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The National Intelligence Estimate
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Now that the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has been declassified and made public, all that is left to do is spin the story. We begin with the Washington Post:
In announcing yesterday that he would release the key judgments of a controversial National Intelligence Estimate, President Bush said he agreed with the document's conclusion "that because of our successes against the leadership of al-Qaeda, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent."

But the estimate itself posits no such cause and effect. Instead, while it notes that counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged and disrupted al-Qaeda's leadership, it describes the spreading "global jihadist movement" as fueled largely by forces that al-Qaeda exploits but is not actively directing. They include Iraq, corrupt and unjust governments in Muslim-majority countries, and "pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most Muslims."
The obvious intent of Karen De Young and Walter Pincus is to highlight the fact that President Bush agrees with the assessment, but that the assessment doesn't say what Bush thinks its says. As stated, pretty obvious.

They begin by claiming that Bush's claim, "that because of our successes against the leadership of al-Qaeda, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent", has no basis in fact, stating the NIE reports no such "cause and effect"

Well actually it does posit such a cause and effect, but you have to read it carefully to know that. On page one, first sentence it says:
United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations ...
That would be "cause" and part of the effect. The rest of "effect" is found in the next paragraph under the bullet points:
We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse.
It would be hard to claim that the degradation of al-Qaeda didn't have the effect mentioned.

Also included in the first paragraph is this:
...[H]owever, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al-Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.
So we have admittedly "seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida" which has had the effect of causing it to become "decentralized" and lacking in a "global strategy", but it (al-Qaeda) remains the "greatest threat" to the homeland of the US.

WaPo also explains that other factors also effect this growth of the global jihadist movement. They include:
Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement:

(1)Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness;

(2) the Iraq "jihad;"

(3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and

(4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims ?all of which jihadists exploit.
Now, maybe it is just me, but 3 of the 4 have existed for decades, if not centuries within Muslim nations and most likely explain the existence of the jihadist movement before Iraq. They would also explain the existence of a jihadist movement if Iraq never happened. 1, 3 and 4 are the reason the movement exists ... not Iraq. And interestingly, Afghanistan isn't mentioned a single, solitary time in the NIE. It is as if it never existed or had any impact on the jihadist movement.

WaPo goes on:
The overall estimate is bleak, with minor notes of optimism. It depicts a movement that is likely to grow more quickly than the West's ability to counter it over the next five years, as the Iraq war continues to breed "deep resentment" throughout the Muslim world, shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and cultivating new supporters for their ideology.
It is a 4 page report and I found it anything but "bleak". It is an opinion, albeit based on analysis and facts. But it is still an interpretation. But for the sake of addressing the WaPo characterization let's look at the specific point they cite:
If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit.
The only place the term "next 5 years" is found in the NIE is in the paragraph above. In fact it alludes to no such thing concerning the possibility that the movement is likely to grow more quickly than the West can contain it. In fact, it states that if those reforms can be made over the next five years, the chances are good that it might "drive a wedge" between the extremists and those willing to participate politically.

In fact, this 'bright side' only gets passing mention by WaPo:
On the relative bright side, the assessment notes the unpopularity with "the vast majority of Muslims" of the jihadists' brutal tactics and ultraconservative ideology. Democratic reforms and peaceful political alternatives in Muslim countries will also counter terrorist aims, it says.
In reality there is much more to it than they convey:
Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts, the limited appeal of the jihadists? radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens.

• The jihadists' greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution - an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari'a-based governance spanning the
Muslim world's unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims. Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists' propaganda would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade.

• Recent condemnations of violence and extremist religious interpretations by a few notable Muslim clerics signal a trend that could facilitate the growth of a constructive alternative to jihadist ideology: peaceful political activism. This also could lead to the consistent and dynamic participation of broader Muslim communities in rejecting violence, reducing the ability of radicals to capitalize on
passive community support. In this way, the Muslim mainstream emerges as the most powerful weapon in the war on terror.

• Countering the spread of the jihadist movement will require coordinated multilateral efforts that go well beyond operations to capture or kill terrorist leaders.
Those are significant shortcomings which will eventually badly hobble the jihadist movement. The last point is both obvious and critical. And it is these "multilateral efforts" which have been undertaken and which have led to the "serious damage" which al Qaeda has suffered. As we've mentioned numerous times, this war is being fought in the shadows, mostly, in financial, law enforcement, diplomatic and political spheres as well as militarily. However, while capturing and killing terrorist leaders may not be the whole answer, it is certainly a big part of the answer.

WaPo then cites unsubstantiated hearsay to make the point to which which supports the "sobering conclusions" spin it attempts in the article:
Descriptions of the unseen document in media reports last weekend quoted intelligence officials as saying it described a global terrorist threat that was worsening as a result of the Iraq war. The reports led to an explosion of reaction, with the Bush administration and leading congressional Republicans saying that the published portions did not reflect the document's balanced view of successes and remaining challenges. It was no accident, Bush charged, that selective and potentially damaging parts had been "leaked" on the eve of the midterm elections.
It is hard, given the timing, to argue there might not have been a political agenda at work concerning the leak. Especially what was leaked.

Of course that doesn't preclude the more extreme on either sides from cobbling together the usual conspiracy theories which, I'm sure, include the evil genius Rove and his minions on one side, and Plame's revenge on the other (or variations on those themes).

The rest of the WaPo article discusses the politics of the release. However there are couple of a very important sections that all discussions I've seen of this have left out. Let me share them with you:
The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests. Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings.

Seems an important point if one is to understand the entire threat, wouldn't you say? Europe's Muslims are seen as a key part of the jihadists plans to attack the West and, one would assume, for simplicity's sake, they'd probably develop targets in Europe as well.

So given this paragraph, how much of an increased threat do new jihadists pose for the US proper? Probably not much of one. And if, as the NIE claims, they've become "decentralized" and "lack a coherent global strategy" as well as "becoming more diffuse", they're even less of threat to the US proper. They're much more likely to strike near home ... their home.

Somehow WaPo never mentioned those "dots" nor did they connect them.

Again, according to the NIE, the only group which continues to have a viable but diminished ability to attack the US is al-Qaeda. And, as noted, they've been hurt pretty badly. So speaking of the "diffuse" and "decentralized" threat, the NIE concludes:
We assess that such groups pose less of a danger to the Homeland than does al-Qa'ida but will pose varying degrees of threat to our allies and to US interests abroad. The focus of their attacks is likely to ebb and flow between local regime targets and regional or global ones.
Or said another way, while they may eventually develop the capability we don't expect anyone outside of al-Qaeda to actually pose a threat to the US.

And, as if to emphasize that point the NIE says:
Other affiliated Sunni extremist organizations, such as Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al-Sunnah, and several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation.
It is a backhanded way of saying while it is possible, these groups presently don't have the ability to reach out beyond their "traditional areas of operation" and it is in our best interest to ensure they stay that way.

And keep in mind, "Sunni extremist organizations" are much more likely to be involved in Iraq than anywhere else.

To the final point I found interesting:
Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint.

• We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial support.
What is worth noting here is not all the radicalization the NIE is concerned with involves Islamic radicals. How likely all of this is to happen is anyone's guess, but it is certain that if radicalization does indeed happen among other groups they are sure to take advantage the only real weapon they have in that sort of fight - terrorism. And it is worth noting as well, that, speaking of other spheres in which the fight against terrorists must be waged, the internet weighs heavily.

I said that was the final point, but one last little goodie to make your day:
CBRN capabilities will continue to be sought by jihadist groups.
In layman's terms that's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear capabilities being sought. Obviously, it is that, in my estimation, which poses the greatest threat for an attack in the US. Blowing up a few folks in a shopping mall isn't going to make the statement terrorists want to make in this country. While bombing a train in London or Spain is sufficient to make a statement in those nations, much, much more is desired for any future attack against the US.

