Monday, September 25, 2006

More treason from inside our intel agencies..

I wonder if there has ever been another six year period in American history where more Secret, Top Secret and Classified documents and discussions were leaked to the media. It seems about every two months there is yet another Secret project revealed: Gitmo issues, Echelon, NSA Wiretappings, CIA prisons, and just about every Top Secret NIE is leaked to the NY Times. We have a fifth column in Washington and I can not understand why more efforts have not been made to find them out and prosecute them. The Captain at Captain's Quarters has a good breakdown on the latest leak which hit this weekend. I agree with his analysis and have stated the same thing numerous times. The liberals would have stated back in 1944 that "at no time in history have more Nazis been fighting the United States." Of course, that was because we were finally starting to fight back: "The new National Intelligence Estimate will report that the Iraq War has amplified Islamist movements and created a new generation of jihadists, according to the New York Times, which saw an advance copy of the summary and spoke to several sources involved in its creation. (The Washington Post also reports on it here.) Mark Mazetti explains how the various intelligence agencies have concluded that our efforts to topple Saddam have inspired even more radicalism, but strangely absent from this report is how Islamist expansion managed to exponentially grow in the twelve years that we attempted to resolve the Iraq quagmire peacefully: A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks. The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.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. It's a fascinating article, and one CQ readers should read in its entirety. It makes the classic logical fallacy of confusing correlation with causation, and the basic premise can easily be dismissed with a reminder of some basic facts. First and foremost, Islamist radicalism didn't just start expanding in 2003. The most massive expansion of Islamist radicalism came after the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, when the Islamists defeated one of the world's superpowers. Shortly afterwards, the staging of American forces in Saudi Arabia to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait created the most significant impulse for the expansion of organized Islamist radicalism and led directly to the formation of al-Qaeda. It put the US in Wahhabi jihadist crosshairs for the first time. So should we have allowed Saddam to invest Kuwait rather than risk amplifying the Islamist impulse? Some might argue for that in hindsight, but it would have put all of our allies and trading partners at risk in the region, as Saddam would not likely have stopped with his "19th Province". It does mean that we should have gone all the way to Baghdad then and there, removing Saddam and doing what we're doing now twelve years earlier. We could have worked with a less-radicalized Shi'ite majority and an Iraqi population more inclined to trust American resolve -- and we would have left Saudi Arabia years before 2003.Unfortunately, we decided to allow Saddam to survive, and then got caught up in a 12-year war that only occasionally looked like peace. We had to keep tens of thousands of forces staged in Saudi Arabia, the action that prompted al-Qaeda's formation and mission in the first place, for a dozen years while we allowed Saddam to continually defy both the cease-fire agreement and sixteen UN Security Council resolutions. Either we had to acknowledge defeat in that war and retreat from the region after 9/11, or we had to end that twelve-year war in order to prosecute the war on terror in the region where terrorists lived.Did that make Islamists more angry? Yes, I'm sure it did, and it probably did give them a great propaganda tool for recruitment. However, here's the crux of the problem: no matter what we do to fight the Islamists and to establish liberal thinking in opposition to them, they're going to get motivated because of it. Even an abject surrender and a return to isolationism will not work, because their victory over us will be an even greater motivational force for Islamist expansion. We had to conclude the Iraq war in order to fight radical Islamist terrorists. We could not afford to allow Saddam to escape the noose -- which our erstwhile allies on the Security Council tried through the corruption of the Oil-For-Food program -- and to have his miltary on our flank in the region. When the planes flew into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11, that truth finally dawned on Washington DC -- that the long quagmire in Iraq had seriously endangered the US in the region and beyond, and that we had to end the one war as a part of the new war that terrorist had thrust upon us. To put it bluntly, fighting terrorists and upsetting their plans for regional domination will make them mad. Creating opportunities for liberalizing democratic structures to thrive in their back yard will give them enough resentment among Islamists to recruit more terrorists. If we don't already know that much, then we haven't paid much attention. When George Bush warned us that this would be a long war, this is exactly what he meant. The only way to win this war is to give the people in the region better options than Islamic totalitarianism, and a success in Iraq will go a long way towards that goal.

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