In a joint televised news conference, Afghan President, Hamid Karzai and US President, George Bush discuss theirs views on the issue of terrorism five years later. Bush’s response reveals anger over the leaking of the report, while Karzai’s reveals amazement that this issue still needs to be addressed at all. Read the the transcript of the conference here.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai echoed the president’s sentiment:
“They came to America on September 11th, but they were attacking you before September 11th in other parts of the world. We are a witness in Afghanistan to what they are and how they can hurt. You are a witness in New York. Do you forget people jumping off the 80th floor or 70th floor when the planes hit them? Can you imagine what it will be for a man or a woman to jump off that high?”
The “leaked” NIE classified document is basically a rehash of what’s already known, but what’s of importance to me, is how the NYT and W.Post reported the leaked information. There is some very serious “cherry picking” of the report, that witheld crucial context to the story as a whole.
Blogger Michelle Malkin points out:
Some of what you didn’t read in the NYTimes:
We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.
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
In other words, cutting and running would only increase the jihadists’ perception that the fight could be won. Powerline blog has a pretty good analysis of the NIE report here. I am not an analyst, but clearly one can see a twisting of the report for political advantages, in much the same way Kofi Annan dubbed the the Iraq war as being illegal just before the 2004 US presidential elections, as well as an IAEA report released during the same time period, that spoke of dynamite being spirited out from under the noses of US led Coalition forces. It was all done to cause embarrassment to Bush.
Here is what Powerline’s John Hinderaker says about it:
“The NIE is very much a mixed bag, with a lot of on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand. But, given the assessments noted above, which are not only positive but also reinforce the importance of the goals the Bush administration is pursuing–victory in Iraq and reform, eventually, in the Arab world–the AP’s characterization of the report as “bleak” is ridiculous, and its claim that “[v]irtually all assessments of the current situation were bad news” is simply false.
Beyond the misreporting of the NIE, what strikes me most about it is what a useless document it is. It is couched in such generalities that I don’t see what use the President, or anyone else, could make of it for policy-making purposes. I would hope that if we saw the whole report, there would be substance that is not reflected in the “key judgments.” If not, if I were President, I would send it back to the agencies it came from with a request to tell me something I didn’t already know.”
That the Finnish media just “parrots” the NYT/W.Post version is to be expected, predictably uninspiring, and out of context, but expected nonetheless. In the Helsinginsanomat (25.9.06), Pekka Mykkänen wrote a piece on the NIE story written by Karen DeYoung.
The NYT, (whose main pages would remain empty if not for illegal leaks) in their lead story “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight”, points out that the decentralization of terrorism, a rise in the successful recruitment of jihadists, the use of the Iraq war as a tool for recruitment as well as it’s continual destabilization.
And all this rests of course on the assumption that if the US wasn’t in Iraq, the jihadists wouldn’t be reacting in the very same way in regards to NATO’s presence in Afghanistan, or in response to any other example of US involvement in the war on Islamist extremism.
It would be great to see any evidence “whatsoever” of the jihadists’ traditional anti-west agenda and recruitment strategy being changed due to the Iraq war. Though it would be a sore topic for US spy agencies to handle, I wonder whether the highly classified NIE report discusses in length the inability of Iraq to no longer maintain its WMD weapons programs (as described in the Duelfer report) as being a positive factor to US security.
Understanding that the Jihadi/Al-Qaida movements will interpret/use any western involvement in the ME as a rallying cry for recruitment, is crucial. Overlooking it or even denying that their movement is based on utopian dreams is dangerous as it is foolhardy. While the US has indeed made mistakes in its war efforts against Islamist Extremism, the situation would be even worse if Saddam had been allowed to flaunt the UN as Iran is doing right now.
Hugh Hewitt has more here.