I've not covered the Iraq is the "cause celeb" for jihadists or claims that our security "intrinsically" involved with winning or losing in Iraq because everyone else has. Nothing in particular to add except I agree.

OK, I've given you WaPo's spin and my spin. Do go read the document and develop your own opinion.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
As we approach the midterm election, it is safe to conclude that little focus will be given to these realities and their eventual resolution...other than the GOP arguing that we cannot cut and run and the Democrats contending that the existing course of action is an unmitigated failure. I understand the partisan nature of politics but I can’t help but look for reasonable alternatives that might succeed.

I contend that the Iraqi conflict, as well as the prevailing Middle East tensions, will be lessened in equal proportion to the success we achieve in providing for a Palestinian state. Given that the NIE assessment posits that, "If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives", then it would be reasonable to conclude that any progress with the Palestinian issue will greatly enhance the speculative potentiality of the NIE report. Absent the Palestinian effort, I’m of the opinion that the NIE timeframe is overly optimistic and dependent upon a relatively static progression without the prevalence of unforeseen events and escalations...which seems unlikely at best.

Frankly, I doubt that the existing Republican approach or the alternative of withdrawal supported by a number Democrats will serve to alleviate the existing conditions and bring relative stability to the troubled region. Neither approach has the wherewithal to alter the prevailing sentiment. Conversely, a voluntary effort that would demonstrate our ability to discern the profound importance of a successful Palestinian state would, in my opinion, yield exponential goodwill. Given the current conditions, such an effort has little risk.

Read more here:

www.thoughttheater.com
 
Written By: Daniel DiRito
URL: http://www.thoughttheater.com
You might want to brush up on the definition of ’cause’ and ’effect’. True, the NIE reports the jihadist movement is diffuse and independent. But that is just the nature of the jihadist movement. Nowhere in the NIE does it state that their diffuse and independent nature is a result of the US successes against the al’Qaeda. The Washington Post reporters correctly pointed out this discrepancy between the Bush statement and the NIE. Your attempt to refute this just reads things into the NIE that are not there.

Futhermore, what is your basis for assuming that a diffuse and independent jihadist movement would more likely strike near their home? The NIE doesn’t state this (or at least the sections of the NIE that were released).
 
Written By: jackstraw
URL: http://
But that is just the nature of the jihadist movement.
Actually that wasn’t the nature of the jihadist movement, at least as it pertains to AQ, at the time went after them which is why the report says:"counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations".

The natural reaction by such an organization is to "decentralize" and spread out or "diffuse" by giving more independence to its associates.

That makes them harder to track, harder to find, harder to kill. That obviously wasn’t a problem that concerned them prior to us going after them and we know the result.

"Cause" and "effect."
Futhermore, what is your basis for assuming that a diffuse and independent jihadist movement would more likely strike near their home? The NIE doesn’t state this (or at least the sections of the NIE that were released).
Yeah, it’s called analysis.

Per the NIE:

A) they lack a coherent globally strategy

B) they’re more likely to be recruited in Europe and the ME

C) "The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests." and Iraq is the "cause celebre" of jihadists.

A + B + C means they’re more likely to strike close to where they live or were recruited.

As for AQ, the NIE says:
The focus of their attacks is likely to ebb and flow between local regime targets and regional or global ones.
That is the only organization the NIE finds with global capability and, as it notes, it has been badly degraded. So it stands to reason it’s attacks are more likely to be on the regime and regional level than on the global level as it will most likely to actually strike at the lower levels vs. globally.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ,

For a post complaining about spin, there sure is a lot spin here. Just a few examples:
Now, maybe it is just me, but 3 of the 4 have existed for decades, if not centuries within Muslim nations and most likely explain the existence of the jihadist movement before Iraq. They would also explain the existence of a jihadist movement if Iraq never happened. 1, 3 and 4 are the reason the movement exists ... not Iraq.
But our invasion of Iraq has clearly fueled factors 1 and 4. These aren’t isolated things, and they aren’t binary factors that either exist or don’t exist. Our invasion of Iraq has increased anti-American sentiment, added a major greivance to the list, and greatly heighted fears of American imperialism. Those factors all exists pre-Iraq, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have gotten worse.
And interestingly, Afghanistan isn’t mentioned a single, solitary time in the NIE. It is as if it never existed or had any impact on the jihadist movement.
I’m going to go with door #2. The reason Afghanistan isn’t mentioned in the report is almost surely because it isn’t a major factor. Most Muslims saw that invasion as being a justified response to 9/11. It wasn’t seen as an act of Western agression or imperialism. In short, it caused almost no anger within the Muslim world (or at least nothing remotely comparable to Iraq). Therefore, it isn’t a very good source of al Qaeda recruiting material.

And as others have already pointed out, your cause and effect analysis is very weak. Terrorists groups, almost by defition, are "diffuse and independent." But the reason they are becoming more so is almost surely because of the fact that non-affiliated or loosely-affiliated copycat cells are springing up across the Western world. And these groups are motivated, in large part, by events such as our invasion of Iraq. That’s the concern; that our actions—in particular our invasion of Iraq—have caused al Qaeda’s ideology to spread to disgruntled Muslims in places like London and Toronto. This "second wave" was radicalized by events different from those that radicalized the original al Qaeda terrorists. And Iraq is the primary greivance they cite.

Would some of these young men have turned to terrorism anyway? Of course. Would all of them? I doubt it.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
For a post complaining about spin, there sure is a lot spin here.
Yeah, AL ... that’s why I ended it like this:
OK, I’ve given you WaPo’s spin and my spin. Do go read the document and develop your own opinion.
It’s not a post "complaining" about spin. It is one acknowledging it.

I write opinion and I’m not unbiased. Imagine that.

I, at least, acknowledge that fact.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’m not the smartest man in the world... but it would seem to me that as you spread extremists into shadowed corners of the planet, perhaps you may lose the effectiveness of a concentrated organization in some respects; however, to suggest that our actions of force will not be met with equal retalialitory force is just absurd. Be it AQ or some crackhead in a basement, I believe the point is the more we force people into a realm of fear and hopelessness, the more people will react in a manner represenative of this situation. Who cares if AQ disappears off the face of the planet if they are replaced by twice as many independent extremists ALL capable in some regard of nurturing their own organizations to a fruition of similar intensity? I think the point is that these "terrorists" are "spreading and adapting"... While some may be lost or defanged in the process of "adaptation", I believe most will become more virulent.
And by the way, there does also have to be a concerted effort to actually stop these forces. We put as much money and energy into starting these skirmishes as we do in "fixing" them. Let’s not forget how these people (Osama, Saddam, Pahlavi, etc.) got their powers in the first place. We have quite a history of imbedding extremists in high risk areas... and then using public money to clean up the mess afterwards.
Anyway, just my two cents...
 
Written By: mario zsudakas
URL: http://
I’m not the smartest man in the world... but it would seem to me that as you spread extremists into shadowed corners of the planet, perhaps you may lose the effectiveness of a concentrated organization in some respects; however, to suggest that our actions of force will not be met with equal retalialitory force is just absurd.
mario, they’re not capable of equal retaliatory force.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
It is always good to read comments before one responds, as I learn again. No need for me to state anything other than: "What Anon Lib most excellently said."
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
I’m going to go with door #2. The reason Afghanistan isn’t mentioned in the report is almost surely because it isn’t a major factor.
So AL, do you not buy into the notion that we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan by going into Iraq?

