quote:Thankfully, the actual NIE is not the harbinger of disaster that the Times and WaPo would have us believe. According to members of the intel community who have seen the document, the NIE is actually fair and balanced (to coin a phrase), noting both successes and failures in the War on Terror--and identifying potential points of failure for the jihadists. The quotes printed below--taken directly from the document and provided to this blogger--provide "the other side" of the estimate, and its more balanced assessment of where we stand in the War on Terror (comments in italics are mine).
In one of its early paragraphs, the estimate notes progress in the struggle against terrorism, stating the U.S.-led efforts have "seriously damaged Al Qaida leadership and disrupted its operations." Didn't see that in the NYT article.
Or how about this statement, which--in part--reflects the impact of increased pressure on the terrorists: "A large body of reporting indicates that people identifying themselves as jihadists is increasing...however, they are largely decentralized, lack a coherent strategy and are becoming more diffuse." Hmm...doesn't sound much like Al Qaida's pre-9-11 game plan.
The report also notes the importance of the War in Iraq as a make or break point for the terrorists: "Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves to have failed, we judge that fewer will carry on the fight." It's called a ripple effect.
More support for the defeating the enemy on his home turf: "Threats to the U.S. are intrinsically linked to U.S. success or failure in Iraq." President Bush and senior administration officials have made this argument many times--and it's been consistently dismissed by the "experts" at the WaPo and Times.
And, some indication that the "growing" jihad may be pursuing the wrong course: "There is evidence that violent tactics are backfiring...their greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution (shar'a law) is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims." Seems to contradict MSM accounts of a jihadist tsunami with ever-increasing support in the global Islamic community..
The estimate also affirms the wisdom of sowing democracy in the Middle East: "Progress toward pluralism and more responsive political systems in the Muslim world will eliminate many of the grievances jihadists exploit." As I recall, this the core of our strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Quite a contrast to the "doom and gloom" scenario painted by the Times and the Post. Not that we'd expect anything different. But the obvious slant of their coverage does raise an interesting question, one that should be posed to their ombudsman or public editor. If sources used by the papers had access to the document, why weren't they asked about the positive elements of the report? Or, if sources provided some of the more favorable comments regarding our war on terror, why weren't those featured in articles published by the Times and the Post?
[ September 26, 2006, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]
Posts: 1434 | Registered: Nov 2002
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I read the full excerpt. The "optimism" was mostly in the subjunctive, as in if things happened, they could or would improve the situation. Since we haven't been successful getting things to happen so far, it's more hopeful than predictive at this point. Thus, I read the excerpt as a negative assessment, not much different than the way the Times and others had presented it. I hope we get to see the rest of the detail that they did. Still, if the things that would help do happen, hooray for us and the world.
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The Iraq conflict has become the ihcause 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.
The second sentence in the above states a reason to 'stay the course' in Iraq. Noting that, I say that it is also a reason for doing whatever it takes in Iraq: a draft so we can put massive boots on the ground; a series of frank and honest apologies from our government to accompany said boots; a removal of blatant corrupion from rebuilding efforts (Halliburton's heavy role in the war stinks like a rank pig).
This isn't going to happen.
So we are being asked to stay the course but not take adequate steps to ensure our success. Fumbling our way to hopeful victory, we are. This kind of reasoning is what made Las Vegas rich: betting on luck and spending good money after bad.
I note here that al-qaeda needn't succed in Iraq to succeed. All that is needed is for civil war to commence/continue (tale your pick and bet on the Iraqi point spread) long enough to wear out support at home for this war. This wearing out of support is happening and will almost certainly grow worse unless a) things grow perceptively and dramatically better in Iraq real soon or b) another massive attack occurs on our soil in such a fashion that it seems emotionally logical for the majority of the American populace to associate it with our embroilment in Iraq so that we are willing to bomb the nation back into the increasingly popular choice of foreign policy wonks -- the Stone Age.
I don't anticipate either happening. 911 was able to happen because of gross incompetence and/or governmental complicity. Something of that scale is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon.
