Sunday, September 24, 2006

Serious about terror

Gee, now here's a surprise:
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.

You know, I'm not someone who likes to say "I told you so," but goddammit, I did. Repeatedly. And I was hardly alone. The same was being said at the highest levels of the "war on terror": Richard Clarke, after all, was warning the administration of this outcome before the invasion, and he was ignored. Like the rest of us.

As I noted later:

It is not only Richard Clarke, of course, who believes the nation has gotten seriously off track in the war on terrorism thanks to the Iraq Misadventure. That view, in fact, is held by nearly every serious authority on combating terrorism. Because they know what terrorism is really about.

But somehow, today, even among the so-called "liberal hawks" who are now blaming their misjudgment on the Bush administration's incompetence and their failure to foresee that. And certainly, Bush misfeasance is no small factor here.

But the fact remains that this outcome was not only foreseeable but explicitly foreseen, and those of us who were making this argument were dismissed before the war, and continue to be dismissed, as insufficiently "serious" about dealing with terrorism. That characterization has been part of a steady drumbeat painting liberals as "soft" on the issue, and we're still hearing it to this day.

Well, as I said at the time:
Just in case the prowar right wasn't paying attention the first time around, let's reiterate: The mass of opposition to the war had nothing to do with whether we would win. Opposition was always about what kind of nation we are -- and what we will become -- as we combat terrorism.

... The real danger the Bush Doctrine represents -- of inspiring a fresh round, perhaps even generations, of even more lethal terrorism -- has hardly subsided with the fall of Baghdad.

The gloating of the jingoes may drown out those fears for a day or two. But they will return.

Indeed they have.

Now who, exactly, is "serious" about terrorism, and has been all along?

And when, exactly, will these great Beltway minds actually listen to what we have to say?

Digby and Glenn Greenwald have more.

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