Remember, this isn’t supposed to be a "Why do they hate us?" document, but a National Intelligence Estimate.

Are you suggesting that Afghanistan is no longer a consideration because we were justified in going in, and therefore the problem is solved? If not, how do you arrive at the conclusion that it isn’t a major factor?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
"Would some of these young men have turned to terrorism anyway? Of course. Would all of them? I doubt it."

A read of history, more specifically middle eastern history, will show one major effect rattles azround the region. Success breeds Success. Historically, the Moderate Arab street has always had a "wait and see" attitude in any period in history and especially when confronted with conflict. They love winners and will sit on the fence and wait to determine who’s winning before they toss in their lot. The radicals will "huff and puff" but unless they show some positive return, they fade into insignificance. A simple read of the 20th Century’s Mideastern heroes such as Ataturk, Gamel Abdul Nasser, Anwhar Sadat, and Momar Khaddafi will show you the rise, accompanied by vast hordes of supporters, and fall, evidenced by Sadat’s assassination, of each person (with the exception of Ataturk and the status Khaddafi is currently questionable).

Al Jazeera, MSM, and our own Democratic Party portray Iraq as a festering lost cause and Jahadi’s see that and rally to the cause from around the world. The positive return here is shown by the example of the NY Times portrayal of the war as being hopelessly lost. How can they not be encouraged when the flagship newspaper of the Great Satan tell the world over and over how the US is losing. The add to that the typical coverage by CNN, AP, Reuters, etc. And you don’t think that encourages young unafilliated Jahadis?

"Would all of them? I doubt it." Would most of them? Yes!

Am I saying Iraq has not made it worse? No. But I am saying that retreat from Iraq will result in a far greater flame erupting from around the Muslim world than has ever been seen. Show that moderate currently sitting on the fence that the west does not have the internal fortitude to hold the line and watch their ranks swell far greater than even another 9/11. Success breeds Success!

And in opposition, defeat perpetuates itself. Defeat the Jahadi’s on their own soil, on their own turf, where they themselves admit the major clash of culture currently exists and that defeat will reverbrate throughout the world of Islam. Would they walk away from the fight?

"Would all of them? I doubt it." Would most of them? Yes!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
When I read this
We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse.
I think of a cancer that has metastisized.
Decentralized and diffuse is not progress, it’s a disaster!
Obviously it’s important to confront the problem of individual "jihadists" and specific organizations. But what is not so easy to address is the spread of "jihad" itself, for jihad is an idea. You can’t put it in prison, torture it, or kill it.
We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al-Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.
Emerging networks and cells. Spreads like cancer, doesn’t it?

In all this talk, though, there has been no discussion about *why* there is anti-globalization and anti-US sentiment in the first place. Terrorism is a *symptom* of underlying problems — and no, it’s not because they "hate our freedoms."
Pehaps it was not within the purvue of the NIE authors to address the root causes of terrorism, but I don’t see how anyone could expect the problem to improve without exploring the social and political context in which it occurs.
 
Written By: LK
URL: http://
In all this talk, though, there has been no discussion about *why* there is anti-globalization and anti-US sentiment in the first place. Terrorism is a *symptom* of underlying problems — and no, it’s not because they "hate our freedoms."
Pehaps it was not within the purvue of the NIE authors to address the root causes of terrorism, but I don’t see how anyone could expect the problem to improve without exploring the social and political context in which it occurs
.
So a priori you eliminate what just may be one of the prime root causees....It MUST be something else, by definition as you define and by axiom as you imply it. It can NOT be that we represent a system inimical to their system. Why so? Did the Nazi’s hate us for the Versailler diktat or because the West was not agreeable to them and/or their policies?

Why can it not be as Usama and many explain, the West is decadent and a part of the Dar al-Harb and MUST be brought into the Dar al-Islam, preferably a SUNNI Dar al-Islam under a specifically Wahabi interpretation. I would refer you to Walzer’s "Can There Be a Decent Left" in Dissent as he examines and dissects your assumptions.

Clearly you adhere to a Progressive view that holds that religion is merely a Place Holder or Proxy for disputes, the reality is that this may, indeed, be a cultural clash, not simply a class or "Other" conflict.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It is always good to read comments before one responds, as I learn again. No need for me to state anything other than: "What Anon Lib most excellently said."
Wow ... now there is a surprise.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
LK,
In all this talk, though, there has been no discussion about *why* there is anti-globalization and anti-US sentiment in the first place.
No, some of us have read and listened to bin Ladin, Zawahiri and others of their ilk. We know what their grievances are, and most are disinclined toward resolving them, as their desired solutions are unacceptable.

There has been plenty of discussion of this. Furthermore, jihadis are not anti-globaliztion. They’re anti-
infidel
globalization. They’re all for a global Ummah.
Pehaps it was not within the purvue of the NIE authors to address the root causes of terrorism, but I don’t see how anyone could expect the problem to improve without exploring the social and political context in which it occurs.
What do you think the point of replacing despots with democratically elected governments is?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
It pains me, that there are Americans in the 21st century that argue that there’s a justification for answering violence with violence. I mean really, how ignorant can you be, in this day in age, not to understand that violence begets violence?

The war mongering chicken hawks insist that they are making the tough decisions, fighting the tough fight, by sending our sons, and daughters, to die for causes, they can no longer justify. I’m sorry, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Violence is the EASY answer to any problem, it’s a knee jerk reaction, spurning from an unenlightened, and timid mind.

The Bush administration has reduced American foreign policy to the level of a gangland drive-by, or after-school brawl.

Diplomacy is the only answer for civilized nations of the 21st century, it’s also the most difficult form of problem solving, because it actually requires thought and human interaction. Two things that are seriously lacking both in president Bush, and his followers.

People have said that 9/11 was a wake-up call, for whom? I wasn’t surprised or shocked, when it happened. I’ve traveled to Europe regularly since I was a child, and have had to deal with the threat of terrorist attacks for decades. What steps has the Bush administration taken, since 9/11?

Airport security in this country is still a joke, I haven’t seen any soldiers in the airports now for a couple of years. In Europe, you see either military or SWAT, with assault rifles locked and loaded everywhere, it’s been that way for decades. But here, it’s only a temporary measure to scare the public, during an election, or times of poor poll numbers.

Did anyone wake up in the Bush administration on 9/11, and think, gee, maybe we should have taken the Clinton administration’s terror threat assessment more seriously. No, they were too busy, singing "... ding, dong, the witch is dead ..." trying to restart the Space Defense Initiative, to pay off the missile defense contractors, and figure out how to bankrupt California with Enron, to replace Gray Davis with the Terminator.

Now, for you or anyone else to deny, what the intelligence community has been saying for years, that the invasion and occupation of Iraq, has increased the terror threat to America, is just punch-drunk, with the Bush administration.

Dance around the facts all you want, the facts are right in front of our eyes, we don’t need some piece of paper printed by a government body, to explain it to us, to later have people like you reinterpret it, like the Bible.

The Bush administration didn’t do anything about al-Qaeda, or the increasing number of terror threats, during the first eight months of his administration, the 9/11 commission understood this, and there is no evidence to the contrary, which is why Ms. Rice couldn’t site any specifics; at least not until they rewrite history, again.

The gist of the matter is the Bush administration has got to go, plain and simple, it’s botched everything they’ve done, accomplished nothing, made the world a worse place, lowered our standards of humanity, thumbed it’s nose at the law, for crying out loud, Bush himself called the Constitution "just a piece of paper."

I can’t take it any more, the Bush doctrine is indefensible, and those who try, are, well, sadly mistaken.

If Bush isn’t worth of impeachment, I guess, he’ll just have to get the blind fold.
 
