Read it here.
The war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists around the world whose numbers may be increasing faster than the United States and its allies can reduce the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded.
A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate completed in April cites the "centrality" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the insurgency that has followed, as the leading inspiration for new Islamic extremist networks and cells that are united by little more than an anti-Western agenda. It concludes that, rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position, according to officials familiar with the classified document.
To which Tom Barnett, who actually knows quite a lot about interagency wars replies:
This analysis is typical intell stuff: obvious, useless, and playing into a do-nothing mind-set that here says, "Do nothing to piss off the terrorists!"
Duh! When we engage the security situation--any security situation--in the Middle East, we piss off (and create more) terrorists. We do it when we're pro-active, like in Iraq. We do it when we're passive, like our military support to Israel. And we do it when we're behind the scenes, like our intell co-op with regimes throughout the region.
So it's never been a question of whether or not we piss off terrorists (who live to be pissed off, and when there's not enough going on, they'll get jacked over a film (e.g., Van Gogh), a book (Rushdie), a speech (Benedict)--whatever).
We can either engage the region militarily to deal with its security deficits that hold off economic connectivity and keep this overwhelmingly young population from engaging the future (globalization) or we can sit back, try to firewall America (something the spooks are always up for) and wait for the next explosion--or 9/11.
Always count on the intell community to advocate a strategy of limited regret, limited action, and limited results. It's what they know and believe in--ass-covering as a way of life.
You want to look and feel like scared Europe in this Long War? Then listen intently to everything the intell community peddles--and just assume we're all on our way out.
And act accordingly.
Read the whole thing here.
Far too many people in the permanent government owe their primary loyalty not to the country or its political leadership, but to their agencies and their careers. Interagency sniping such as is represented by the intelligence assessment is an important impediment to effective prosecution of the war against terror. In normal times such silliness can be tolerated. But these are not normal times, and I thoroughly applaud President Bush's attempts to bring the intelligence professionals to heel.