TCS Daily

An Intelligent Reading of the National Intelligence Estimate

By James H. Joyner - September 29, 2006 12:00 AM

Reports in the Sunday editions of the New York Times and Washington Post that an April National Intelligence Estimate concluded that the Iraq War has increased the danger to the United States from terrorists created a media feeding frenzy. Critics of the war said "I told you so" while supporters questioned the motives of the leakers and the reporters alike.

Under pressure, the White House declassified and released the "Key Judgments" portion of the NIE Tuesday night. Not surprisingly, the real picture was substantially more complicated and, frankly, not all that different from what informed readers already knew.

The opening paragraph encapsulates the story:

"United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa'ida and disrupted its operations; however, 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, over the last five years, we have simultaneously decimated the most potent terrorist threat to the United States and seen the spread of the overall movement of which it is a subcomponent.

Is the latter mostly because of the war in Iraq? No. But the war has apparently helped mobilize jihadists. That's not surprising. I wrote in July 2004 that, "The U.S. and its allies have killed or captured dozens of key terrorist leaders and hundreds of jihadist footsoldiers. It is unclear, of course, how many the invasion created." If the released portions of the April NIE are any indication, we still do not have any clear idea of the latter number.

Several key findings, though, seem to belie the idea that the war has been all bad from a counter-terrorism perspective:

"Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qa'ida, could erode support for the jihadists."

You may recall that the primary terrorism-related rationale for the Iraq War was that creating a model Arab democracy was the path to changing the culture that makes the recruitment of suicide bombers possible. Whether the ambitious mission to create a stable democracy out of a society with no experience with popular sovereignty, a tiny middle class, sectarian divisions, and other major obstacles can succeed remains to be seen; I've always been a skeptic. Still, the idea that democracies don't fight other democracies is widely touted as "the closest thing we have to an empirical law in the study of international relations."

The most damning finding is followed—in the same sentence, no less—with a rather significant caveat:

"We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere."

That the war is shaping the jihadi movement is virtually axiomatic. Vietnam shaped a generation of American military leaders (see James Kitfield's Prodigal Soldiers, for example) and Iraq is doing so with the present generation. The reason is obvious: Contrary to the views of many war opponents, Iraq is the central battleground in the Long War (granted, a condition created by the war).

"The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight."

The fact that the war is breeding resentment but losing it would inspire more jihadists creates a rather substantial public policy dilemma. If the Iraq War has increased the number of terrorists, does it follow that leaving Iraq in its current state would decrease the number of terrorists? Not according to the NIE.

It is noteworthy, too, that Iraq is just one factor fueling the jihadists.

"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."

Three of the four would exist had we never launched the Iraq War. This should not be a great surprise since, after all, the jihad arguably began with the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis and certainly was underway with the first al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

The NIE goes on to note that the jihadists' dream of "an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari'a-based governance spanning the Muslim world" is "unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims" and that there are powerful signals of a backlash among the moderate Muslim leaders. It is the latter who are "the most powerful weapon in the war on terror."

"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."

This is the balancing act currently underway in Iraq. Political participation there is at extremely high levels, more so than we could have reasonably hoped. There are also plenty of signs that the extremists are unpopular. Yet the forces of instability clearly seem to have the upper hand at the moment, at least from the perspective of those watching events on television.

"The loss of key leaders, particularly Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause the group to fracture into smaller groups. Although like-minded individuals would endeavor to carry on the mission, the loss of these key leaders would exacerbate strains and disagreements. We assess that the resulting splinter groups would, at least for a time, pose a less serious threat to US interests than does al-Qa'ida.

"Should al-Zarqawi continue to evade capture and scale back attacks against Muslims, we assess he could broaden his popular appeal and present a global threat."

For those who missed the news, Zarqawi was killed three months ago in a US air strike. To the extent the NIE is correct, then, the group is seriously weakened and fractionalized.

The bottom line here is very much a mixed bag for both supporters and opponents of the Bush administration's handling of the war on terror. Al Qaeda itself is far weaker than it was on 9/11/01. So far, at least, it appears that the overall jihadi cause is stronger.

The invasion of Iraq simultaneously created a killing zone so that jihadists could be dealt with in a centralized location away from the United States (the so-called "Flypaper Strategy") and became a rallying cry that generated more terrorists. We've killed or captured hundreds upon hundreds of al Qaeda terrorists, including scores of their senior leaders around the world, yet they have thus far, unfortunately, responded in hydra-like fashion.

Michael Scheuer argued in Imperial Hubris that fomenting an American-led invasion of an Arab Muslim country was beyond Osama bin Laden's wildest dreams when he launched the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda was hoping for a second rallying event like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to gin up enthusiasm for the cause and turn latent anti-Western hostility into more troops for the cause. Others made similar arguments and few doubted that as a likely effect. Still, as I argued here in January, al Qaeda is 0-for-6 in achieving its strategic objectives.

While Osama and company managed to attract large numbers of troops to fight the atheist Soviets in Afghanistan, they gained far more out of the fact that the Soviets left Afghanistan in defeat. Similarly, it's quite likely that an American withdrawal from Iraq without accomplishing the barest part of our mission - a reasonably stable, democratic society - would embolden the jihadists. Afghanistan. Lebanon. Somalia. Each of those displays of weakness convinced the jihadists that the infidel was weak and could be defeated. Forcing the Americans to leave Iraq would be a far, far bigger prize.

James H. Joyner, Jr., Ph.D. writes about public policy issues at Outside the Beltway.



