Monday, September 25, 2006

Leaked U.S. Intelligence Report: Canadians Need to Take Note

A National Intelligence Estimate, based on data from 16 U.S. spy agencies, has concluded that the U.S. led war in Iraq has worsened the threat of terror faced by the U.S. and its allies. According to elements of the report that have been leaked, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq have spawned a new generation of terrorists who are dedicated to striking out against the U.S. and the West.

According to a story in the New York Times, the intelligence report concludes that Islamic extremist cells are being established in many parts of the world. While Al Qaeda may have served as a source of inspiration for them, the cells are generating on their own the report states.

The shattering conclusions of the report tear away at whatever shreds of coherence remain to justify the Bush administration’s war in Iraq. The initial justification for the invasion----the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq---has long ago been exposed as a chimera. The new report counters the claim by George W. Bush that the Iraq mission has been a vital and necessary part of the war on global terrorism.

As Senator Edward Kennedy commented, the report “should put the final nail in the coffin for President Bush’s phony argument about the Iraq war.”

The report compounds the bad news for the Bush administration, which has been under relentless attack for the incompetent management of the Iraq War, with generals who served there charging Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with complete incompetence.

The Iraq debacle may drag on for several more years, but elements of its finale are already clear. The Americans will have to withdraw from that country following a humiliating defeat that will have weakened their hold on the petroleum rich Persian Gulf as well as dealing a blow to the global standing of the United States. It will fall to the next U.S. administration, which takes office in January 2009, whether Democratic or Republican, to work out the details of the withdrawal and to try to salvage a modicum of dignity for the United States.

Canadians should heed the developments in Iraq, because the mission in Afghanistan of which we are a part, is almost certainly headed for a similar conclusion. Iraq and Afghanistan are not the same, of course, and the justifications for the missions in the two countries have differed in important ways. Afghanistan was invaded in the autumn of 2001 because it was the home base of Osama bin Laden, from which the terror attacks of September 11 were planned and executed.

That said, Afghanistan, to the regret of the U.S. military has never been “rich in targets.” It’s a poor country, under the sway of regional war lords, and divided among tribal identities that make it an unlikely candidate for a strong central government. While terrorist bases operating in Afghanistan can be attacked, the consequence of attacks on them is that they shut down and are moved elsewhere. Al Qaeda is not, and never has been, a centralized affair like a conventional state. Slamming a heavy fist into one part of it may be emotionally satisfying but not for long. Just as when you chop a worm in half, both halves walk away, such terrorist movements don’t need central organization and they don’t need Osama bin Laden, whatever his present state of health.

Maddening as it may be, occupying Afghanistan is likely to spawn new terrorists, as we now know from an impeccable source has been happening in Iraq. Meanwhile much of Al Qaeda which wasn’t from Afghanistan in the first place----many more Al Qaeda operatives were from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan---just heads elsewhere. The Americans and their allies are as unlikely to catch most of these people as were the U.S. forces that were sent into northern Mexico in 1916 to chase Pancho Villa.


Jan_ from_ BruceCounty said...

I agree with your post, and particularly about the lack of reconstruction efforts made. However, stratigically, what is in for NATO?

James Laxer said...

Strategically,most NATO countries are not much interested in Afghanistan, as evidenced by their extreme reluctance to send more troops there. Frankly, I think the Americans are not fully committed to the war against the Taliban because of their larger interest in keeping Pakistan onside.

John Murney said...

This is the most informative and persuasive piece I have seen written yet on the Afghanistan controversy.