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 National Intelligence Estimate represents the consensus view of 16 different United States intelligence organizations on a particular intelligence issue/are, and it is generally compiled only every 5 years or so.
The Washington Post has linked to the Declassified Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States dated April 2006, which is a somewhat startling document. Some excerpts:
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. ...
We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.
• Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement:
(1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness;
(2) the Iraq jihad;
(3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and
(4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims all of which jihadists exploit.
The Washington Post also noted that:
The overall estimate is bleak, with minor notes of optimism. It depicts a movement that is likely to grow more quickly than the West's ability to counter it over the next five years, as the Iraq war continues to breed "deep resentment" throughout the Muslim world, shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and cultivating new supporters for their ideology.
In describing Iraq as "the 'cause celebre' for jihadists," the document judges that real and perceived insurgent successes there will "inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere," while losses would have the opposite effect.
"[T]he underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this estimate," the report notes. An intelligence official who was not authorized to speak on the record said the time frame is until early 2011.
The intelligence community has had its own problems with the attention the document is now receiving. Several active and retired intelligence officials stressed that the judgments were nothing new and followed a series of similar assessments made since early 2003 about the impact of the Iraq war on global terrorism.
"This is very much mainstream stuff," said Paul R. Pillar, the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005. "There are no surprises."
Several active and retired intelligence officials, who were not authorized to speak on behalf of the intelligence community, expressed resentment at the administration's decision to have Negroponte issue the first official reaction to the weekend reports. They said he should not have become involved in what quickly became a political battle.
Complete consensus from the US intelligence communities. Yet even just this week, President Bush said once again that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was the right thing and the critical front in the war on terror. It appears that only in the 'bush-reality' of this Bush Administration is the truth about Iraq not crystal clear.
It is also clear that the devastating that the horrendous miscalculations of the Bush Administration are making the world, and the United States much more dangerous.