Written By: Father of three
URL: http://
It pains me, that there are Americans in the 21st century that argue that there’s a justification for answering violence with violence.

[...]

If Bush isn’t worth of impeachment, I guess, he’ll just have to get the blind fold.
You just can’t make stuff like this up.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
sorry, you lost me at "war mongering chicken hawks"...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
Yeah, AL ... that’s why I ended it like this:
OK, I’ve given you WaPo’s spin and my spin. Do go read the document and develop your own opinion
.
You’re right, McQ. Somehow I didn’t see that "and my spin" part. My bad.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Diplomacy is the only answer for civilized nations of the 21st century, it’s also the most difficult form of problem solving, because it actually requires thought and human interaction.
Yes, I suppose that is why we have muslim riots in our streets and France does not.

Oh wait...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
It pains me, that there are Americans in the 21st century that argue that there’s a justification for answering violence with violence. I mean really, how ignorant can you be, in this day in age, not to understand that violence begets violence?
Yes, if only we’d talked it out with Hitler! I’m sure he would have seen the error of his ways.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Are you suggesting that Afghanistan is no longer a consideration because we were justified in going in, and therefore the problem is solved? If not, how do you arrive at the conclusion that it isn’t a major factor?
No, I’m suggesting that our invasion of Afghanistan was seen by most Muslims as a justified and natural response to 9/11 and has therefore not contributed in any significant way to Muslim anger with the U.S. That doesn’t mean the problem there is solved. Far from. The Taliban are making a comeback and most of the country is currently run by opium producing warlords. Had we kept more troops there and focused on rebuilding that country, we’d be in a lot better shape right now (as would the Afghani people). We did a real half-assed job in that country and we will likely pay for it down the road (we’re already starting to).
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Had we kept more troops there and focused on rebuilding that country, we’d be in a lot better shape right now (as would the Afghani people). We did a real half-assed job in that country and we will likely pay for it down the road (we’re already starting to).
HuH, DUDE, we only had 1-2 BRIGADES in Afghanistan at the heighth of the fighting. The logistics of the area prevented a LARGE number of US troops, you might ahve not known that, being all caught up in the "talking points" so now there are far more troops in-country than when we took our eye off the ball...Just thougth you’d like an update.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
that argue that there’s a justification for answering violence with violence.

The Minoans, the Carthiginians, Albigensians, and Anabaptists all say "AMEN, brother" Violence only begets violence and solves NOTHING!
Airport security in this country is still a joke, I haven’t seen any soldiers in the airports now for a couple of years. In Europe, you see either military or SWAT, with assault rifles locked and loaded everywhere, it’s been that way for decades
Uh Dude, doesn’t this contravene the major point of your screed? The assault rifles were for show only? No violence I hope...I mean shooting the terrorists would have only begotten MORE terrorists.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"that because of our successes against the leadership of al-Qaeda, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent."

"it notes that counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged and disrupted al-Qaeda’s leadership, it describes the spreading "global jihadist movement" as fueled largely by forces that al-Qaeda exploits but is not actively directing."

If these two excepts don’t say the exact same thing, than im frikkin Santa Clause...
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
HuH, DUDE, we only had 1-2 BRIGADES in Afghanistan at the heighth of the fighting. The logistics of the area prevented a LARGE number of US troops, you might ahve not known that, being all caught up in the "talking points" so now there are far more troops in-country than when we took our eye off the ball...Just thougth you’d like an update.
Uh, dude, I know. But had we put more in the first place, we might have been able to do things like 1) catch Osama and 2) help the country rebuild.

Bush always brags about how Afghani girls can now go to school, but the fact is that most of them still can’t. The Taliban is resurgent in much of Afghanistan and much of the rest is controlled by corrupt warlords. Opium production is up 10 fold. We did a half-assed job in that country and the primary reason is that we had our eye on Iraq from almost the beginning.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
AL wrote:
"You’re right, McQ. Somehow I didn’t see that "and my spin" part. My bad."
And mona will acknowledge seconding that error with all apologies. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
And mona will acknowledge seconding that error with all apologies.
That was just a small part of my post, and I doubt it was the part Mona was referring to. Needless to say, I don’t retract the substance of my comment, just the unfair dig on McQ in the first sentence.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
No, I’m suggesting that our invasion of Afghanistan was seen by most Muslims as a justified and natural response to 9/11 and has therefore not contributed in any significant way to Muslim anger with the U.S.
So we took care of the al-Qaeda machine. Why are we still there, and why isn’t it infidel occupation by the Great Satan? How is our role in Afghanistan different from our role in Iraq?

The vast majority of Iraqis are glad Saddam is gone. And they are overwhelmingly not pro al-Qaeda. We accomplished that and are trying to stand them up on their own. How is our role different there from Afghanistan? How is this a plus for al-Qaeda?
That doesn’t mean the problem there is solved. Far from. The Taliban are making a comeback and most of the country is currently run by opium producing warlords. Had we kept more troops there and focused on rebuilding that country, we’d be in a lot better shape right now (as would the Afghani people). We did a real half-assed job in that country and we will likely pay for it down the road (we’re already starting to).
And what about terrorism in Afghanistan? And why isn’t it mentioned in the NIE again?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
If reduced to a single thought, the NIE seems to be, "The more freedom and opportunity is spread throughout the world, the more likely it is for populations to reject the jihadists’ ideologies and the safer we all become."

If a secondary conclusion can be drawn from the NIE, it would be, "They’re coming for us and are not likely to stop." We must therefore by any means stop them ourselves. The best tool in our arsenal to accomplish this is freedom. We, as free people recognize that freedom is not something you can hoard, but by having it are obliged to share. I believe our president realized this long ago and his course has not strayed despite the ever-changing whim of the body politic.

There are many who’ve posted comments here who seem to be helping weave the ropes that will hang us all as exhibited by the comments below:
I believe the point is the more we force people into a realm of fear and hopelessness, the more people will react in a manner representative of this situation.
"We"??? It is the ideology we are fighting that "force people into a realm of fear and hopelessness". Our efforts to help the people of the middle east establish the self-governance they have been crying out for will combat the fear and hopelessness forced on them for so long.
The Bush administration didn’t do anything about al-Qaeda, or the increasing number of terror threats, during the first eight months of his administration
What administration? Not that our president needs anyone to defend his record, but I seem to recall a partisan takeover of the US Senate which made every effort to impede the creation of his administration. The man had to fund a transition team out of his own pocket for crying out loud!

I wish I wasn’t at work and could keep going...
 
Written By: Gavin
URL: http://
So we took care of the al-Qaeda machine. Why are we still there, and why isn’t it infidel occupation by the Great Satan? How is our role in Afghanistan different from our role in Iraq?
Because it isn’t tainted by a highly controversial decision to invade in the first place. No one (except perhaps the Taliban) thinks we are in Afghanistan illegitimately. We are a part of an international force headed by NATO. Everyone supported the invasion and therefore our presence is seen as benefitial.

None of that is true about Iraq. Moreover, Muslims—particularly Arab Muslims—don’t really care about Afghanistan. It’s a small, mountainous non-Arab country in the middle of nowhere. Iraq, however, is a heavily populated country at the heart of the Arab Muslim world. Baghdad is a hugely important city in Arab Muslim history. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq therefore—which is largely viewed as illegitimate by the Muslim world—stokes a lot more anger and resentment than our presence in Afghanistan, particularly among Arabs.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Because it isn’t tainted by a highly controversial decision to invade in the first place.
Do you really think that’s either a valid motivation or an opinion widely held among jihadis? Do you really think that anyone who decided to go jihadi when we went into Iraq thinks we were justified going into Afghanistan?

