While political pundits, politicians, hundreds of millions of Americans, and millions more around the world watched Super Tuesday results with confused and bated breath yesterday, a bigger and more important story went almost completely unreported. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) presented Congress with yet another National Intelligence Estimate (a summary of opinions presented by a committee of representatives from all 17 American intelligence entities).
This National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is uncharacteristically well-written. It coldly, and apolitically presents the good, the bad, the ugly, and surprisingly addressed a long-time suspicion of those who support the war in Iraq about the frequent, deliberate, misleading of information regarding that war as a means of opposing it politically.
I was surprised, and in the strongest possible way I suggest everyone who is interested in the security of the United States should read this report. It’s a whole 47 pages, but the text is almost all 1-column and only covering 1/2 the page. Again, the NIE is also unusually well written, concise, and clear.
People who suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) will find lots to complain about, but that’s the nature of the syndrome (see also Rosie O’Donnell’s claim this week that President Bush almost killed her back in 2000) .
However, there is a LOT of very good news in this report as well. The Bush Administration’s efforts to work with the UN, NATO, EU, and Arab League (coupled with the invasion of Iraq) does in fact appear to have prevented Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The Bush Administration’s international diplomatic efforts and negotiations with North Korea seem to have successfully stopped North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons. The Bush Administration’s diplomatic and military offensive in Iraq has met with great success. And Al Queda’s capabilities and leadership have been severely reduced by the litany of Bush Administration counter-terrorism efforts around the world.
As I said, there is a lot of bad news as well-fuel for opponents of President Bush to distort, mislead, and present absent the counter good news; absent the full story, full perspective, and full truth.
- Iran’s nuclear ambitions remain. Iran’s international support of terrorists is on the rise in quantity and quality. Iran’s economic imposition of political will internationally remains on the rise.
- North Korea has threatened to give nuclear weapons to terrorist groups if threatened.
- The international drug and organized crime threat is on the rise.
- Al Queda may be severely wounded and pinned down, but it’s not out for the count.
The two things that surprised me the most were Al Queda’s recent upgrade from dreaming and dabbling with WMD to actually field testing. Apparently they tried injecting watermelons with poison. Those watermelons were bound for an Iraqi Army unit. Thankfully, the soldiers only became ill, and there were no deaths, but the point remains: Al Queda is no longer just dreaming about using WMD. They’re trying it.
To make matters worse, the US vs Them narrative continues from Al Queda, but it’s now in-line with the homegrown anti-Bush/”anti-war” movement here in the U.S.
“While the threat from such homegrown extremists is greater in Europe, the US is not immune. The threat here is likely to be fueled in part by propaganda and mis-characterizations of US foreign policy as harmful to Muslims, rather than by any formal assistance from al-Qa’ida or other recognized groups. The al-Qa’ida-propagated narrative of an “us versus them” struggle serves both as a platform and a potential catalyst for radicalization of Muslims alienated from he mainstream US population.”
This message has always been targeted at Muslims around the world in much the same manner as WWII NAZIs presented the repetitive “stabbed in the back” and “enemy among us” message about German-Jews; us vs them. It’s classic propaganda, but now the US intelligence community’s 17 different entities confirm that this message is resonating with Americans, and terrorism inside the US is now a growing threat-not because of a growth in Al Queda infiltration, but because of the increased infiltration of Al Queda’s propaganda-Muslims are being oppressed by the Bush Administration.
Again, in the strongest possible way, I encourage everyone who is concerned about American security, and the threat to our lives, to take some time and at least skim through this report. Be realistic when reading it too. After all, it is a threat assessment-not a rah rah rah political tambourine refrain. There is some ugliness to it, but be brave. There is some bad news in it, but have hope: there is some good news in it too.