From the Mouth of Osama bin Laden:
From an interview on Frontline:

"The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat. And America forgot all the hoopla and media propaganda ... about being the world leader and the leader of the New World Order, and after a few blows they forgot about this title and left, dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat."

From al-Qaeda #2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, referring to Iraq:

"I want to be the first to congratulate you for what God has blessed you with in terms of fighting in the heart of the Islamic world, which was formerly the field for major battles in Islam’s history, and what is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era."

Iraq is viewed by these lunatics as the cetral battle in the War on Terror, and we know their views on running away with our tails between our legs.

When will the media, the Democrats and the worldwide left get it?

Re: From the Mouth of...
When will right-wing, brain-dead US cretins realise: the war in Iraq was a grave mistake and the US & friends now risks losing in both Afghanistan and Iraq as a result, at a cost of TRILLIONS of dollars?

There was no Al Qaida in Iraq before the invasion. Anyone who knew anything about the region knew that. Now, it's the 'university of war' for every disgruntled would-be jihadist - a production line for fundamentalist militants.

And there will be no victory in either country unless properly democratic institutions and stable governments grow up in both. That day is a long way off in both countries.

Face facts: Bush has been a disastrous president who has done nothing except build a humungous budget deficit (a problem that Clinton had only just solved after the last Bush presidency) and get the US involved in one too many difficult/unwinnable wars. Should'a finished the job in Afghanistan before picking on Iraq - however odious Saddam - but he had to have his place in history and finish Daddy's war!

And it's the ordinary Joes - American soldiers and ordinary Iraqis - who suffer as a result of that cretin's incompetence.

The secret of winning wars is in picking the right battles to fight. Bush chose the wrong battle by going to war with Iraq.

grave mistakes
The NIE also suggests that invading Iraq in the first place was a grave mistake. Large parts of Iraq are out of control and in the hands of terrorists (local militias) already. Lesson #1: do not allow Bush/Cheney to decide Iraq policy, they will get it wrong. They are now getting it wrong by "staying the course" (doing nothing) while Iraq slips into civil war.

Another lesson in the NIE is that terrorists are motivated by real grievances principally US support of repressive regimes (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Israel). The Bush line "they hate our freedoms" is BS. They hate what we do in the middle east. We create more terrorists by creating more grievances. We reduce terrorism by restraining Israel and promoting human rights.

Okay, pretend Iraq was a mistake. What do we do now?
If we leave, we give bin Laden a Somalia of a much larger size. He gains credibility, funds, and an unstable Wild West type environment filled with oil money where he can run his assembly line. We look weak, and our enemies take advantage by pushing us around all over the map. The only upside is the fact that we don't lose a few more people immediately. In the long run, of course, we will have to invade Iraq all over again.

Great plan, Rooney.

The phrases that the NYT and WaPo left out...
"[U.S.-led efforts have] seriously damaged Al Qaida leadership and disrupted its operations."

"A large body of reporting indicates that people identifying themselves as jihadists is increasing...however, they are largely decentralized, lack a coherent strategy and are becoming more diffuse."

"Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves to have failed, we judge that fewer will carry on the fight."

"Threats to the U.S. are intrinsically linked to U.S. success or failure in Iraq."

"There is evidence that violent tactics are backfiring...their greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution (shar'a law) is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims."

"Progress toward pluralism and more responsive political systems in the Muslim world will eliminate many of the grievances jihadists exploit."

Hmmmmm... Not exactly consistent with the NYT and WaPo account, is it?

Consider your own words: "We reduce terrorism by restraining Israel and promoting human rights." The NIE seems to think that you are correct in thinking that pluralism and democracy is a partial solution. How do we promote human rights or freedom in Iraq if we leave it to be taken over by the jihadi?

Moreover, how do we get out without looking like spineless cowards? If you see the post I made entitled "From the Mouth of Osama bin Laden," you can see what Osama said about our withdrawl from Somalia. It convinced him we were "paper tigers." Should we do that again? Embolden the jihadis further? The NIE you cite so boldly says that would be a bad idea, and would result in more organization by the terrorists, and attacks on America.

Additionally, it would mean that we had just created another Afganistan in an oil-rich country in a critical region where it would be extremely destabilizing to the whole region. Good plan, this pullout.

No pretension
It was not a mistake - it was cretinism of the most ignorant and monumental kind. Ignorant, because Iraq never had anything to do with the so-called war on terror - YOUR PRESIDENT LIED TO YOU ABOUT THAT.

Now it does.

That means staying until the job is done. That is to say, there's a reasonably stable democratic Iraq. And that could take a long time. The country is basically an artificial creation and now you have two different brands of medievalists at each other's throats, while the Kurds up north will, sooner or later, get horribly squished by either Turkey, Iran or whatever Iraq emerges from the mess.

ie: Your president first lied to the electorate (even more gravely than the Hungarian Prime Minister did to his) and now the American taxpayer is paying trillions of dollars in taxes as a result.

He should not just be impeached and kicked out of office FOR LYING, he should be surcharged for the costs of his 'mistakes'.

Why he wanted to invade Iraq in the first place is altogether more of a mystery. We all know it was nothing to do with the so-called war on terror, so what was it?

So quit criticising Democrats, the 'mass media', the French, the Russians or whoever and start taking a more critical look at President Bush.

A bit more cynicism, questioning and criticism five years ago would have gone a long way to creating a far better security policy and response to 9/11 than the shambolic charade Bush and friends cooked up.


