[Vision2020] White House Rebuts Bleak Report on Iraq
thansen at moscow.com
Mon Sep 25 07:04:39 PDT 2006
>From today's (September 25, 2006) Los Angeles Times -
White House Rebuts Bleak Report on Iraq
Bush officials disagree with a U.S. intelligence analysis that the war has
spread terrorism, saying Islamic extremism goes back generations.
By Richard A. Serrano
Times Staff Writer
September 25, 2006
WASHINGTON -The White House on Sunday sharply disagreed with a new U.S.
intelligence assessment that the war in Iraq is encouraging global
terrorism, as Bush administration officials stressed that anti-American
fervor in the Muslim world began long before the Sept. 11 attacks.
White House spokesman Peter Watkins declined to talk specifically about the
National Intelligence Estimate, a classified analysis that represents a
consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.
The report, delivered to policymakers in April, is the first of its kind
since the Iraq war's start in March 2003. In it, the agencies concluded that
the war had damaged the U.S. effort to defeat global terrorism. They said
that the war was spreading radicalism from Iraq throughout the Middle East
and that the longer it continued, the more likely it was to provide fresh
training grounds for future terrorist plots.
But the White House view, according to Watkins, is that much of the
radicals' rage at the United States and Israel goes back generations and is
not linked to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.
"Their hatred for freedom and liberty did not develop overnight," Watkins
said. "Those seeds were planted decades ago."
He said the administration had sought in Iraq to root out hotbeds of
terrorism before they grew. "Instead of waiting while they plot and plan
attacks to kill innocent Americans, the United States has taken the
initiative to fight back," Watkins said.
President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney also have highlighted the war
in Iraq as the United States' main thrust in the fight against terrorism,
contending that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein in power.
Also, Sunday's newspaper articles on the National Intelligence Estimate - by
the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times - were
"not representative of the complete document," the White House said. That
assessment was echoed by National Intelligence Director John D. Negroponte,
whose office prepared the report.
In a statement e-mailed to reporters Sunday afternoon, Negroponte said "the
conclusions of the intelligence community are designed to be comprehensive,
and viewing them through the narrow prism of a fraction of judgments
distorts the broad framework they create."
"The Estimate highlights the importance of the outcome in Iraq on the future
of global jihadism," he said. If Iraq develops "a stable political and
security environment, the jihadists will be perceived to have failed, and
fewer jihadists will leave Iraq determined to carry on the fight elsewhere."
There is "an enormous and constantly mutating struggle before us in the long
war on terror," Negroponte said.
Senate Armed Services Committee member John McCain (R-Ariz.), a likely 2008
presidential candidate, agreed with the White House view that such
radicalism predated the toppling of Hussein and that radicals were always
looking for reasons to recruit jihadists.
"If it wasn't Iraq, it'd be Afghanistan," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"If it wasn't Afghanistan, it would be others that they would use as a
method of continuing their recruitment."
But McCain also cautioned that the longer the war continued, "the more
likely they are to have more recruits."
He added, "It's obvious that the difficulties we've experienced in Iraq have
certainly emboldened [terrorists]. Lack of success always does that."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said he was "very
concerned" by the intelligence analysis.
"My feel is that the war in Iraq has intensified Islam fundamentalism and
radicalism," he told CNN's "Late Edition."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he agreed with the
intelligence assessment that the war was breeding more terrorists.
"President Bush's repeated missteps in Iraq and his stubborn refusal to
change course have made America less safe," Reid said in a statement Sunday.
"No election-year White House PR campaign can hide this truth.
"It is crystal clear," he added, "that America's security demands we change
course in Iraq."
And Rep. Jane Harman of Venice, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence
Committee, said on "Late Edition" that "every intelligence analyst I speak
to confirms" that Iraq had made matters worse.
The war in Iraq is a "failed policy," she said.
Seeya round town, Moscow.
"In America, anybody can become president.
That's one of the risks you take . . ."
- Adlai Stevenson
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