The quasi-civil war ('none dare call it civil') in Iraq has as much motivation to continue as we have to stay the course, and then some, for it is their country, not ours. We broke it, we bought it, but they own it.
There are two sets of hearts and minds needing to be won for us to succeed in this war
1) the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, whose approval of us -- never very strong -- is waning, I hear,
2) the hearts and minds of the American public, whose approval of the war, never very strong -- is waning, I hear.
It's one of those d@mned if you do, d@mned if you don't situations, but also something that we Americans might want to think about in more than 3 second increments. From The American Prospect
“The report notes that ‘victory’ in Iraq would be a blow to the jihadists, and that failure (especially if it led to the establishment of an al-Qaeda sanctuary or if veteran foreign jihadists dispersed out of Iraq to engage in terrorism in other parts of the world) would also be very bad. Thus, the report highlights the essential dilemma Iraq poses for the war on terror: staying fuels the al-Qaeda-inspired movement, creating a net increase in the terrorist threat; while leaving Iraq in chaos would also worsen the threat. The Democrats tend to focus on the first part of the dilemma; the administration focuses on the second part. They are both right (and wrong) -- and the debate would be greatly served by focusing on the dilemma itself.”
Said much better than I can.
Posts: 79 | Registered: Mar 2004
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Knowing a little bit about what terrorism is and isn't, and what makes a terrorist tick I'm reading it like this:
Basically, we've been kicking the crap out of AQ and killed many of them. This has them down and forced even more underground, which means more fragmentation and smaller cells out there doing who know what.
By winning these victories of sorts in the WOT, we are, in a sense, making a more effective terrorist on the micro level. A smaller, fragmented cell with no contact or directives from higher, in other words. But on the macro level, we're beating them down.
So you have more fragmented, less effective on the macro level terrorists, but more secretive (for their own survival) and more dangerous on the mico level terrorist.
Assuming there’s nothing we can or can’t do to completely eradicate the Islamicists, then I’ll take a weak decentralized enemy over a strong central enemy every time… However, the problem with a terrorist is not the actual damage they inflict; it’s that damn terror thing. Fragmented weak terrorists can still cause a whole lot of little trouble that scares the crap out of everyone.
So we're stopping another 9-11 type attack, but perhaps have opened ourselves up to smaller, more frequent attacks. On the non-emotional side, they might kill a few people and cause small amounts of damage, but they will terrorize nevertheless.
IMO, this makes the war in Iraq rather neutral in regard to how more or less safe we are on the whole, and more or less what that report is saying.
Where we go from here we'll just have to see. Do the terrorist groups go so far underground they just fade away? Are our half-assed efforts in Iraq leaving them enough breathing room?
On the half-assed effort note, be careful what you wish for because, IMO, a full out effort right now means taking down Iran and Syria.
Addition: Tequila - AMEN! We're arguing over who started the fire and how to put it out while our house burns down around us.
More of you need to go independent. It makes it much easier to look at these things pragmatically when you don't have a dog in the fight. All I care about anymore is results. All many of the politicians and talking heads seem to care about is establishing the “not my fault” clause. As if it really matters at this point why we went into Iraq. Fix it, then we can debate about the intelligence or lack thereof.
quote: More of you need to go independent. It makes it much easier to look at these things pragmatically when you don't have a dog in the fight.
You're exactly right. That's partially why I changed my voter registration last week and requested that the repubs remove me from their mailing lists. Of course, the other reason is that the repubs no longer seem to represent conservative ideals.
That being said, I think this debate is illustrating a dangerous development. Who knows if the general tone of the report is negative or positive? I, for one, don't care because I again agree with jm, we need to concentrate on fixing Iraq. However, those supporting NYT and WaPo are missing one point. Perhaps the overall tone of the report is negative, but when the positive points of the report are not reported so that we, the readers, can decide for ourselves it only lends credence to the impression that the media is left-leaning.