Quick question
Mr L-G, could you answer me a quick question, please? It goes like this:

Clinton was harassed with impeachment for enjoying a quick BJ from an intern - a matter that, while it's not exactly classy, is nothing to do with Congress - and then lying about it. No one died as a result.

Bush lied in order to take his country into a war in which 100,000+ people have already needlessly been killed as a result, one way or another.

Who's the bigger lier and why no impeachment proceedings against him?

I'm confused, I really can't work it out......

oh please
What do you know about fighting a war?

Bush made mistakes?
This mess is Clinton's fault

Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive

Clinton: U.S. Still Needs Troops in Saudi Arabia

Compiled by Staff From Wire Reports
Sunday, January 20, 2002; 6:11 AM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – The United States needs to maintain its controversial troop presence in Saudi Arabia as in other strategic locations to ensure a rapid response to any regional threats, former President Bill Clinton said today.

The Post reported Friday that Saudi rulers are growing more uncomfortable with the U.S. military presence in their country and may soon ask that it end.

The Post report said senior Saudi leaders believe the U.S. has "overstayed its welcome" and that its continuing military presence is a liability for the Saudis in the Arab world. It said the Saudis might request a change after the war in Afghanistan ends.

Clinton referred briefly today to the presence of some 5,000 U.S. troops and thousands of American civilians on Saudi soil.

"There are not so many (U.S. military) people here as to constitute a sort of occupation or anything like that. That's not the purpose of it," Clinton said.


When will left wing brain dead cretins realise that telling lies about Iraq isn't impressing anyone
Hmm, Saddam thought there was Al Quida in Iraq prior to the war. Regardless, Saddam was a major supporter, trainer and supplier of terrorism, not just Al Queda.

Ah yes, another enlightened liberal who doesn't think that the brown man is capable of ruling himself.

You can tell just how brain dead he is by his claim that Clinton had solved the budget deficit. It wasn't solved, and the progress that was made, was made over Clinton's vetoes.

As usual, LG sees what he wants to see, not what is there
The vast majority of the country is under the control of the govt, and is quite peacefull.

more delusions from the idiot wing of the Democratic party.
Clinton was impeached for lying under oath.

There isn't the tiniest shred of evidence that Bush lied about anything.

But you don't care about the truth, do you.

Wow - neocon logic at its best!
(Though, as usual, its best is none too good.)

I was tempted to ask, "Who is this turkey?" - but then I noticed the 'bio' link and found out. The bravely anonymous 'PubliusJr.' (my suspicion is that the 'jr.' may be informative) has no such link, so we'll just have to guess there.

In any event: Mr. Joyner makes marvelous leaps of faith in his (to use the word charitably) 'analysis' that deserve a bit more inspection. To wit:

1. He equates the NIE phrase "seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa'ida" with "decimated the most potent terrorist threat to the United States", perhaps because he never learned what the word 'decimate' means (to kill every tenth adversary or, more colloquially, to kill a *large* proportion of said adversary, neither of which, given that said adversary has *increased* in size during that period, is the case - but I suppose that the phrasing may sound impressive to an uncritical listener).

2. He writes, "Is the latter [spread of the overall movement] mostly because of the war in Iraq? No" but - strangely - offers no evidence whatsoever to support this flat-out assertion, one might suspect because he has none.

3. He attempts to compare the *clear* statement in the NIE that "the global jihadist movement ... is spreading" with his 2004 suggestion that the net change in size due to the capture of "dozens of key terrorist leaders and hundreds of jihadist footsoldiers" vs. "how many the invasion created" was 'unclear'. For starters, anyone who thought back in 2004 that the invasion might have attracted fewer jihadist participants from both inside and outside Iraq than the 'hundreds' he claimed had been captured was living in pure Fantasyland; to bring the focus back to his current drivel, the fact that the NIE does not clearly *enumerate* the degree of jihadist increase hardly changes its conclusion that an increase worth calling attention to is happening.

4. Fantasy also underlies his statement that "Several key findings, though, seem to belie the idea that the war has been all bad from a counter-terrorism perspective" - a declarative statement in the here-and-now which he then attempts to support by quoting purely hypothetical extrapolations in the NIE of what *might* happen *if* certain conditions develop which emphatically do *not* obtain currently. Kind of reminds me of Condi and her 'mushroom cloud', or of Iraqis greeting the American liberators with flowers and dancing in the streets: once one accepts a dubious premise, virtually any conclusion becomes possible.

5. A similar confusion is apparent in the paragraph which follows that non-sequitur, when he first states that he has always doubted the possibility of forming a stable democracy in Iraq but immediately attempts to dilute that criticism of one of Dubya's major (stated) goals with the suggestion that gee, *if we could*, then that would probably be a Good Thing. Well, duh.

6. "Contrary to the views of many war opponents, Iraq is the central battleground in the Long War (granted, a condition created by the war)." Does anyone here know of people to whom this statement might refer who *don't* think that the war made Iraq the current 'central battleground'? I certainly don't: I suspect that Joyner is attempting to twist the common suggestion that *if we left this would no longer be the case* into something far less reasonable - too bad he got caught at it.

7. His question, "does it follow that leaving Iraq in its current state would decrease the number of terrorists?" is another straw man: no one I know of is suggesting that Iraq simply be left in its current state. Even the most aggressive proposals for American withdrawal include initiatives to get neutral parties to step in to help Iraq get back on its feet - parties which have for years been more than willing to do so if we'd just stop exacerbating by our presence (and behavior) an already desperate situation.

