WASHINGTON — Adding fire to the political debate over national security, a bleak government intelligence report says the war in Iraq has become acause celebrefor Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the United States that’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
A four-page summary from an April National Intelligence Estimate — released Tuesday on President George W. Bush’s orders — offers little reason for optimism over the next five years. Despite serious damage to Al Qaeda leadership, it concludes, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.
If this trend continues, threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide,it says.
Bush ordered the release after portions were leaked to the New York Times and the Washington Post; both papers published stories about it Sunday.
Some people have guessed what’s in the report and concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake,Bush said Tuesday.
I strongly disagree,he said, calling those viewsnaive.With portions of the report public,everybody can draw their own conclusions,he said.
It would be a logical fallacy to dismiss George Bush’s argument based on George Bush’s own failings. Arguments can and should be evaluated on their own merits, independently of your assessment of the person who makes them. But I will say that the spectacle of George Walker Bush — after the
grave and gathering danger, after
Mission Accomplished, after
stuff happens, after
we were all wrong, after the past three years of
major turning points and
final throes — turning around and chiding critics of his Iraq policy for naiveté about the situation on the ground simply beggars belief.
I’d also like to note that declassifying a cherry-picked selection of
portions of the report for public release may not be the best way for the Decider to dispel politicized spin on selective leaks, or to encourage
everybody [to] draw their own conclusions.