Thursday, August 23, 2007

Terrorism NIE is counter-intuitive

Every year the US intelligence community releases a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on several nations, including Iran, Iraq and North Korea. The 2007 NIE on Terrorism reports several items which are counter-intuitive for the Bush Administration. One of those findings is that Iraq has strengthened al-Qaeda, which will seek to "leverage the contacts and capabilities" gained in the war.

"We assess that al-Qaeda will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the homeland."

Further, al-Qaeda's association with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) helps to "energize the broader Sunni extremist community" and "recruit and indoctrinate operatives". This isn't the first time a negative NIE has been released, however. In 2003 the NIE on Iraq reported there were no weapons of mass destruction, and the Bush Administration failed to trust the report. And in fact, George Tenet, Director of the CIA at the time, was urged to mend the document to be compatible with the Administration's goals of invading Iraq. This has all surfaced in recent months. The Bush Doctrine which was published in a text called the "National Security Strategy of the United States" held that unilateral action was both possible and justified and that the United States should embrace opportunities for democracy and security offered by its position as the sole world superpower. The policy rejects deterrence and containment as legitimate policy tools and principles of US foreign policy because, it is argued, terrorists cannot be deterred in the same was states can. As the document says, the "United States has, and intends to keep, military strength beyond challenge."

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