Monday, September 25, 2006

How the Iraq invasion hurt the war on terrorism

Ever since I began this blog about 18 months ago, I have argued that the invasion of Iraq has damaged the Bush Administration's war on terrorism. The Sept. 24 issue of the New York Times contains an exclusive article that confirms my argument. It cites a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which reports that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has created a new generation of Islamist extremists and that the terrorist threat has grown since 9/11.

The report contradicts the Bush Administration's consistent optimism that we are winning the war against the jihadis and that the U.S. is now more secure. There is a simplistic quality to the Administration's claim; its supporters note that the nation has not suffered any new Islamist attacks during the past five years, as if that alone proves that the war against terrorism has been a success.

The Administration claims that the leadership and infrastructure of the Al-Qaeda organization responsible for 9/11 has been virtually destroyed and is in retreat. The argument disregards the fact that, as the Times report puts it, Islamist radicalism "has metastasized and spread across the globe." New jihadi cells, not necessarily linked organizationally to Al-Qaeda but possessing he same objectives, have proliferated.

Just as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan more than a decade ago emboldened aspiring jihadis to fight the Russians, so has the U.S. invasion of Iraq inspired countless Muslim radicals, many of them living in European countries, to become fighters in a "holy war" against Western democracies. Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the major training ground for Islamist terrorists.

I expect that the pro-Bush media-baiters who regard the New York Times as biased against the Administration, will be denouncing the paper for spreading defeatist propaganda. But the new NIE officially confirms what so many military intelligence professionals have charged for years: The Iraq invasion was not justified and it distracted U.S. forces from the vital war in Afghanistan, where the Taliban--Al Qaeda's host before 9/11--is making a ferocious comeback after being defeated four years ago.

The new NIE report also confirms the long-standing warning by many intelligence professionals that the Iraq invasion would provoke widespread support in the Muslim world for the Islamist's holy war against the West. Recent episodes of Islamist terrorism in Great Britain, Spain, India and other democratic nations show how valid that warning was.

The Bush Administration's pathetic effort to "win the hearts and minds" in the Muslim world has failed miserably. The radicalization of Islam is expanding, the influence of moderate Muslims is weakening, and the threat of terrorism has worsened--all because of the decision to invade Iraq.


Blogger Ron Southern said...

And still Bush struts around like the most successful man on earth!

Monday, September 25, 2006 7:18:00 PM  
Blogger saz said...

What drives me nuts about the idea that we should be grateful to this administration for preventing further attacks in this country is that it may simply be no other attacks here were planned. It seems to me we've done a good job of destroying our Constitution all by ourselves.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 2:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

What kills me is that it's taking so long for people to wise up. I sure hope it's not too late.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 6:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Peggy said...

Who is going to protect the rest of the world from the US while we go around "protecting the world for democracy"?

Thursday, September 28, 2006 2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your dislike of Mr. Bush and your love of Israel are at great odds.President Bush is the best friend ---maybe the only friend that Israel has.The Democratic party has a large element of hard core leftists--very much against the Jewish state.Be careful what you wish for.

Thursday, September 28, 2006 7:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mortart said...

I am well aware of the hard-core leftists among the Israel-bashers. But I am confident that the Democratic leadership supports the Israeli cause just as vigorously as President Bush does.Moreover, there are many in the President's camp(e.g.,George H.W. Bush,James Baker, Brent Scowcroft) who are no friends of Israel. And,of course, there are those traditional right-wing anti-Semites who support Bush but who bash Israel just as vigorously as Israel's left-wing foes.

Thursday, September 28, 2006 9:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure.Look what the left did to the great supporter of the state of Isreael--your x Senator form Conn.

Friday, September 29, 2006 4:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Joared said...

Thanks for saying all along what so many of us also believe. It's helpful to see it all summarized so succintly. I hope we'll continue to hear your views, analysis of the issues of our time.

With regard to Afghanistan there's an interesting piece reviewing a book on the topic of that country and the Middle East, at Full Fathom Five blog by Mary Lee Fowler at: which might be of interest. I also provided a comment there after recently hearing a former Afghan speak re his former country.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 2:15:00 AM  
Blogger Norma said...

I suspect the Germans and Japanese were much angrier with us after we entered the war to stop them, than before, which is all the NIE report shows. The leaker, however, is a traitor in war time, regardless of what's in the report.

Sunday, October 01, 2006 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretend that Gore was declared the winner in 2000 instead of Bush. Do you think 9/11 would have occurred? If so, speculate what Gore would have done after 9/11 and where we would be today? Do you think there would be no terrorist threat today? Also keep in mind that in two short years someone will replace Bush as our President. Assuming things do not get better before then, what would you have her/him (the new President)do specifically? The sad fact is that the United States is in grave danger today and will be in grave danger in 2008 and we need to deal with that danger. How do you want to deal with it beyond George W. Bush and 2008?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 4:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mortart said...

The 9/11 attack might have occurred whether Gore was President or not. But he would have taken intelligence warnings about Al-Qaeda far more seriously than did our current amateur in the White House. The important thing is how more meaningfully he would have reacted than Bush did. As a much smarter man than our current President, I am confident Gore would have concentrated on the 9/11 perpetrators in Afghanistan, and would not have wasted resources invading Iraq, thus weakening the fight against terrorists who were a far more immediate and serious threat to our national security than Saddam.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I don't see that you've said anything beyond Bush? Can't we advance the debate beyond Bush? What do you think our next President should do? It's only a bit more than two years away

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger Mortart said...

How can anyone know what will be happening in Iraq or elsewhere two years from now? I can only hope that U.S. troops will have been deployed out of Iraq by the time a new President is inaugurated.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 7:20:00 PM  

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