That the NIE was classified in the first place is the real scandal, not that it was leaked. Surely the evaluation of so many US government agencies would be of interest to politicians in that country when making decisions? How can the regime be considered nominally democratic is such key information is withheld from the legislative branch, not to mention the general public? If terrorism is the greatest threat to our survival, surely we should know how our masters are affecting our chances? The whole report should be declassified, not what the Bush Junta thinks is in our interest or what has already been leaked.
Unsurprisingly, the NIE argues that the Bush/Blair invasion and occupation of Iraq is the main generator of terrorism today. Not only is that simply stating the obvious, it is exactly what the anti-war movement predicted before the war. Unsurprisingly, it concludes that the US-led attack on and occupation of a Muslim country has resulted in anger throughout the Muslim world. Equally unsurprisingly, the world now views America with unfavourable eyes.
Defenders of the Junta note that the while the NIE shows that Iraq has produced more terrorism, not less, it also does not urge an immediate withdrawal. In fact, it suggests that defeating the terrorists in Iraq may discourage it worldwide. However, a close reading that while defeating the Jihadists would be good, the Bush Junta's tactics are not doing this. Even the Pentagon's polling has revealed that between 2003 and this summer, the number of Iraqi Sunni Arabs who support attacks on US forces has gone up from 14% to 70%. Moreover, the Jihadists are not the main part of the insurgency, as the killing of Zarqawi surely shows.
The insurgency is, in the main, Iraqis fighting against a brutal occupying imperialist force. Remove the occupation and terrorism would end. And most Iraqis do want the US to leave, according to two recent polls ("Most Iraqis Favor Immediate U.S. Pullout, Polls Show", Washington Post, September 27). Not that they hold much hope of this, as a large majority in one poll are convinced that even if the Iraqi government asked America to leave, it would not. Iraqis are convinced that Bush intends to have a permanent presence in their country and the US policy of building what are obviously permanent bases would suggest they are right.
To defend his atrocious record, Bush repeats the mantra that the US was not in Iraq in when the US embassies in Africa and the USS Cole were hit by al-Qaeda in the 1990s or in 2001 when al-Qaeda hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This ignores the fact that al-Qaeda had other grievances then, such as the US military presence in Saudi Arabia and the Israeli occupation of the Muslim holy city of Jerusalem and its mistreatment of Palestinians. US intervention in the Middle East has existed for decades, with the US imposing and propping up dictatorships governments to further its interests. Moreover, it would be churlish to note that the US presence in Saudi Arabia was to fly surveillance and bombing raids on Iraq and that it had convinced the UN to impose sanctions on that country which led to the estimated death of 500,000 Iraqi children.
But this is irrelevant to the issue, namely that Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq has generated more terrorism. The numbers of possible recruits has increased massively as more and more Muslims become inflamed by what the US has done and is doing in Iraq. Changing the argument does not win it. The facts are that Bush's imperialist war has killed tens of thousands and created more terrorists. As predicted by the anti-war movement.