A National Intelligence Estimate, completed in April, offers a bleak appraisal of American strategy in the War on Terror.
An article published by the New York Times reports that over a dozen officials, speaking anonymously because of the classified nature of the document, have confirmed that the invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq by U.S. military forces has increased, not diminished, the threat of terrorist attack against Western targets.
In spite of recent successes in removing top Al-Queda operatives, the report concludes that militant Islam has become more decentralized. Many of these new organizations have no allegiance to one another, and would seem to have little in common, other than a common hatred of the West, which is derived from more than 5,000 radical Islamic websites.
This assessment is a far cry from that presented to the American public by the Bush administration.
“Together with our coalition partners, 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,” Bush reported earlier this month, “We’re on the offensive against the terrorists on every battlefront, and we’ll accept nothing less than complete victory.”
Very stirring–if only it were true. This Estimate has been complete for five months; surely the President must have seen it by now. Why are we still in Iraq when the possibility for bringing democracy to that nation is revealed by our own intelligence agencies is very small? When the likelihood is that civil war is the eventual outcome? When the “war on terror” has expanded far beyond the region, but new adherents to Islamic jihad are drawing inspiration from the occupation?