8. Of course, that straw man also ignores the likelihood (based on our experience so far) that remaining in Iraq will make the situation worse anyway.

9. He quotes four factors "fueling the jihadists" and craftily notes that "Three of the four would exist had we never launched the Iraq War" - without also noting that those other three were *significantly exacerbated* by the war. I guess he doesn't have a very high opinion of the analytical abilities of his readership (and sometimes I fear that he may be all too correct in this assessment).

10. He then finds solace in the assessment that ultra-conservative jihadism is not popular with the vast majority of Muslims and moderate Muslim leaders. Of course, it *never* was popular with these people, but if anything our behavior has made most Muslims a good deal *more* tolerant of it while such clear provocations continue - and while moderate leaders may justifiably fear the impact of an increasingly robust Muslim radicalism on their own governments, they also recognize that *really* trying to crush it is not in their personal or political best interests as long as it is fueled by major legitimate grievances toward the U.S.

11. "Political participation [in Iraq] is at extremely high levels." Indeed - and guess what most of those politically-active Iraqis want us to do?

12. "There are also plenty of signs that the extremists are unpopular" - just not as unpopular as we are, especially since *we* are perceived as being the problem which fuels the continuing extremism.

13. Here's yet another example of hypothetical extrapolation being both severely distorted and then presented as current reality. The hypothetical extrapolation is the NIE statement that "The loss of key leaders, particularly Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause the group to fracture into smaller groups": *if* these three leaders (or several of presumably near-comparable stature) were lost *in rapid succession*, then this *would* ("probably" - the NIE is a bit more careful not to get carried away by the kind of enthusiasm that Joyner displays) cause a fracturing of the group. But Joyner cheerfully ignores all this and asserts - *not as his own conclusion but as the logical conclusion of the NIE's words* - that the elimination of a *single* leader means that "the group is [no 'probably' here...] seriously weakened and fractionalized": as I said at the outset, neocon logic at its best (no wonder that they've laid solid claim to current ownership of The Big Lie, though of course these are really only Little Liettes compared with many of them).

While he droned on for a while longer, the lack of substance might make responsing in detail seem petty - but I can't resist one comment (the rest isn't worth my time) on his January article which he cited.

It contains the assertion about bin Laden that "Arrogant, even delusional, overconfidence is a part of his job description": does that remind you of anyone else we know?

A confused libby cretin, what a surprise
"I'm confused, I really can't work it out...... "

Your basic premis is so far from reality you CANT reconcile it with available data.

THATS why you are confused.

typical unwarrented assumptions based on false premises.

The fallacy of unwarranted assumption is committed when the conclusion of an argument is based on a premise (implicit or explicit) that is false or unwarranted.

your entire rant fits that discription.

This is BS
What do you expect from NY Times and Washington Post? Lefty news is all and why the media should not be conglomerates.

There was reports when 9/11 hit, that ALQ was already in 60 countries. This is a badly written article and what did it spread to? Looks to me like we consolidated these turkeys to one place to shoot.

And how many 9/11 events and terrorist events in this country has there been since then? There would have been dozens if these frightened democrats were in office no doubt about it.

This is a matter of going on the offense, not defense. And clowns like these cowering to terrorists should never be in office.

Just like Israel, there is no escaping the inevitable. No matter what you do, let's face the facts. There are some people like these terrorists that won't stop trying to kill you even if you give them the country and all the money in it.

Too bad democrats want to give up the USA, it security, and it's growth and prosperity to gain a few years of peace. And the destruction will be a hundred times as bad afterwards.

There was no stopping Hitler, there is no stopping ALQ. And why does TCS even publish this crap instead of the real deal is beyond me.

I guess the Nazi Party was a conservative movement too that everyone supported or got shot and this should be accepted. And what they do to their people in their own countries no matter their race, religon, or views is ok too since it's their country. I can buy that from the democrats.

But we should not buy the spread of the Nazi party or this jihad movement to be forced on other countries or suffer their consequences and what they deem as judgement to them be just and fair.

Not one liberal poster here presents facts, only lies & other DNC talking points
Every single liberal poster here bases his arguments on shaky ground or no grounds at all. If one of you could come up with REAL objections to this war or the way its been fought Id be there right now as I have several complaints of my own in that reguard, but you cant or simply haven't.

Havent you libbies noticed that when you use "bush lied" as an argument, NOBODY respects you? Except your fellow travelers.

Which is why...
they fail to win elections.

With their loss of their stranglehold on the MSM they can no longer rely on their baseless propaganda, falsehoods, and historical revisions to fool voters.

compensation for american students and citizens

From his mouth in 1998,
After "black Hawk Down," and during clinton.

He offered a truce to Bush.

Radicals muslims hate our libertine freedoms
Saudis go to Bahrain to drink and carouse.

Saudi princes may still fly in prostitutes every weekend for parties.

But they do not do this openly as it is against the law.

Religious police in Saudi used to shoot at satellite dishes.

Since the early 90s the religious police need to have civil police escorts because US women sholdiers would hit back.

The radicals hate the freedom and questioning of their religious authorty that western rationality and freedom inspire.

Our support of Israel is used to incite the masses. They don't want to solve the problem as evidenced by Arafat's resonse to Clinton.

And like the wimpy liberals in Europe and in the USA, the 'repressive' regimes in the middle east kowtow to the radical's violence.

Standing up to bullies is the only way to defeat them.

