The leak of information from the highly classified National Intelligence Estimate, or NIE, to the New York Treason last week set off a rather large firecracker in official Washington with the selective publication of an excerpt from the report which suggests that the threat from terrorism is getting worse because of Iraq.
In his news conference with Afghan President Karzai (see below) President Bush, pointed out that the problem of Islamic terrorism was growing long before we went into Iraq, long before we went into Afghanistan and long before September 11th.
But the decision to invade Iraq remains controversial as Democrats, many of whom supported the war early on are now, for purely partisan political purposes, trying once again to revisit the decision to invade by using only selective excerpts from the report.
So, President Bush requested that the "Key Judgments" section of the report, a sort of executive summary, be declassified so they may be examined in their entirety.
Here's something the NY Treason's leak didn't cover in the NIE, which was released Tuesday afternoon:
"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."
Got that? Win in Iraq and fewer jihadis will be inspired to carry on the fight! Didn't read that in the paper did you?
If you read the "Key judgments," it's only four short pages, you'll also notice Iraq is just one part of the terrorist problem. The report also describes the success we have had in dismantling the structure of Al Queda and it's effectiveness at coordination, communication and funding for mass attacks.
The report was written before the monster Zarqawi was killed, and it suggested that if he and other senior Al Queda leaders were killed, it 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."
Got that? Killing Zarqawi reduced the threat!
What's left are smaller groups of "self-radicalized cells" such as we've seen in Britain, Canada and elsewhere. But many of these cells lack the sophistication, funding and training to accomplish their goals undetected.
The report also goes on at some length to describe how a strategy that embraces democraticization and encourages more moderate Muslim voices represents the best opportunity to lessen the threat of terrorism:
"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."
Essentially, the "Key Judgments" of the National Intelligence Estimate confirms that the Bush strategy of capturing or killing terrorists while fostering democratic reform in Muslim countries is the correct path to follow. No wonder Democrats would prefer you only read the small portion of the report they agreed with.