This reminds me of the poll that was taken some time ago that showed that the news media is largely distrusted by the public (I don't remember the exact break-down of opinion, but do remember that it wasn't good news for the media - pardon the pun). Because I believe that the news media are important in maintaining a healthy representative republic, I think we're all in trouble if a large segment of the public believe they can't trust what is being reported.
Posts: 238 | Registered: Jan 2004
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I side with the no-spin camp regarding the content of the report itslef. As a propagandaist, I'm all for the side that spins the leak/release to portray the war as bad, but that's propaganda. As for what we've seen of the report itself, it says little to data about the actual War in Iraq itself, yet whether or not the report suggests the war is increasing security vis a vis terrorism, or not, depends on whether Iraq is stabilized in a manner that neuters it as a cause celebre.
If Iraq does stabilize in a manner that vindicates our invasion, that's bad for jihadi aspirations via our invasion of Iraq.
If Iraq doesn't stabilize in a manner that vindicates our invasion, !Remember Iraq! will be a household rally cry throughut Islam... and beyond.
Viewed from this perspective, the leak/release can be used equally well as a rally cry for support of the war, since it neatly delineates what is meant when it is claimed that to retreat from Iraq would be disastrous. However, the initial Repub response has been poor. This is partly, I think, because Clinton has publicly hammered them where they're weak. Why are they weak over a mere 8 months' negligence versus 6 years for Clinton?
Answer: Because the right has been hammering the Clinton legacy in this regard for some time as a reason for people not to vote for those terror-enablin' Dems. These attacks actually opened the door for Clinton. Has not the FOX interviewer asked certain damningly biased questions, Clinton wold have been foolish to attack as he did. This is only a reflection of a larger campaign. The effect of this campaign has been to legitimise and repopularize pre-911 finger-pointing, an opportunity that Hillary took excellent (and wisely restrained) advantage of.
Since the propaganda emphasis of the leak has been to tarnish claims that the Iraq war is making us safer from terrorism, this dovetails pretty well with the Clinton attacks on Bush's pre-911 legacy. Clinton provided a neat soundbite when he said that Bush's troop deployment shows that he thinks Afghanistan is only 1/7 as Iraq.
(For the benefit of the likes of meworkingman, I officially note here that this bolsters the likelihood that the leak was politically motivated.)
If claims that the Iraq war improves American security can at least be rendered so moot as to neuter them, then the Iraq war is forced to stand on its own merits as a means of rebuilding a nation that we deliberately broke.
On these merits alone, the Iraq war is much harder to sell to the American people now that several years of history have accumulated, telling a history that is killing more or less as many innocent Iraqis as Saddam did (the precise numbers debate on this has yet to be settled effectively in the broad public eye), with daily life disrupted in a violently unpredictable manner, and with foreign intervention by the likes of Iran and Syria, combined with the Kurd movement, making the prospect of a unified Iraq seem less likely as the weeks drag by.
All in all, I'd say that as a campaign tactic, this leak, complimented by the Clinton attacks, is proving so far very effective. Bush's responses have been sputtered excuses (riddled with apophases, my fave cranianal insertion device).
If the dang Dems can keep from firing all their bullets at once, or from firing bullets they don't have (Kerry's medals/Swift Boat campaign), they stand a good chance of kicking some serious booty.
quote:Has not the FOX interviewer asked certain damningly biased questions, Clinton wold have been foolish to attack as he did. This is only a reflection of a larger campaign.
I don't know if this is a coordinated campaign or not. First off, from accounts by the interviewer, it appears that Clinton never expected to be asked about anything except his environmental initiative. He had been served up nothing but softball questions in each of his other interviews about what a great person he was for taking on the environmental cause. After the interview, we are told that a purple-faced Clinton was b***h-slapping his staff and threatened to fire everyone if he was ever "set up" like that again.
quote: For the benefit of the likes of meworkingman, I officially note here that this bolsters the likelihood that the leak was politically motivated.
