within the Muslim world. And it further radicalized the very Muslim youth most at risk of being drawn in by the terrorist recruiters. That’s what the NIE says. That’s what common sense says. And there’s all kinds of anecdotal evidence to support that as well.
And of course our previous invasion of Iraq and our staging of troops in Saudi Arabia had all been forgotten by then, right?

No, AL, it’s not common sense. It is nonsense on a stick which happens to fit a particular political agenda which claims to be "reality based" although it rarely demonstrates such. It is the product of an intelligence apparatus which needs to be disbanded and started over — one which has become entirely too political for its own good.
This is a very simple concept, and one that has been obvious for some time. You can argue that the benefitial consequences of the war in Iraq will ultimately (somehow) compensate for this uptick in the terrorism threat, but you really have to do mental gymnastics to avoid the reality of what’s happening. The NIE is the consensus view of all the intelligence agencies and it tracks basic common sense.
There’s a difference between "simple" and "simplistic", and what you’re arguing falls in the latter category.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As I wrote previously:
Military actions always make recruiting efforts easier for your enemies. It is axiomatic. Among other things, it explains why recruiting offices for the US Army were filled to capacity on 8 December, 1941.
Now, the NIE provides another Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious. As long as our military forces are killing them over there, rather than in the streets of American cities, I’m OK with that.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
How, without Iraq, did al-Qaeda ever grow to the level that it could do what it did on 9/11?
McQ, please you’re WAY smarter than this. You’re engaged in a classic logical fallacy. The terrorism problem is not a binary issue that either exists or doesn’t exist. It has gradations. It can be worse or better. It’s worse when there are more willing recruits and a more supportive population, and better when there are less willing recruits and a less supportive population. Why is that so difficult to understand?

Just look around. Pre 9/11 al Qaeda consisted of a small centrally-controlled band of terrorists motivated in large part by our presence in Saudi Arabia. But the next generation of al Qaeda, the guys born and raised in London and Toronto, these guys aren’t the original al Qaeda. These are guys who were radicalized post-Iraq and cite as their primary greivance our invasion of Iraq. Now some of these guys likely would have turned to terrorism anyway. If it hadn’t been for Iraq, they probably would have fixated on some other greivance. But not all of them. Some of them were pushed over the edge by our invasion of Iraq. And it wasn’t because we were "taking it to the enemy." The enemy wasn’t even in Iraq. It was because they saw our invasion as a illegitimate act of Western aggression.

Do you really think there is just a set number of terrorists in the world and that our policies have no effect on terrorist recruitment and radicalization? Are you willing to concede that if we, say, nuked large swaths of Pakistan, it would create a backlash that would result in more support for al Qaeda and better al Qaeda recruiting? If so, then why is it so hard for you to believe that our invasion of Iraq might have had a similar effect? Why do you dismiss off hand an NIE that even the administration isn’t denying?

 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Military actions always make recruiting efforts easier for your enemies. It is axiomatic. Among other things, it explains why recruiting offices for the US Army were filled to capacity on 8 December, 1941.
Dale, this makes no sense and you know it. It makes no sense to compare the radicalization of Muslim youth to recruiting in traditional wars. When victory involves toppling another government, recruiting of new soldiers isn’t your concern. It’s just a given as you say. You win by toppling the regime, not defeating every soldier.

But when you are fighting a stateless group of extremists, you only win by reducing the total number of extremists. Therefore it makes zero sense to pursue a policy that leads to a net increase in extremists. Why is that so hard to understand?