Really?

Is this "decision taint" the only difference between our roles in Afghanistan and Iraq?

What if Bush said "Oops. Should have left Saddam alone. Sorry!" Would that help?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
No, I’m suggesting that our invasion of Afghanistan was seen by most Muslims as a justified and natural response to 9/11 and has therefore not contributed in any significant way to Muslim anger with the U.S.
We’re not talking about "most Muslims".

We’re talking about radical Muslims.

Are you suggesting radical Muslims saw as ’justified’ our invasion of Afghanistan?


 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It’s a small, mountainous non-Arab country in the middle of nowhere. Iraq, however, is a heavily populated country at the heart of the Arab Muslim world. Baghdad is a hugely important city in Arab Muslim history. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq therefore—which is largely viewed as illegitimate by the Muslim world—stokes a lot more anger and resentment than our presence in Afghanistan, particularly among Arabs.
Hmm. So we would have been better off invading Iran than Iraq?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
HuH, DUDE, we only had 1-2 BRIGADES in Afghanistan at the heighth of the fighting. The logistics of the area prevented a LARGE number of US troops, you might ahve not known that, being all caught up in the "talking points" so now there are far more troops in-country than when we took our eye off the ball...Just thougth you’d like an update.
Uh, dude, I know. But had we put more in the first place, we might have been able to do things like 1) catch Osama and 2) help the country rebuild.
Uh dude, read the post AGAIN, we could only support a COUPLE of brigades in country....tht’s called LOGISTICS. Light Infantry can run at 230 pounds per man per DAY in logistical support (How to Make War). A brigade running at ~3,000 personnel adds up to 300-plus TONS per day of supply. Several hundred tons PER DAY, PER BRIGADE all air lifted in and then distributed via helicopter, the MOST inefficient supply system, in terms of cost per kilogram per kilometre. It’s not like we CHOSE to introduce only a few troops, we did make a conscious decision to limit "Foreign troops", but it was also a choice of necessity as well as strategy. Currently there are FAR MORE troops in Afghanistan....because they can be supported more easily.

Bottom-Line: "Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics." Editor Note: I am NOT a professional, but I am not unfamiliar witht he concept of the logitical needs of a modern military.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It’s a small, mountainous non-Arab country in the middle of nowhere.
Heh ... well it was good enough in the ’80s, so why wouldn’t it be good enough now?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Bottom-Line: "Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics." Editor Note: I am NOT a professional, but I am not unfamiliar witht he concept of the logitical needs of a modern military.
Joe’s right.

You have to support what you send it, and in that terrain, 2 brigades would be a stretch.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This post is just alarming, as either propaganda designed to support the President’s agenda, or an example of a U.S. citizen’s inability to read and comprehend anything more sophisticated than "People Magazine."

Man, where to start?

"It would be hard to claim that the degradation of al-Qaeda didn’t have the effect mentioned."
You’re misrepresenting both the WaPo and the NIE assessments. Right "cause," entirely wrong effect.

The President is claiming (as are you) that the serious damage and disruption to al-Qa’ida’s leadership and network has had a positive effect by decentralizing, diffusing, and making the jihadist movement less coherent. In fact, the NIE makes precisely the opposite case.

For instance, the sentence you culled out:

"We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse."
is but the first of 3 sentences that lead to a conclusion:

1- "We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse."

2- "New jihadist networks and cells, with anti- American agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge."

3- "The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups."

*(numbers and bolding added for emphasis)
Or, stated another way, in the absence of a well-defined target, i.e. al-Qa’ida, a more "diffuse" jihadist movement of "networks and cells" is "likely" to emerge. And it will be "harder to find and undermine" because the "actors" will be more ideologically and geographically "dispersed."

More simply, we whacked a hornets’ nest with a stick. The nest is gone, but now we have a bunch of disorganized and angry hornets flying around. And they all have stingers.

Wanna know why the Internet is so powerful? Because it is decentralized, diffuse, and lacks global coherence. Makes it basically impossible to shut down.

Next, you cite and conclude the following:

NIE:
"..[H]owever, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al-Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts."

YOU:
So we have admittedly "seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida" which has had the effect of causing it to become "decentralized" and lacking in a "global strategy", but it (al-Qaeda) remains the "greatest threat" to the homeland of the US.
Um, no. The NIE says that despite the significant damage and disruption, al-Qa’ida still poses the greatest threat of any single terrorist organization. BUT, the NIE follows this statement with the assessment that the "global jihadist movement" as a whole is spreading, and more alarmingly, adapting to counterterrorism efforts.

You are trying to claim that the NIE says al-Qa’ida is the greatest single threat and by damaging al-Qa’ida we’re safer. But the NIE carefully differentiates between al-Qa’ida and the jihadist movement as a whole. The declassified NIE is reporting that although we’ve diminished al-Qa’ida, they are still the big dog, BUT the larger movement to which al-Qa’ida belongs, made up of pre-established and new, emerging terror organizations, is growing and adapting. So, we are winning the battle against al-Qa’ida, but losing the war against terrorism.

You also have completely misrepresented the following:

"If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit."
You suggest early on in this post that we read carefully. Indeed. In the quote above, note the words "if," "probably," "would," "nonetheless," and "will."

If the reform efforts progress for another five years, a viable political process probably would dillute the power of extremist groups. I have paraphrased, but used the language in the original. This kind of analysis is crucial, so if you doubt me just refer to the quote upthread.

The NIE is pointedly equivocal by stating if "A" happens, "B" would probably happen. And the NIE subtly hedges even further by using the word "would."

A "Key Judgements" summary is for executives, and intentionally as brief as possible — each word is carefully scrutinized and chosen. And it assumes a certain known context and sophistication on the part of the reader. The authors of the NIE could have stated "if democratic reform efforts...progress...political participation probably will..." And yet, they didn’t. They chose instead to use "would."

So what? Well, doesn’t "would" imply more doubt about the initial premise? It leaves open the suggestion that this sentence could have been written "were democratic reform...participation probably would..."

And that formulation just begs to be followed by "but..."

Which is exactly how the 2nd half of that paragraph begins: "nonetheless." "Nonetheless" is a synonym for "nevertheless." Nonetheless is a word that usually follows a concession. The paragraph ends with a concession. What begins as speculation — "if" A, then B "probably" happens — ends in certainty: nevertheless..."if" A, then C will happen.

So what does the NIE assess will create new opportunities for terrorists? "Attendant reforms" and "destabilizing transitions." Or, in other words, if reform efforts produce the desired "attendant reforms," these "transitions" themselves will potentially be destablizing enough to create new terrorists.

So in fact, "a movement that is likely to grow more quickly than the West’s ability to counter it over the next five years" is a very accurate characterization. Restated, if successful, reforms probably would weaken the extremists. Nonetheless — nevertheless — these reforms will almost certainly breed terrorists.

Just one more, because this entire post is so distorted I could go on all day:

The NIE says:
"Other affiliated Sunni extremist organizations, such as Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al-Sunnah, and several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation."

You somehow conclude:
"It is a backhanded way of saying while it is possible, these groups presently don’t have the ability to reach out beyond their "traditional areas of operation" and it is in our best interest to ensure they stay that way."
Well, here we go again. You claim the NIE says the groups listed "presently don’t have the ability to reach out beyond..." Read it again, without super-imposing your own beliefs and inventing something "backhanded." Read what the NIE says: unless countered, these groups will become more capable of "multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks."

