John Kerry weighed in this morning on the government findings in the latest NIE report that Bush’s Iraq policy is creating terrorists. First reported in the N.Y. Times and then the WaPo, the 30-page National Intelligence Estimate that was 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 following is the statement issued by Kerry on the NIE report today:
“The National Intelligence Estimate provides jarring confirmation that the disastrous policy in Iraq is a giant recruiting poster for terrorists and it is weakening our hand in the war on terror. Terrorist organizations from Al Qaeda to Hezbollah are thrilled that we are bogged down in Iraq, even as the Administration misleads America with fear and sloganeering.
“The truth is clear: Rather than being the central front in the war on terror President Bush claims, Iraq is a fuel depot for terror fanning the flames of worldwide jihadism. Incompetence and ideology has left us with more terrorists in the world who want to kill Americans.
“Make no mistake, there is no way to regain lost ground in the war on terror without redeploying out of Iraq and making Iraqis stand up for Iraq. We must set a deadline to get out of Iraq and refocus on the real war on terror.”
Kerry is right.
In the right wing blogosphere, the rally cry in response to the NIE report boils down to Bush’s “stay the course” meme.