(jokingly sarcastic)
It took you This Long to notice that??

Good summation!

Al Qaeda in Iraq needs a few bad men
"The speaker, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir -- also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also said that more than 4,000 foreign militants have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003. It was the first known statement from the insurgents about their death toll.

The fugitive terrorist chief said experts in the fields of ``chemistry, physics, electronics, media and all other sciences -- especially nuclear scientists and explosives experts" should join his group's jihad, or holy war, against the West.

``We are in dire need of you," said the speaker. ``The field of jihad can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases [in Iraq] are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them.""

Looks like Al Qaeda is having a recruiting problem. Especially for those who have some real technical skills and intelligence.

Could it be they are losing?

and it warms my heart to see, slowly but surely, even the EU is waking up
and millions of liberals in this country are seeing the light too, many are too embarassed to talk about it to their whacko lefty friends so they will just keep quite & vote republican this time.

The Left & Islam have something huge in common, submission to totalitarian control.
In the case of our lefties, its almost 99% lazyness on the part of the American left, too lazy to research their facts, they enjoy them shoved up their oriface by

that depends on the definition of ...
That depends on the definition of lying. If you say its trying to get the nation to believe something you know to be false, the Bushies lie all the time. Those famous nine words "British intellegence has learned ..." are a perfect example. Rather than say "There is solid evidence that ..." (which would have been untrue), he chose to give that impression without explicitly saying so. The same goes for the relation between Saddam and OBL, which was closer to zero than my relation to Paris Hilton.

If these guys put as much creative effort into running the country as they put into political mindgames, they could do great.

Please. This isn't a Yahoo message board.

thats because the Rabs dont know how to sheath the weapon, only unsheath it
"Our support of Israel is used to incite the masses. They don't want to solve the problem as evidenced by Arafat's resonse to Clinton."

the palis are nothing to the other Rabs but a weapon to be held against Isreals throat, the other Rabs are quite willing to let them twist in the wind for their sick purposess.

Look at how the hezbols/ireali war went, the Rabs were ALL hot to go until they realized they'd be hurt badly stuck with the damage, even nesrollah admitted he blew it, not expecting to be hit back so hard.

So in the drive-by media, "the isrealis lost hugely because hezbols still exists" when in COMPLETELY unreported truth the local Rabs are blaming hezbols NOW for the devastation of south Lebenon, not so much Isreal.

Like the cartoon intafada, this last bit of war was a net loss for the Rabs, and a net gain for both Isreal & the broader conflicts momentum.

If you want to fight ANYTHING, chances are resistance will stiffen before giving in completely, be it a political battle, a wasp nest or a primative religion.
we didn't create terrorests by this war, we brought them out of the closet.

You're confused all right
Mr. Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. His perjury was apparently bad enough that the clubby little "we protect our own" bar association felt it necessary to disbar him. Clinton provided the same assessment of Hussein and launched military strikes against Iraq. Of course as we know from the left's selective outrage, those missile strikes were ineffective and portrayed us as pussilanimous and impotent. Putting boots on the ground and actually trying to get something accomplished is hard work. So now Billy wants us to believe he was "obsessed" with Bin Laden.

On the other hand Clinton wasn't paid to involve himself in "inappropriate" relationships with women, young enough to be his daughter. In addition to showing an abject lack of judgment and discipline, it exposed him to blackmail. Whether or not you admit its immoral, it was stupid. Sure you can point to HRC's boviner appearance and canine disposition and call it a mitigating circumstance, but if a guy lies to his wife, he'll have no problem liking to the faceless mass we call the public.

One wonders if that morally deficient cretin Gingrich is giving him a pass because he has a little to much sympathy for Bill's inability to have contained his libido and devote dhimself to the duties of the office he so vigorously sought.

just HAVE to state the obvious at times
Beats going to a pshrink to vent. cheaper too.

Wow that was tedious reading
Think you could keep your tomes shorter? Lengthiness isn't a proxy for prsuasiveness.

Pay attantion: grassroots AQ is BAD for the movement
they are politicaly naieve and are their own worst PR nightmare.
The central AQ planners have political savvy enough to time their attacks to change Spains election to their favor, the grassroots AQ wanna-be's have blown the bloodless takover of the European continant by the other EU bombings, attempted bombings, burnings of EU cities & random assasanations. Between those & the loose cannon zarkawi killing thousands of other MUZI randomly, many civilised MUZI & non-MUZI worldwide have changed their opinion of this war and Islam in general to the negitive.

By beating the hell out of the central organisation, forcing them to use ever younger, ever less experenced leaders, we are forcing them into a self destructive mode in the publics eye.

This is NOT talked about, not in the news & not on the blogs but the results are all their buried in that report if one can see the pattern.

They don't care
To the hard core left, reality is a "construction", objectivity doesn't exist. So all they are left with is the random whims of their viscera, imagination and libido-besides if anything every starts to crack the walls in their intellectual sand castles in the sky, they can run to the NATION or other moonbat echo chambers for comfort.

Al Qaeda in Iraq = Fish in a Barrel
That's what al Qaeda in Iraq is or is fast becoming. It's not just us that they fear, but also the Iraqis. They are running out of places to hide.

Which is not to say that the problems are solved, but the war in Iraq is already won. The only thing that keeps the "insurgency" alive is the failure of Democrats to put national interest ahead of partisanship. Just a few months of bipartisan unity on our strategic objectives in Iraq -- not precluding debate on reasonable means to achieve those objectives -- would drive a stake through the heart of the insurgency, thereby permitting a significant reduction in US force in Iraq.