As for this:
As long as our military forces are killing them over there, rather than in the streets of American cities, I’m OK with that.
You have to know that’s nonsense, right? Al Qaeda had virtually no presence in Iraq pre-invasion. Zarqawi and his group were in Kurdistan where we easily could have taken them out. And many of the terrorists in Iraq now became terrorists after our invasion (not all, but many). So how again does it make sense to invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and no operational ties with al Qaeda, especially when, as the NIE concludes, doing so made the threat of global terrorism worse.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
McQ, please you’re WAY smarter than this. You’re engaged in a classic logical fallacy. The terrorism problem is not a binary issue that either exists or doesn’t exist. It has gradations. It can be worse or better. It’s worse when there are more willing recruits and a more supportive population, and better when there are less willing recruits and a less supportive population. Why is that so difficult to understand?
Got to admit, I had to laugh at this one, AL.

No one is claiming it’s a binary issue but those who are claiming Iraq is the one and only reason the terrorists are ’invigorated’.

My goodness, and you’re cautioning me about logical fallacies? Heh ...
Do you really think there is just a set number of terrorists in the world and that our policies have no effect on terrorist recruitment and radicalization? Are you willing to concede that if we, say, nuked large swaths of Pakistan, it would create a backlash that would result in more support for al Qaeda and better al Qaeda recruiting? If so, then why is it so hard for you to believe that our invasion of Iraq might have had a similar effect? Why do you dismiss off hand an NIE that even the administration isn’t denying?
Hello?! What in the freaking world do you think I’ve been saying? Iraq in Gulf War One. Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan. Iraq. Israel. Palestine. Lebanon.

ALL of them, not just Iraq II, have built this up. It is a cumulative thing.

That’s what I’ve been saying this entire post, for heaven sake. What I won’t accept is that Iraq is the SOLE reason, as reported by the NIE. THAT is a binary relationship, AL.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think — given the timing, the obviously incomplete nature of the leak, and the statement by Mr. Negroponte (who has read the entire document) — that this is yet another attempt by CIA bureaucrats to undermine an administration to which they are hostile. Sadly, it’s hardly the first time for that, either.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
I think — given the timing, the obviously incomplete nature of the leak, and the statement by Mr. Negroponte (who has read the entire document) — that this is yet another attempt by CIA bureaucrats to undermine an administration to which they are hostile. Sadly, it’s hardly the first time for that, either.
That’s the conclusion to which I’m coming as well. This is simply act III of a bad play by the CIA.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What I won’t accept is that Iraq is the SOLE reason, as reported by the NIE.
I’d agree, but I also doubt that the NIE has said this, or that anyone has claimed it did.
This is simply act III of a bad play by the CIA.
that this is yet another attempt by CIA bureaucrats to undermine an administration to which they are hostile.
To me, this came off as Act XVII of a deliberately promoted propaganda campaign that has become a self-supporting alternate reality on conservative websites. The alternate reality of overlapping layers of suspicion, doubt, disregard, marginal factual disputes and implied motive assumptions have led the right-wing blogosphere to the point where it simply assumes that information damaging to the Administration, when it appears, is entirely a product of supposed hatred for the Administration.

Thus the enemies’ list in the right-wing blogosphere is rather long - not just democrats and socialists, but the judiciary, the media, the CIA, academia in general, the State Department, the supposed web of anti-Bush retired and former generals... what during the Clinton Administration were mostly considered neutral organizations, interested in getting the job done, have all supposedly subordinated their entire careers and professional interests to "making Bush look bad".

At some point, you’d think, someone would step back and use Occam’s razor. Say, "did the CIA, filled with indivduals who joined the organization with the desire first and foremost to understand, predict, our enemies, and assist the USGov in waging war against them (occam’s razor, did they *join* the CIA to discredit Bush?) - have they really stopped with the intel thing completely and started writing documents for the entire purpose of discrediting the president?

Or is it possible - let’s get crazy - they’re professionals who believe what they’re saying?

And as the people in the country with the most expertise of anyone on the subject, does anyone, when launching these rheotrical broadsides against their basic competence and character - ever wonder if - maybe, you just don’t *like* hearing that the Iraq War has made things worse??

