Ted Kennedy: Misguided War in Iraq has ‘Metastasized and Spread’ Terrorism Like Cancer Around the Worldby Pamela Leavey
The N.Y. Times reports that the new National Intelligence Estimate “attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.” Why are we not surprised?
An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.
The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
Last month the Senate unanimously passed an amendment from Senator Ted Kennedy that required the Director of National Intelligence to task the intelligence community to prepare a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. Senator Kennedy issued the following statement in response to the New York Times report of the National Intelligence Estimate which determined that the war in Iraq has increased terrorism around the world:
“According to reports, this intelligence document should put the final nail in the coffin for President Bush’s phony argument about the Iraq war. Despite what President Bush says, the intelligence community has reported the plain truth — the misguided war in Iraq has ‘metastasized and spread’ terrorism like cancer around the world. The fact that we need a new direction in Iraq to really win the war on terror and make Americans safer could not be clearer or more urgent – yet this Administration stubbornly clings to a failed ‘stay- the-course’ strategy. How many more independent reports, how many more deaths, how much deeper into civil war will Iraq need to fall for the White House to wake up and change its strategy in Iraq?”
The WaPo reports, “A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate completed in April cites the “centrality” of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the insurgency that has followed, as the leading inspiration for new Islamic extremist networks and cells that are united by little more than an anti-Western agenda.”
It concludes that, rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position, according to officials familiar with the classified document.
“It’s a very candid assessment,” one intelligence official said yesterday of the estimate, the first formal examination of global terrorist trends written by the National Intelligence Council since the March 2003 invasion. “It’s stating the obvious.”
The NIE, whose contents were first reported by the New York Times, coincides with public statements by senior intelligence officials describing a different kind of conflict than the one outlined by President Bush in a series of recent speeches marking the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“Together with our coalition partners,” Bush said in an address earlier this month to the Military Officers Association of America, “we’ve removed terrorist sanctuaries, disrupted their finances, killed and captured key operatives, broken up terrorist cells in America and other nations, and stopped new attacks before they’re carried out. We’re on the offense against the terrorists on every battlefront, and we’ll accept nothing less than complete victory.”
But the battlefronts intelligence analysts depict are far more impenetrable and difficult, if not impossible, to combat with the standard tools of warfare.
Needless to say Bush’s credibility has now dropped a few more notches. The NIE report sharply contrasts with Bush’s emphasis earlier this month in his “terror the nation” speeches that Iraq is the “central front” in the war on terror and that offensive military action in Iraq is the “principal road to victory in the global war.” Demcrats need to take this report and shout it to the rooftops over the next 40 days or so until election day.
Ted Kennedy is on the money, “this intelligence document should put the final nail in the coffin for President Bush’s phony argument about the Iraq war.”
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