But we get daily body counts from Baghdad. The media doesn't tell us that the killings aren't civil war, but are indeed retribution for years of Baathist rule, mixed in along with the occasional Sunni response. It's not pleasant, and at some level it's destructive, but suppressing all of it probably isn't possible without a return to totalitarianism. So, we don't call it a sign of increased freedom in Iraq, but that's exactly what it is. Sure, it's a threat -- to Iraqis. If this is what they'll continue to do with their freedom, then their (and our) experiment will fail. But that only happens if we leave. And as long as Iraqis fear that we'll leave prematurely, their government will struggle. We can thank Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, et al. for that. btw, Harry Reid has got to be the biggest horses hindquarters in Washington, and that's saying quite a bit. He recently claimed that George W. Bush has lost all credibility on issues of national security. Reid's idiotic statement has the problem of flying directly in the face of the fact that the US homeland has not been successfully attacked since 9/11. But then, we should have learned by now not to expect honesty or good faith from Reid, even where the national interest is concerned (and no, I'm not questioning his patriotism -- it's a question that he himself has answered by his repeated efforts to aid our enemies by spewing their propaganda).

NIE Tee Hee
Read what Fouad Ajami had to say about this NIE in the WSJ yesterday. He thought it was pretty silly which is strong language for him.

The only thing sillier is the comments by Wayne and others. There should have been a real purge of the CIA and other shops after 9/11 and there wasn't. Now our trolls who hate the US love the CIA, which should be considered a spent force when it makes death-rattles they can use.

"it was cretinism of the most ignorant and monumental kind".

For perspective, I reccomend a trip to the British Imperial War Museum. For foolish, counterproductive and immoral policy, you can't find a better example in modern times than the British Empire, long may she rot.

Rooney's Too Obtuse to Understand that it wasn't just WMD
Rooney should stick to footballing (even on the field he should stick to footballing - getting sent off less would mean his team wouldn't have to play without its one and only player capable of hitting the net on something other than a free kick).

The US post-9/11 strategy represents a paradigm shift that the Dems in this country and their paleo-lefty friends abroad just can't seem to understand.

The existence of WMD in Iraq was never the sole justification for the invasion of Iraq, and it wasn't even the most important one. The justification was always that Iraq was the best opportunity to commence the paradigm shift. The fact that Saddam was a brutal totalitarian was of primary importance important; that he intended to resume his development of WMD was also important (and is well established). Iraq's location was highly important, as well, because the establishment of a pro-Western democracy in Iraq is first the wall to isolate the mullahcracy in Iran, and then the lever to overturn the mullahcracy and liberate the most pro-American population in the middle east outside of Israel -- Iran's. All without firing a shot. Iran, much more than Iraq, is indeed ripe for democratic transformation, ironically, because the mullahs have allowed their people more freedom than Saddam allowed his, and have been less brutal than Saddam (Rooney, just in case you can't figure this out on your own, "less totalitarian" and "less brutal" doesn't mean "good").

The key to winning the war against Islamic extremism is to remove the fuel that keeps it alive as a political movement. And that's what it is -- not a religous movement, but a political one. Islam as religion -- well, the Muslims will have a chance to reclaim it. Hopefully they will. It will be easier for them to do so if totalitarian oppression in Muslim-majority nations doesn't continue to funnel extremism into the mosques by foreclosing all other opportunity for dissent. That's what the Iraq war is about. It will succeed if the handwringers in the West will at least stop helping the enemy. It will succeed faster if the handwringers can bring themselves to support the strategic objectives, and perhaps contribute to success with constructive criticism of the means employed to achieve the objectives. And no, "redeploy to Okinawa" is not helpful. Neither are ridiculous claims that the President took us to war on false pretenses.

What if Saddam was still in power
There has been enough name calling over this article. I knew when I read it that the left would come out in droves.

Let us consider for a moment that Saddam had abided by all the UN Security Council Resolutions and sanctions had been lifted. Saddam had stayed in power. Consider that Saddam's army generals, his scientists and even those UN and American bipartisan inspectors all said and concluded that Saddam still wanted the capability of producing WMDs. He had every intention of re-starting his programs.

The Russian and Chinese are still selling arms and nuclear technology to Iran. Does anyone believe that if we were not in Iraq and Saddam was still in power that the Russians, Chineses and even European nations would not be back in business with Saddam?

And why did the UN not support actions against Iraq after Saddam ignored all the resolutions? Why today does the UN not support actions against Iran? Either of these countries gaining nuclear devices puts the USA and the rest of the non-Islamic world in a extremely serious situation. As it is today, Pakistan has the bomb and a large percentage of its population is radical Muslims that hated the USA long before the First Gulf War.

Finally, why doesn't the left ever bother with history? Why does the left have very selective hearing? Why do people just not go and read what radical Islamists are saying that they want to do and will continue trying to do? Why does the left ignore the analogous rise in fascism during the 1920s and 1930s? Why hasn't the left bothered to study radical Islam and its most recent renewal in the second half of the 20th Century?

Short attention spans are certainly typical of the ignorant
- that's how they get that way.

Unfortunately for that rest of us, that doesn't stop them from weighing in on subjects they're incompetent to discuss - and then ignoring any attempts to educate them because they find them 'tedious'.

Explain Very Slowly so the Lefties Don't Get Lost and Confused
Terrorists, generally speaking, do hate our freedoms. They would want them for themselves, of course, but not for anyone else.