I mean, I’m not saying that reasonable people can’t argue, or even believe, that the Iraq war hasn’t made things worse. There’s usually a reasonable argument for both sides of a foreign policy question. There’s plenty of room to debate the value, say, of increased resentment, increased recruitment, etc, vs. degarding of material assets, democratic enlargement, etc.

But this discarding of an NIE, because you don’t like what it has to say, is unserious and lame. At bare minimum, careers hang on getting said documents right.

I respect McQ’s attempts to logically and evidentarily argue against the conclusions. It would be easier to do that if we had access to an unclassified report.

But so far, we’ve heard that it probably doesn’t say what it’s reported as saying, or else it’s a bunch of CIA traitors writing documents to help Bush lose the elections. What about the possibility that the analysts are looking at global jihad movements and seeing trends that they don’t like, and writing a report about it? You know, the Occam’s Razor explanation?

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
As long as our military forces are killing them over there, rather than in the streets of American cities, I’m OK with that.

Dale, so you think that the indefinite continuation of high-casualty counterinsurgency campaigns against, oh, 4% of the world’s Muslims, helps keep the other 96% nice and tied down, and less likely to cook up plots to hit us here?

Seems to me like these open-ended conflicts export instability - the phrase used in the books to imply "we get a batch of locals pissed off and trained up without wiping them out and they go knock on some regional doors and take it out on who’s there."

We are the #1 door to knock on.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Thanks for my first really good laugh of the day.

!This is yet another attempt by CIA bureaucrats to undermine an administration to which they are hostile."

So, the National Intelligence Services have joined the diabolic Democrat’s plot.

Maybe, if the administration paid more attention to intelligence reports instead of having Cheney manufacture them, we would all be a lot safer.







 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Couldn’t the CIA mess up the BushAdmin’s world much more effectively by, oh, deliberately botching anti-terror operations and blaming it on them?

If they aren’t doing that, then does this indicate they are perhaps still interested in fighting what they are the first to perceive as a war?

Aren’t they out there pushing, however misguidedly, for the right to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? If their raison d’etre is to make Bush look bad, why would they care?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
That’s what I’ve been saying this entire post, for heaven sake. What I won’t accept is that Iraq is the SOLE reason, as reported by the NIE. THAT is a binary relationship, AL.
McQ, forgive me for not understanding that you were engaged in the world’s most transparently bogus strawman argument. Who in the world thinks that "Iraq is the SOLE reason" we have a terrorism problem? I mean really, who? Do you really think that’s what the NIE says? Did you read the articles in the Times and Post? The NIE says, reportedly, that our invasion of Iraq has made the terrorism threat worse, not that it is the SOLE cause of the problem. Yes, those other things you list contributed to the overall climate that spawned al Qaeda. But the invasion of Iraq was a uniquely provocative event. It pissed people off a lot more than most of those events you mentioned, and many would argue, needlessly so. The point is that terrorism is a theat that exists in various gradations. Our actions can either reduce or exacerbate the problem. The NIE concluded that our invasion of Iraq greatly exacerbated the problem. And your arguments for dismissing that conclusion are extremely weak.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Wow, great exchange. Although it seems like logic and seeing things in techinocolor will win out over the old black and white argument. Thanks AL, makultra and glasnost for defending reason.

Joel
 
Written By: Joel
URL: http://
Q&O will likely report on this tomorrrow, but In From the Cold, who claims to have other sources who have read the NIE, presents a much more balanced picture of it’s contents.

My own take on it is this:
In a very limited context, perhaps it’s true that we’ve energized more people to be al Qaeda. But that ignores the reality of the terrorism threat posed by Iraq itself before the invasion.

Consider this:

  • Saddam had a force of 50,000 terrorist (the Fedayeen Jerusalem) which by Saddam’s own words was recruited to push Israel out of Jerusalem (and by extension out of the “occupied lands”).

  • Saddam had created a terrorist training camp par none, Salman Pak, in which he even had a commercial jetliner for his terrorists to train in hijacking techniques on.