It doesn’t say "capable," or "more likely," or "get the ability." It says "more capable," which means already having at least some capability. After deliberately stating that al-Qa’ida, though much weaker, is still the most dangerous of a growing number of terrorist groups, the NIE points out that the scope of the threat is greater than just al-Qa’ida. Yet you write that the NIE implies these other groups aren’t currently a threat, ignoring what it states explicitly: "such groups...will pose varying degrees of threat to our allies and to US interests abroad." Again, they will pose varying degrees of threat.

The NIE’s call out to the Bush administration is "we’ve beaten up al-Qa’ida, but jihadism is larger than al-Qa’ida. In fact, it’s growing and others will soon take their place unless dealt with."

But most importantly, all this must be placed in its proper context: "United States-led counterterrorism efforts" are military actions in Afghanistan and covert operations around the world. We are not fighting al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Abu Faraj al-Libbi, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Abu Zubaydah were all captured in Pakistan. Only al-Zarqawi was killed in Iraq, but just last June, and more than 4 years after we invaded.

The NIE — even this small, filtered part — is indeed saying that the war in Iraq is fueling Islamic extremism: by expanding its base, making current and new groups harder to locate and defeat because they are less centralized, and producing future terrorist leaders with combat experience. Islamic fundamentalist terror groups are and have always been separate from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and the NIE drives this point home by differentiating "al-Qa’ida" from "the global jihadist movement," "self-radicalized cells," "the Iraq jihad," and "the Iraq conflict."

This administration nutured our fear and ignorance and successfully sold us on two illusions — al-Qa’ida was the root of all terrorism and Iraq was involved in 9/11. And we may never fully learn their motives. But the result was we invaded Iraq against the best council of darn near everyone. And in so doing, provided the rallying cry and proving ground for the next generation of terrorists.
 
Written By: spiff
URL: http://
In layman’s terms that’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear capabilities being sought. Obviously, it is that, in my estimation, which poses the greatest threat for an attack in the US. Blowing up a few folks in a shopping mall isn’t going to make the statement terrorists want to make in this country. While bombing a train in London or Spain is sufficient to make a statement in those nations, much, much more is desired for any future attack against the US.

This is an excellent and obvious point - this is the future - Al Qaeda have Nuclear weapons and are preparing the US to be attacked by these weapons - since 2003 they have repeated warnings demanding a ceasefire, coversion to Islam etc and recently have stated the cycle of warnings have being completed.

For more on Al Qaedas Nuclear Plans go to:

http://www.crusade-media.com/news1.html
 
Written By: Alan Clerkin
URL: http://www.crusade-media.com
What administration? Not that our president needs anyone to defend his record, but I seem to recall a partisan takeover of the US Senate which made every effort to impede the creation of his administration. The man had to fund a transition team out of his own pocket for crying out loud!
Well maybe if the 2000 election had been legitimate, there wouldn’t have been a problem, and President Al Gore would have taken office, and heightened airport security, possibly preventing 9/11. Look at the record, and the main focus of the Bush administration in it’s first eight months, wasn’t al-Qaeda, or terrorism.

If you look at the record, the Bush administration is rife with style over substance, appointing loyal ideologs over qualified professionals.

Bush supporters here and everywhere, tend to skirt the facts and attack trivial side steps, to avoid admitting the factual failures of a disingenuous administration.

The facts stand that the war in Iraq has made many with close business ties to this administration rich, at the expense of our soldiers, and the Iraqi people. Iraq is war profiteering at its worst. Al-Qaeda didn’t exist in Iraq before we got there.

The Bush administration lied when it said it had evidence of mobile chemical labs in Iraq, and it lied when it said it had evidence of WMD. Heck we sold Iraq most of their WMD, and told them to use them freely. There is a dispute as to whether Iraq used them directly on the Kurds, or whether the Kurds were conveniently caught in the cross fire with the Iranians.

This administration has kept moving the goal posts on Iraq, and frankly, they’ve been grasping at straws, for a way to explain themselves.

Congress approved action against Iraq, with the support of the public, after having been fed Bush’s mushroom cloud kool-aid.

I predict that the Bush administration will be tried for war crimes in absentia, found guilty and later extradited to the Haig, sometime after 2011.

But hey, that’s my biased opinion.
 
Written By: Father of three
URL: http://
A.L.,

I have to agree that those who are joining the jihadists do see Afghanistan as an issue, a major issue. We should be careful of assigning our preferred motivations for theirs. The terrorist have grown in mumber, though since the NIE hasn’t given ua any background numbers it is hard to say by how much. From what I can see from other sources and the size of their various actions it seems that though they have grown, the pace of growth has slowed since 9/11. Most likely that is due to some extent to the fact we have killed so many. I don’t have a link but my understanding before 9/11 is that at least 75,000 went through Al Qaeda’s training camps. Since that time the training seems to have declined and the best trained are dead or in captivity.

Is that an accurate assessment? I can’t say, but that is the best I can do. My guess is no matter what we do the next NIE will still say recruitment is up and the one five years from now will say that as well. This is going to be a long struggle.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
spiff,
So, we are winning the battle against al-Qa’ida, but losing the war against terrorism.
Do you think the jihadi inspirational effect of the Iraq invasion, or "decision taint" as I think I’m going to start calling it, is the deciding factor in this?
But the result was we invaded Iraq against the best council of darn near everyone.
Except for all of the prominent Democrats, including the ones who voted for it when it passed the House by a vote of 296-133, and the Senate by a vote of 77-23.

Yep, the best council of darn near everyone except 77 United States Senators and 296 Members of the House of Representatives.

Darn near everyone but them, by golly. Like Jacques Chirac! And Bashir Assad! But not Tony Blair. Or John Howard. Or Junichiro Koizumi. Or Silvio Berlusconi. Saddam advised against it though, so we’ve got to give him some props, right?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Do you really think that’s either a valid motivation or an opinion widely held among jihadis? Do you really think that anyone who decided to go jihadi when we went into Iraq thinks we were justified going into Afghanistan?
Probably not. But there’s a difference between thinking something is unjustified and thinking something is such a grave injustice that its worth fighting and dying for. The invasion of Afghanistan was very unlikely to light a fire in people, even if they didn’t support it. Iraq is another story.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
But there’s a difference between thinking something is unjustified and thinking something is such a grave injustice that its worth fighting and dying for.
Yeah. And I’m guessing it’s damned few who opt for the latter over Iraq alone. You’d really have to be mentally ill, like the Tube bombers.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
And these groups are motivated, in large part, by events such as our invasion of Iraq.
As well as by Mo cartoons.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Probably not. But there’s a difference between thinking something is unjustified and thinking something is such a grave injustice that its worth fighting and dying for. The invasion of Afghanistan was very unlikely to light a fire in people, even if they didn’t support it. Iraq is another story.
Taking down Saddam was such the injustice . . .

The problem with the left is that they are projecting their motives on the enemy. The real injustice isn’t the invasion of Iraq, it is the fact that Islam is weak compared to the decadent west. Your concept of injustice means nothing to our enemy.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Of all organizations and individuals assessed in this poll, it received the most negative ratings. The Shias and Kurds show similarly intense levels of opposition, with 95 percent and 93 percent respectively saying they have very unfavorable views. The Sunnis are also quite negative, but with less intensity. Seventy-seven percent express an unfavorable view, but only 38 percent are very unfavorable. Twenty-three percent express a favorable view (5% very).

Views of Osama bin Laden are only slightly less negative. Overall 93 percent have an unfavorable view, with 77 percent very unfavorable. Very unfavorable views are expressed by 87 percent of Kurds and 94 percent of Shias. Here again, the Sunnis are negative, but less unequivocally—71 percent have an unfavorable view (23% very), and 29 percent a favorable view (3% very).
If Iraq is creating jihadis for Al Qaeda, they aren’t coming from the Iraqi population apparently.