Muslims, generally speaking, do not hate our freedoms. They want them for themselves and, generally speaking, don't object to others enjoying them as well. At least we can presume as much, if we're still willing to go along with the idea of "self-evident truths."

The problem is, many Muslims in the Middle East haven't been allowed the opportunity to enjoy our freedoms, including that of speech. Except, it seems, within mosques. The funnelling of dissent into mosques has distilled from Wahabbism and radical Shiism potently corrosive and intoxicating concentrates, capable of great harm when left undiluted by free and open political debate.

Lefties like to talk about root causes. Presenting restraint of Israel as a means to promote human rights is as incoherent a statement as has been uttered in this discussion, rivaling even Rooney's rants. If every Palestinian were disarmed and prevented from attacking Israel, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would cease immediately. If Israel were disarmed, Israel would promptly be destroyed by its neighbors, including, especially, the Palestinians.

Saying that failure by the West to promote human rights is a cause of terrorism is like saying that the failure to transform poor people into millionaires is the cause of poverty. Well, duh, LG.

The transformation of Iraq into far more open society which is governed as a republic on democratic principles, with respect for minority rights, is an endeavor that, at its most fundamental level, is intended to promote human rights and thereby strike at the root cause of fundamentalist terrorism. But the left cannot recognize it as such. Probably for the same reasons that the left was unable to understand that reducing welfare would reduce poverty.

The left is addicted to nuance in rhetoric but incapable of understanding anything more complex than a linear relationship between two points. If point A is oppression and denial of human rights and point B is protection of human rights, the left will wring its hands and lament point A, demand that we achieve point B, but bitterly complain when we commence the process, first achieving point x, which is the overthrow of the totalitarian sitting on point A. Then the left will actively oppose our efforts to get to point y, which is the defeat of the lawlessness and violence that stand between point x and point B, all while complaining that our failure to promote human rights is the root cause of terrorism. That's essentially your argument, LG, and it's why you just can't be taken seriously.

Oh yeah, thats right
You'll settle for boring people to death with endlessly recycled fabrications, delusions and cliches rather than succintly getting to point, based upon evidence and reason.

Go take a basic composition class, if you can get admittance. Your writing is awful.

Try getting educated before you even think about lecturiung others. I see no evidence that you have the slightest proficiency in anything other than leftist tantrums-which is the antithesis of education.

Any detailed dissection of the article, including both its supportable arguements and those that don't measure up, would be dry, but there are undoubtedly some readers here with patience for such stuff. But you fell short of dry, landing squarely on tedious, by offering your own unsupported assertions and accusations as a cheap substitute for careful criticism. Short attention spans are not the problem.

as usual, LG can only make a point by totally lying about history
The nine words that you refer, have been proven to be true over and over again. Saddam did indeed try to buy yellowcake from Niger, even saint Joe Wilson managed to prove that. Read his report to the CIA, not his editorial.

The relationship between OBL and Saddam is also a proven fact, read the captured documents.

If you would put as much energy into reading the truth as you do trying to prove lies, you wouldn't look like quite as big an ass.

we didn't create terrorests by this war, we brought them out of the closet.
Agree 100%!

What We Know and What we Don't Know
What we know:

-the President's party is in control of Congress, and therefore in control of Congressional oversight of intelligence operations
-there has been no successful attack on the US since 9/11, suggesting some intel successes
-there was a "leak" of some information (the NIE info) under circumstances that tend to enhance the credibility of statements which, if released outright, would be viewed suspiciously as highly self-serving statements, but are taken at face value because they are perceived to be released unwillingly
-public criticism of the leak by the administration has not been followed by an apparent effort to find and prosecute the leaker
-taken at face value, the statement means little to a US audience, but would be significant for a worldwide Muslim audience, seeing, in an ostensibly secret document, that the US policy is to promote democracy and freedom in Muslim majority nations, with nary a mention of taking their oil.

Among the things We Don't Know:

-Who leaked
-What the rest of the report says
=-Whether the effectiveness of CIA would be enhanced in some areas by a perception that it is operating somewhat off of its reservation

Based on what we know and what we don't know, the jury is still out on CIA.

Recent surveys
I read a survey yesterday of Iraqis, on how they feel about AQ.

The most subset of Iraqis that was most supportive of AQ were the Sunnis. A mere 70% of Sunnis despised AQ. In other groups, that despisal ranged upwards of 90%.

AQ has become persona non-grata in Jordan, after their attempts to sway public opinion by blowing up weddings back fired.

LG is Way Behind the Curve
Notwithstanding that a report regarding Saddam's efforts to obtain yellowcake from Niger was discredited as inauthentic, the same intelligence was confirmed from other sources, suggesting nothing more than the inauthenticity of the particular documents. The public misperception, ignoring the independent confirmation of the info, is that the info was false. This has been widely known for a long time now LG. Why are you clinging to the ridiculous idea that someone like Saddam Hussein, with a proven history of attempts to obtain nuclear weapons, would NOT have attempted to obtain fissionable materials?

Oh Come on!!!
Before they were terrorists, they were Shinto Monks and peaceful sheperds!

Or so they leftists think.

You might look at this article for some stuff that seems pretty factual
Do you really think all this is made up??

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — The White House ignored an urgent warning in September 2003 from a top Iraq adviser who said that thousands of additional American troops were desperately needed to quell the insurgency there, according to a new book by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter and author. The book describes a White House riven by dysfunction and division over the war.

