The Moose comments on the selective leak of the National Intelligence Estimate.
We do not know the complete context of the NIE leak information. But, needless to say, terrorism remains a clear and present danger. The Jihadists have made Iraq a major front in the war. And, at the moment, we are not prevailing on the Iraq front.
The Iraq war did not create the problem of Jihadism. Yes, the Jihadists have attempted with some success to make Iraq a recruitment tool. However, it is important to note that America has also helped recruit millions of democrats in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Of course, Osama exploited the first Iraq war as a cause for his Jihad that resulted in 9/11. Before the most fatal attack on the American homeland, we had not declared war against the Jihadists. The presence of Western troops in Saudi Arabia (that were there to contain Saddam) was then viewed as blasphemous.
Some believe that if we would only appease rather than fight Jihadism it would just go away. Some argue that a resolution to the Israeli - Palestinian conflict would do the trick. Of course, major Israeli concessions to the Palestinians since the Oslo process did no such thing. Indeed, the radical Islamists will only be happy with Israel eliminated.
In the short term, it is inevitable that fighting Jihadism will result in recruits for their cause. At the moment, radical Islam is on the move in Iran and the Jihadists have successfully fueled the flames of sectarian strife in Iraq.
Ultimately, the Jihadists will only be defeated only through military success and political and economic reform. Authoritarian stability gave birth to radical Islam and only genuine democratic transformation will vanquish it.
One thing is for certain - if America retreats in the face of Jihadism, the situation will only worsen as radical Islam will be immeasurably emboldened. Yesterday, Senator Lieberman made this important point about the dangers of retreat in Iraq,
"We can't predict which interests will prevail. But we do know that none of them will be good for us. Consider this awful, but very likely outcome: the religious and ethnic factions will establish their own autonomous regions. Al Qaeda will find more safe havens for its network of terrorists, like they did in Afghanistan before 9-11, from which to attack America and other countries. The Iranians will take over large parts of the South. The Syrians will try to carve out their spheres of influence. And the proliferation of instability and violence will begin to engulf the whole Middle East and weaken personal and economic security all over the world.
"In a way, this point is underscored by the National Intelligence Estimate that was reported on yesterday. As bad as the terrorist situation on the ground is now in Iraq and all over the world, what I know of the NIE says to me that it will only grow exponentially worse if we follow the Lamont plan and rush our troops out to meet an arbitrary, politically pre-set deadline nine months from now. The terrorists will not only have a safe haven in Iraq, they will claim a great victory and use it to recruit more terrorists, as they did after their brutal attacks on America on 9-11."
We can argue interminably about the wisdom about intervening in Iraq. But, one thing is clear, retreat at this moment will be a disaster for America and free people everywhere.
Moreover, the answer to the woes in Iraq is not getting out but rather providing more troops to prevail. Yesterday, at a Democratic Hill hearing on the war, that view was expressed by retired officers who are critical of the Administration. Dana Milbank in the Washington Post,
"But Democrats, while celebrating Batiste's criticism of the administration, exercised some selective listening at the hearing when Batiste and his colleagues offered their solution: more troops, more money and more time in Iraq.
"We must mobilize our country for a protracted challenge," Batiste warned.
"We better be planning for at least a minimum of a decade or longer," contributed retired Marine Col. Thomas Hammes.
"We are, conservatively, 60,000 soldiers short," added retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who was in charge of building the Iraqi Security Forces.
Just as these officers did, Democrats should be criticizing the Administration from the right, arguing for a victory plan. We cannot afford to lose in Iraq.
Imagine what an NIE would look like after we handed the Jihadists a victory with our retreat. --