Regarding the number of combat units we sent to Afghanistan, keep in mind we need large units to guard the airfields where the supply comes in, so you end up with even fewer units that can patrol.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Taking down Saddam was such the injustice . . .

The problem with the left is that they are projecting their motives on the enemy. The real injustice isn’t the invasion of Iraq, it is the fact that Islam is weak compared to the decadent west. Your concept of injustice means nothing to our enemy.
The opposite is true actually. It is those on the right who projected our conceptions of justice on others. The neocons thought that if we took down a tyrant like Saddam, everyone would see the inherent justice in our actions. But most of the Muslim world saw our invasion as an act of aggression and imperialism.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
I predict that the Bush administration will be tried for war crimes in absentia, found guilty and later extradited to the Haig, sometime after 2011.
I predict that you will continue to be an idiot.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Pablo,

Do you think the jihadi inspirational effect of the Iraq invasion, or "decision taint" as I think I’m going to start calling it, is the deciding factor in this?
This is a perfect example of the inherent flaw in our thinking, and how this administration has exploited the fear of a nation. The notion of a "deciding factor" is logically meaningless in this context.

I see that I chose a poor metaphor with "losing the battle, winning the war." Wars are contests, with outcomes that are "decided" with battles. But "terrorism" is a concept, not some enemy state you can attack. There will always be someone crazy and/or desperate enough to express their condition by blowing up somebody else. Like Timothy McVeigh.

You don’t declare a real war on a concept. We didn’t invade Colombia in the name of the "war on drugs," despite the fact that they "harbor" drug producers. Dealing with terrorism means addressing those things that lead to terrorism. Bush would have us believe attacking (only some) countries that support terrorism (and Iraq wasn’t, btw), and attacking pockets of terrorists, is a means of reducing the threat of terrorist acts.

Well, not according the U.S. intelligence community:

"We...assess that the global jihadist movement — which includes al-
Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells — is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts."
Five years after 9/11, the global jihadist movement which includes al-Qa’ida is spreading and adapting. The only thing that’s been "decided" is that Bush’s policies have contributed to the spread of jihadism against the U.S. How is that not abundantly clear?
 
Written By: spiff
URL: http://
ive years after 9/11, the global jihadist movement which includes al-Qa’ida is spreading and adapting. The only thing that’s been "decided" is that Bush’s policies have contributed to the spread of jihadism against the U.S. How is that not abundantly clear?
It’s not abundantly clear because we can never know how much jihadism against the US would have spread had Bush done something else, or had someone else been President. And since that can’t be known, we can’t say whether Bush’s policies contributed to, diminished, or had no effect upon jihadism.
The opposite is true actually. It is those on the right who projected our conceptions of justice on others. The neocons thought that if we took down a tyrant like Saddam, everyone would see the inherent justice in our actions. But most of the Muslim world saw our invasion as an act of aggression and imperialism.
It’s funny that before the war, the lefties swore up and down that devout fundamentalist Muslims like AQ wouldn’t have anything to do with Saddam Hussein. But now that the US removed him from power, they’re telling us that Muslims really didn’t want us to topple his regime.

Walking both sides of the street is pretty rough on the legs.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
No, I’m suggesting that our invasion of Afghanistan was seen by most Muslims as a justified and natural response to 9/11 and has therefore not contributed in any significant way to Muslim anger with the U.S.
methinks you don’t get around too much. Sure, reasonable moderate muslims understand that, but they are not the ones who go jihadi.

also, the fact that we caught thousands of Pakistani and Arab volunteers coming into Afghanistan AFTER 9/11 proves you wrong.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I predict that you will continue to be an idiot.
You know, the biggest problem I have with this argument, is people like you, who fail to see what the Bush Jr. administration has done.

Fact: Richard Clarke, who served tirelessly as this country’s terrorism czar under presidents Ronald Regan, George H W Bush, and Bill Clinton, a true patriot if there ever was one, emphatically warned the Bush Jr. administration about the threat of al-Qaeda to this country.

How was Richard Clarke treated buy the Bush Jr. administration? He was demoted! His repeated warnings fell on deaf ears for over eight months!

Why, because the Bush Jr. administration had an agenda already, and addressing the emanate threat of a major terrorist attack on our country wasn’t their top priority! No, it was to push for missile defense. Why? To payback its missile contractor campaign contributors!

The problem with the Bush Jr. administration from day one is that it has injected partisan politics in everything it’s done, from education, to national security. This is an administration of cronyism, and kickbacks, where loyalists are favored over seasoned professionals. Clinton was one of the only presidents in history, if not the only one, to have had a defense secretary of the opposite party. How partisan is that?

This whole debate is meaningless, unless you can acknowledge these tenable facts.

Why did the Bush Jr. administration treat Richard Clarke with such disrespect? My feeling is that because he served under Clinton, he was deemed damaged goods, and didn’t fall into Bush Jr.’s partisan political agenda.

I know people like you, and some in the GOP, would like there to be only one political party, but that just isn’t America, and for this administration to have written off everything that fell outside of their partisan, one world view, is just unpatriotic.

This NIE is clear, Bush Jr.’s Iraq policy has made the global war on terrorism more difficult, and increased the threat of attack on our country, not lessened it. George W. Bush is bad for American security, period.
 
Written By: Father of three
URL: http://
father of three,
Clinton was one of the only presidents in history, if not the only one, to have had a defense secretary of the opposite party. How partisan is that?
And Bush kept Clinton’s CIA Director on board for how long?
This whole debate is meaningless, unless you can acknowledge these tenable facts....Why did the Bush Jr. administration treat Richard Clarke with such disrespect? My feeling is that because he served under Clinton, he was deemed damaged goods, and didn’t fall into Bush Jr.’s partisan political agenda.
Who was Bush’s CIA Director from January 19, 2001 to July 11, 2004? What does that tenable fact do to the rest of your partisan theory?

spiff,
We didn’t invade Colombia in the name of the "war on drugs," despite the fact that they "harbor" drug producers.
Our military works with the Columbian government in joint drug eradication programs. You can’t really invade when you’re invited.
The only thing that’s been "decided" is that Bush’s policies have contributed to the spread of jihadism against the U.S. How is that not abundantly clear?
It’s probably because of the number of attacks on the US since we’ve adopted the Bush proactive approach: zero.

Of course they don’t like it. They’re not supposed to like it.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Pablo
And Bush kept Clinton’s CIA Director on board for how long? ... Who was Bush’s CIA Director from January 19, 2001 to July 11, 2004? What does that tenable fact do to the rest of your partisan theory?
First of all the Director of the CIA isn’t a Cabinet position, the Secretary of Defense is. Secondly, the Director of the CIA, is under the Secretary of Defense. Thirdly, the Bush Jr. administration didn’t see the CIA as something they needed to change at the time, as it didn’t play into their agenda, and as we know, intelligence is a dirty word over at the Bush Jr. White House.

Partisan politics over the security of our nation, partisan politics over the rule of law, partisan politics over our constitution, partisan politics over rational thinking. Partisan politics=totalitarianism, which is exactly what the Bush Jr. administration wants with their "powers of the unitary executive." Bush Jr. himself said that being a dictator would make his job easier. And the GOP held Congress is rubber stamping all of their power away to the Executive Branch.

Now, thanks to Congress, Bush Jr. will determine what constitutes torture under the Geneva Conventions? That’s tantamount to a complete violation of the Geneva Conventions. I seriously doubt that Mr. "I don’t read," has even read the Geneva Conventions. We know he didn’t read his PDB before September 11th, warning about the threat of a terrorist attack with airplanes crashing into buildings.

