Here is the NY Times story on the new National Intelligence Estimate on the state of terrorism in the world. This is the first NIE on world wide terrorism since Iraq was invaded.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — 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.This would have been the case whether the war was fought effectively, or as it has been, totally stupidly and with too few soldiers and Marines. The invasion of Iraq was certian to inflame Muslims around the world in large part because it was so flagrently unprovoked, unnecessary and for the benefit of the attackers.
The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee.
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, ... represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.
An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.
The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.
There is no possibility of success in Iraq, if there ever was. What is left is to end it in a way that causes the least possible further damage. There are two ways to do that. The U.S. can either ramp up the effort, send in a significantly larger force and conduct an effective counterinsurgency operation, or the U.S. can open discussions with Iran, Syria and Turkey to get Iran and Syria to prevent fighters from being supported through their nations and to get all three to work with the Iraqis to reduce the civil war that is already occurring there.
Either way, the Iraqi govenment must be strengthened and given the monopoly of force within Iraq. That means Muqtada al Sadr's troops must be disarmed and brought under control. Either of those options have some chance to save what can be saved in Iraq with a minimum of further damage to that country, and permit the U.S. to withdraw.
So what is the Bush administration doing? They are continuing as before. There are no more troops to send, and they aren't going to try. So that's out. But they still refuse to "reward" Iran and Syria by talking to them. So the Bush administration is going to muddle along with no significant change for the next two years until a new President comes in and faces even greater problems because of the Bush administration's paralysis and inaction.
Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were utterly incompetent when they attacked Iraq and created this mess which will require people with high levels of comptence to end and recover from. Unfortunately, the trio which was incompetent starting the war is worse than incompetent at ending it. They are paralyzed and waiting for a savior from somewhere.