  • Before the invasion, Iraq sponsored terrorist attacks via “scholarships” to the families of suicide bombers attacking Israelis.

  • Saddam not only gave shelter to al Zarqawi, he allowed Zarqawi to rebuild his terrorist organization with in the safety of Iraqs borders. While in Iraq, Zarqawi coordinate the murder of Lawrence Foley, a US diplomat operating in Jordan.

The question is not whether the invasion of Iraq has created more enemies (there are far fewer alive now than there were before the invasion after all), the question should be a dialectic one: Which would have left us safer, invading Iraq, or allowing Saddam to continue to operate unfettered by international law?
 
Written By: clt510
URL: http://
If what existed before 9/11 was vigorous enough to produce 9/11, further "invigoration" is superfluous if it even exists.

If any of Bush’s responses to terrorism have "increased" the terrorist threat, these further increases are superfluous. Also, the increases are in no way in evidence in the area of the world the adminstration’s responses are primarily intended to safegaurd, the United States. Also, there is no evidence of any Democratic Party plan to reduce the threat below that which existed prior to 9/11—which produced 9/11—unless possibly it is to throw Israel under the bus.

This NIE is contextless, metricless, and senseless—unless you are a Democratic Party partisan hack, like AL, makultra and glasnost.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
McQ, forgive me for not understanding that you were engaged in the world’s most transparently bogus strawman argument. Who in the world thinks that "Iraq is the SOLE reason" we have a terrorism problem? I mean really, who?
What is the NIE’s conclusion, AL? Or at least the one which has been publicized? Where does it say, for instance, that the "War on Terror" or the "War on Islamic Radicalism" has "invigorated" Islamic radicalism and "worsened the global threat?"

Nowhere I can find.

Read the freakin’ post, for heaven sake, and look at the first cite.

It states specifically:
Democratic lawmakers, responding to an intelligence report that found that the Iraq war has invigorated Islamic radicalism and worsened the global terrorist threat, said the assessment by American spy agencies demonstrated that the Bush administration needed to devise a new strategy for its handling of the war.
The only strawman I see standing in this forum has "AL" stamped on it’s forehead.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"The NIE concluded that our invasion of Iraq greatly exacerbated the problem."

And if what conditions existed before produced 9/11, then "exacerbating" the problem is a meaningless statement.

What was being done up ’til 9/11 produced 9/22, therefore the failed policies of the past should not be continued.

The NIE ignores all current and likely future positive developments from the administrations policies, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the CIA is riddled with partisan leakers.

Never mind they let Democratic Party hacks work there and make important decisions for partisan reasons.

That source is quoted below.

"According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Valerie Plame was consulted on whom to send on the mission, and recommended Wilson, her husband."

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"9/11 produced 9/22" /= "9/11 produced 9/11"

OMFG! Coffee. Stat. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Most of the world was behind the US after 9/11. Including a majority of Muslims, and a majority of Iraqis. We blew that. First by going to Iraq at all, and then by half-assing it.

Of course the war made terrorism worse, because it is making terrorists out of the people who would not have otherwise become terrorists.

It is sad that no matter how many facts or new information comes out that Bush and his supporters still refuse to believe what is clear as day to the rest of us.

Most of America supported going to war. Why does 60% of us now think it is going badly. It must be because no one is reporting the good news out of Iraq.
 
Written By: Jared
URL: http://
Most of America supported going to war. Why does 60% of us now think it is going badly. It must be because no one is reporting the good news out of Iraq.
That’s part of it Jared.

But the 60% number is also misleading.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Most of the world was behind the US after 9/11. Including a majority of Muslims, and a majority of Iraqis. We blew that. First by going to Iraq at all, and then by half-assing it.
No, most of the world was only behind us if we kept on doing what we’d been doing. The world’s "most" was only ever in favor of our retaining failed strategies.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://

 
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