Oh yea, and the heralded "anti-torture" legislation Mr. McCain got so much praise about, amounts to nothing, as it didn’t create any criminal statutes for violations of the provisions in the legislation, basically—don’t torture, but if you do, we won’t do anything about it.

You’d better hope that you never fall on the wrong side of our government’s bed, because they will make you disappear, and there won’t be a damn thing anyone can do about it, thanks to the beloved GOP.
 
Written By: Father of three
URL: http://
First of all the Director of the CIA isn’t a Cabinet position, the Secretary of Defense is.
So what?
Secondly, the Director of the CIA, is under the Secretary of Defense.
Wrong.
Thirdly, the Bush Jr. administration didn’t see the CIA as something they needed to change at the time, as it didn’t play into their agenda, and as we know, intelligence is a dirty word over at the Bush Jr. White House.
Is this supposed to mean something? What? Is this politcal Tourette’s?

Tenet was Clinton’s guy. Bush kept him. Your "But Bubba was BIPARTISAN!!" theory is sunk. Deal with it.
Partisan politics over the security of our nation, partisan politics over the rule of law, partisan politics over our constitution, partisan politics over rational thinking.
Clinton’s CIA director. Clinton’s Counterterrorism Czar, both exactly where Bubba left them on 9/11/01. Who is playing partisan politics here? I think it’s you, dude.
And the GOP held Congress is rubber stamping all of their power away to the Executive Branch
By passing legislation for him to follow. Yup.
Now, thanks to Congress, Bush Jr. will determine what constitutes torture under the Geneva Conventions?
You’re not paying much attention, are you? Why don’t you cite the portion of the bill that says this?
You’d better hope that you never fall on the wrong side of our government’s bed, because they will make you disappear, and there won’t be a damn thing anyone can do about it, thanks to the beloved GOP.
Can you provide any examples of this happening, father of three? Or are you just fear mongering?



 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Pablo,
Secondly, the Director of the CIA, is under the Secretary of Defense.
Wrong.
Woops my bad, so much for my edumacation.
Tenet was Clinton’s guy. Bush kept him. Your "But Bubba was BIPARTISAN!!" theory is sunk. Deal with it.
I’m not making that argument, but gee, thanks for pointing it out. Clinton had to be bipartisan, the GOP controlled congress, or am I missing something?
Clinton’s CIA director. Clinton’s Counterterrorism Czar, both exactly where Bubba left them on 9/11/01. Who is playing partisan politics here? I think it’s you, dude.
Um, Richard Clarke was Ronald Reagan’s, George H. W. Bush’s, and William Jefferson Clinton’s, Counterterrorism Czar, as well, Clarke is definitely not a partisan, but a true patriot. Now don’t you think that if Clinton, who served two glorious terms as president kept Richard Clarke on, he must have been damn good at his job? Reagan and Bush Sr. thought so, but why not Jr.? Jr. dropped the ball, plain and simple, and he’s a lousy player, when he’s not on the bench. I still don’t know why a cheerleader was picked for president over a captain of a football team.
You’re not paying much attention, are you? Why don’t you cite the portion of the bill that says this?
"... The compromise legislation does not seek to narrow U.S. obligations under the Geneva Conventions in the treatment of prisoners, as Bush had hoped. But it gives the executive branch substantial leeway in deciding how to comply with treaty obligations that fall short of ``grave breaches’’ of the convention." —MercuryNews.com

Text from the Bill: H.R.6166 under SEC. 6. IMPLEMENTATION OF TREATY OBLIGATIONS.

"(c) Additional Prohibition on Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment-
(1) IN GENERAL- No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
(2) CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT DEFINED- In this subsection, the term `cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment’ means cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984.
(3) COMPLIANCE- The President shall take action to ensure compliance with this subsection, including through the establishment of administrative rules and procedures."


H.R.6166 gives the President sole responsibility to ensure compliance. You really want a President to decide what is and what is not Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment?
Can you provide any examples of this happening, father of three? Or are you just fear mongering?
There are already at least two examples of innocent people being "rendered," a Canadian, and a German, they both suffered torture, thankfully they didn’t disappear, but it’s still early in the game, and I’m sure worse things are yet to come from this administration.

With all the false terror alerts, and talk about mushroom clouds, you give Bush Jr., supreme fear monger, a pass, and label me one? Gee, you really are in love with George.

Now who’s paying attention, Pablo?


 
Written By: Father of three
URL: http://
"Clinton had to be bipartisan, the GOP controlled congress, or am I missing something?"
Clinton didn’t need to be bipartisan anyway, we have an independent executive—y’know, the constitution specifies three branches of governemnt?

And if what you said were true, wouldn’t that mean Bush was bipartisan when he didn’t have to be?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Tom Perkins,
Clinton didn’t need to be bipartisan anyway, we have an independent executive—y’know, the constitution specifies three branches of governemnt?

And if what you said were true, wouldn’t that mean Bush was bipartisan when he didn’t have to be?
You must be kidding, man this thread has gotten so hijacked, I apologize, and Tom, trying to change the subject even further.
Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
? I like acronyms as much as the next person, but what the heck are you saying ?

By the way, check out the Senate right now, they’re on the verge of doing away with the 5th thru the 8th amendments to the Constitution...

McQ, I will cease comments to this thread with this final post, I appreciate the forum, much thanks.
 
Written By: Father of three
URL: http://
Joe —
In all this talk, though, there has been no discussion about *why* there is anti-globalization and anti-US sentiment in the first place. Terrorism is a *symptom* of underlying problems — and no, it’s not because they "hate our freedoms."
Pehaps it was not within the purvue of the NIE authors to address the root causes of terrorism, but I don’t see how anyone could expect the problem to improve without exploring the social and political context in which it occurs

.
So a priori you eliminate what just may be one of the prime root causees....It MUST be something else, by definition as you define and by axiom as you imply it. It can NOT be that we represent a system inimical to their system. Why so? Did the Nazi’s hate us for the Versailler diktat or because the West was not agreeable to them and/or their policies?
I’m happy to not eliminate it, if you like, I just doubt it is that important. I’m sure you’re correct that religious insanity is a "prime root cause" of terrorism in some individuals, but I also think that number is probably very small. (Though worth noting that even a very small number of religious extremists, if they gain access to money and weapons, can do a lot of damage!)

However, there are many other reasons that people around the world, and not just Muslims, are furious at the US. There are, I believe, a relatively much larger number of Muslims who, while not embracing the values of religious jihadists, nevertheless are furious at the US because of the consequences of its foreign and economic policies.

Pablo —
Clearly you adhere to a Progressive view that holds that religion is merely a Place Holder or Proxy for disputes, the reality is that this may, indeed, be a cultural clash, not simply a class or "Other" conflict.
I did not know that that was a specifically Progressive view! I mean, sometimes that happens, right? Political leaders sometimes do appeal to people’s deep emotional religious beliefs and then channel the ensuing outrage to suit their political needs. Whether Osama bin Laden is genuinely religiously offended by the West, or is using religion for his own megalomaniacal ends... who knows?

bin Laden has cited the presence of US military in Saudi Arabia and the US support for Israel (and that country’s treatment of the Palestinians)as his motivating factors, as well. Overall, the animus against the US is fueled by the perception that the US uses its power to dominate other countries economically; and if that does not work, militarily.

Whether or not one agrees with that perception, it *is* a widespread perception, and therefore must be addressed. It is a viewpoint that creates a political context in which violent acts against the US are at least accepted, if not promoted and applauded. No matter how many individual jihadists are removed from the equation, if you don’t improve the conditions which created them (or, in fact, exacerbate the conditions, as current Iraq policy does according to the NIE) there will always be more terrorists to take their place.
 
Written By: LK
URL: http://

 
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