The warning is described in “State of Denial,” scheduled for publication on Monday by Simon & Schuster. The book says President Bush’s top advisers were often at odds among themselves, and sometimes were barely on speaking terms, but shared a tendency to dismiss as too pessimistic assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq.

As late as November 2003, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying of the situation in Iraq: “I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet.”

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is described as disengaged from the nuts-and-bolts of occupying and reconstructing Iraq — a task that was initially supposed to be under the direction of the Pentagon — and so hostile toward Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, that President Bush had to tell him to return her phone calls. The American commander for the Middle East, Gen. John P. Abizaid, is reported to have told visitors to his headquarters in Qatar in the fall of 2005 that “Rumsfeld doesn’t have any credibility anymore” to make a public case for the American strategy for victory in Iraq.


Mr. Woodward’s first two books about the Bush administration, “Bush at War” and “Plan of Attack,” portrayed a president firmly in command and a loyal, well-run team responding to a surprise attack and the retaliation that followed. As its title indicates, “State of Denial” follows a very different storyline, of an administration that seemed to have only a foggy notion that early military success in Iraq had given way to resentment of the occupiers.

The 537-page book describes tensions among senior officials from the very beginning of the administration. Mr. Woodward writes that in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet believed that Mr. Rumsfeld was impeding the effort to develop a coherent strategy to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Mr. Rumsfeld questioned the electronic signals from terrorism suspects that the National Security Agency had been intercepting, wondering whether they might be part of an elaborate deception plan by Al Qaeda.

On July 10, 2001, the book says, Mr. Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, met with Ms. Rice at the White House to impress upon her the seriousness of the intelligence the agency was collecting about an impending attack. But both men came away from the meeting feeling that Ms. Rice had not taken the warnings seriously.


The book describes an exchange in early 2003 between Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, the retired officer Mr. Bush appointed to administer postwar Iraq, and President Bush and others in the White House situation room. It describes senior war planners as having been thoroughly uninterested in the details of the postwar mission.

After General Garner finished his PowerPoint presentation — which included his plan to use up to 300,000 troops of the Iraqi Army to help secure postwar Iraq, the book says — there were no questions from anyone in the situation room, and the president gave him a rousing sendoff.

But it was General Garner who was soon removed, in favor of Mr. Bremer, whose actions in dismantling the Iraqi army and removing Baathists from office were eventually disparaged within the government.

The book suggests that senior intelligence officials were caught off guard in the opening days of the war when Iraqi civilian fighters engaged in suicide attacks against armored American forces, the first hint of the deadly insurgent attacks to come.

In a meeting with Mr. Tenet of the Central Intelligence Agency, several Pentagon officials talked about the attacks, the book says. It says that Mr. Tenet acknowledged that he did not know what to make of them.


The fruitless search for unconventional weapons caused tension between Vice President Cheney’s office, the C.I.A. and officials in Iraq. Mr. Woodward wrote that Mr. Kay, the chief weapons inspector in Iraq, e-mailed top C.I.A. officials directly in the summer of 2003 with his most important early findings.

At one point, when Mr. Kay warned that it was possible the Iraqis might have had the capability to make such weapons but did not actually produce them, waiting instead until they were needed, the book says he was told by John McLaughlin, the C.I.A.’s deputy director: “Don’t tell anyone this. This could be upsetting. Be very careful. We can’t let this out until we’re sure.”

Mr. Cheney was involved in the details of the hunt for illicit weapons, the book says. One night, Mr. Woodward wrote, Mr. Kay was awakened at 3 a.m. by an aide who told him Mr. Cheney’s office was on the phone. It says Mr. Kay was told that Mr. Cheney wanted to make sure he had read a highly classified communications intercept picked up from Syria indicating a possible location for chemical weapons.

So saith the bard...
"Brevity is the soul of wit". Your prlixity proved too tedious for me, as well.

I just tune out
The liberals I know love to say things like "as everyone knows" or as you said above, "anyone who knew anything about...". You know I just tune out when ever I see or hear one of these statements because I know utter nonesense is just about to follow it.

So, maybe Al Qaida wasn't openly active in Iraq under Saddam but that was only because he would kill anyone who openly sided with Al Qaida. It does NOT mean that there weren't plenty of Islamofascists in Iraq just waiting for the opportunity.

Things will get worse before they get better but if we cut and run now we will have the blood of hundreds of thousands on our hands - and it will be our faults for sure, no denying that no how!

Because he already had plenty?
Iraq had all the yellowcake it needed, already, left over. It also had working reactors. The thing that made the report suspect on its face was the fact that a) it didn't need more to continue any operations, and b) getting 500 tons of the stuff to Iraq from Niger would require a big truck convoy across international borders that would be almost impossible to conceal.

Another One Behind the Curve
Iraq had uranium and working reactors that . . . were under the supervision of the IAEA. In order to obtain materials that would be available for weapons development, unless one assumes that the IAEA was corrupt enough to turn a blind eye, it would have had to obtain other materials surreptitiously. Which is what it was trying to obtain from Niger (it's not as if Niger would be providing anything else to Iraq). I realize that this might conflict with strongly held opinions that "Bush lied etc.", but it's not really that hard to understand.

Impossible to conceal -- if one ignores the fact that Saddam's manipulation of the oil-for-food program indicates corruption of the sanctions enforcement/containment regime that would easily have allowed the shipment to occur. Even if detected by American satellites or aircraft, it still could have been hidden from the IAEA, which was operating under debilitating restrictions.

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