Thanks, I so much enjoy being "benefitted." However, I will again assert that if a news outlet can legitimately be seen as allowing itself to be used as a vehicle for one party to beat up on the other, our country is not benefitted.
quote: All in all, I'd say that as a campaign tactic, this leak, complimented by the Clinton attacks, is proving so far very effective.
You could be correct. I guess time will tell.
Posts: 238 | Registered: Jan 2004
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Of course, I really do hope we can fix what we've broken.
However, at this point and with hindsight, I am also seeing it as a benefit, albeit a costly and very painful one, to fix what we've broken.
If it had been smooth sailing, we might just have gotten into the nation breaking and rebuilding business. If we are successful, but at a heavy price, we won't let them try this again (Iran, Syria, etc).
Costly and painful. From my old unit but I didn't know him. He's being buried today.
quote:KNOX Adam Lon Knox, age 21, Sunday, September 17, 2006 in Iraq while proudly serving his country as a Sergeant in the United States Army with The 346th PSYOP Co. Receiving the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" Device, Non Commissioned Officer Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Reserved Components Achievement Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Meritorious Service Medal, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Polish Parachutist Badge, and Combat Action Badge. Graduate of Westland High School 2003. Preceded in death by father Jay E. Knox 2004. Survived by mother, Deborah Knox of Hilliard; brothers, Tony Knox of Hilliard and Tom Knox of Hilliard; grandmother, Betty Knox of Columbus; and many loving relatives and close friends. Friends may call 12 noon-3 and 6-9 p.m. Tuesday at The Hilliard Church of Christ, 4300 Avery Rd., Hilliard, where funeral service will be held Wednesday 11 a.m., with Pastor Danny Vanscoy officiating. Interment Wesley Chapel Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, family requests that you send a care package to a solider in Iraq.
I sure to hell hope there's a good reason for his sacrifice.
Posts: 4738 | Registered: Mar 2003
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"that's a hell of a lot of effort, expense, bad press and wear and tear on the army just for a neutral result, no?"
Yeah, 'but at least we DID something'.
I feel better just thinking that we invaded a nation and killed innocent lives in the process and alienated a whole buncha folks who liked us beforehand, don't you?
Posts: 23297 | Registered: Jan 2005
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Nah, Bubba planned this. It's smart, too. energizes the base. Bubba of all people knows that triangulating is good for presidential elections. Midterms? All about the base. Red meat time. Marching bands and fight songs time
Posts: 19145 | Registered: Jan 2004
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Just get some marching bands out there - TBDBITL!
Ricky, yes it is a hell a lot for a netural result at this point. Looking at how bad things could get, I'd be happy with that as an end point to the Iraqi issue.
Like I said, at the best, we'll have learned to get a little better info before trying this one again and know a bit more about what makes our Muslim friends & foes tick.
However, I'm begining to suspect I'm falling victim to the MSM chicken little routine about Iraq. While on active duty, I had a much better picture and was much more comfortable with how things were going through my conversations with folks who had recently been there or were back on leave.
Like Ken said, I do at least respect Bush and Co for trying something different and sticking to what they said they'd do.
Put the Fabians back in control, at least they pulled the wool over our eyes so slowly we didn't notice it, eh?
quote:But there was another movement coming to birth at about this same time that eventually gave competition to the hard-core Marxists. Some of the more erudite members of the wealthy and intellectual classes of England formed an organization to perpetuate the concept of collectivism but not exactly according to Marx. It was called the Fabian Society. The name is significant, because it was in honor of Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrrucosus, the Roman general who, in the second century B.C., kept Hannibal at bay by wearing down his army with delaying tactics, endless maneuvering, and avoiding confrontation wherever possible. Unlike the Marxists who were in a hurry to come to power through direct confrontation with established governments, the Fabians were willing to take their time, to come to power without direct confrontation, working quietly and patiently from inside the target governments. To emphasize this strategy, and to separate themselves from the Marxists, they adopted the turtle as their symbol. And their official shield portrays an image of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Those two images perfectly summarize their strategy.