Sunday, September 24, 2006

NIE Seals The Deal

This morning's New York Times has an article by reporter Mark Mazzetti titled, "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat." The article contains comments from people who are close to a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) completed in April. An NIE summarizies the opinions about a subject from 16 different US governmental agencies responsible for intelligence.

Here are some direct quotes from the article.
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

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.

Several politicians were asked about the report on this morning's news shows. Since the story just appeared this morning, there hasn't been time for Karl to communicate the proper spin. Instead of curve ball answers or slider answers, we got knuckle balls (all puns intended).

Among the best knuckle ballers was Senator Bill Frist on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

He said the American people just want to be safe. He listed attacks on the US - the WTC attack in '93, Khobar Towers, the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the Cole and the WTC attack on 9/11. He then said "...we haven't been attacked in the last five years." The implication is that Democrats failed to protect you. Only we, the Republicans, can protect you.

The answers that come out of the Bush Administration and Republicans are so misleading and distorted, it is difficult to know where to start when trying to refute them.

Since 9/11 American interests have been targeted directly at least five times, including attacks in Karachi, four in Saudi Arabia and the attacks in Amman, Jordan. I guess the arguement is that these did not occur in the US although Senator Frist's list only includes two attacks in the US, the two attacks on the World Trade Center.

What about the attacks in Madrid and London? They also don't count because they weren't in the United States? Attacks on our allies don't count? We lecture the world that this is a global war on terror and then forget we are not the only country that has been attacked. And I'll bet Senator Frist wonders why some of the world thinks the US is arrogant.

Senator Frist wants to change the subject rather than talk about the latest NIE. He would rather talk about how Republicans and this administration are tough on terror and the Democrats are weak on terror. What were the Republicans and President Bush doing to fight the war on terror before 9/11? In the months before 9/11, why didn't they get Osama bin Laden? Why didn't they avenge the Cole? For an administration that claims the RIGHT to start preemptive wars to fight terrorism, they did NOTHING to fight terrorism before 9/11.

Senator Frist also threw in the overused and utterly untrue, we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. I guess that makes sense if you don't view the attacks in London, Madrid and elsewhere as real terrorist attacks. What he is saying is that while the intelligence agencies believe the war in Iraq has hurt the war on terror, it doesn't matter since we haven't been attacked in the US.

Senator Frist reiterated that this is a global war on terror being fought in many places besides Iraq and then goes on to just assume that therefore the threat is increasing. His implication is - - of course the threat is growing; this is a war. Duh. Isn't it just as reasonable to assume if you had done a better job of fighting the war on terror the threat would be decreasing? It is a war you've been fighting for five years. You've gotten everything you've asked for and you haven't won it. What your intelligence agencies are telling you now is that your actions in Iraq have actually made the war on terrorism worse! The threat should be decreasing, not increasing! You guys are incompetent!

Senator Frist was stammering this morning because the intelligence agencies have completed the case for throwing the Republicans out. With five years of unlimited resources the Bush Administration and the Republican leadership have not only not won the war on terrorism, they've made the threat of terror worse! Even those who claim the Democrats have no plan to fight terrorism (untrue) have a simple choice in November. Retain Republicans who have obviously failed miserably in Iraq, proven to be incompetent and whose actions their own intelligence agencies have said has increased the threat of terrorism, or give the Democrats a chance.

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