Sunday, September 24, 2006

NYT Scoops Intelligence Leak

Today's New York Times announces that the Iraq War worsens the threat of terrorism. The source of the information is the classified National Intelligence Estimate, the principle authoritative document for a defined national security issue. The disclosure came courtesy of "several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document."

So much for security clearances, eh?

The Times also notes that "some government officials were unhappy with the structure and focus of earlier versions of the document" and, therefore, it took two years to complete. Apparently, unhappiness is an excuse for not producing. I presume that readers of the National Intelligence Estimate just have to guess which parts were prepared by the happy and the unhappy government officials.

It might be asserted that unhappiness in government employment led directly to the headline-grabbing nugget that the Iraq War worsens terrorism. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the story had been largely drafted before the unhappy government officials were even consulted. It happens sometimes, an opinion searching for a basis, flimsy or otherwise.

Even so, it's hardly news that the Iraq War inflames terrorists. What doesn't? Publishing cartoons of Mohammad in Denmark, or anywhere else, and Playboy magazine in Indonesia worsens terrorism. Sending girls to school in Afghanistan and the mere existence of Israel fires up the fanatics. And, don't dare let the Pope read a book or a nun will be murdered and churches will be firebombed. The list goes on. Abu Ghraib. Gitmo. A movie by Theo Van Gogh. Everything and anything seems capable of worsening the threat of terror.

As a tactic, terrorism is not going to disappear. Therefore, it must be fought, globally and in Iraq. Interestingly, the NYT mentions that Iraq has become the primary training ground for terrorists since they no longer can go to Afghanistan. Simple logic tells us that Iraq is the place to dedicate military resources if the goal is terrorist bud-nipping. Unfortunately, simple logic doesn't apply when a newspaper's opinion pieces are masqueraded as news.

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