The New York Times has the big Saturday story.
It's a "well, duh" thing, and it goes like this -
The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.
... The report "says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse," said one American intelligence official.
So the long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate is finally done, and it says we managed to do the opposite of what we intended. We screwed up - all the intelligence agencies agree.
As Kevin Drum put it succinctly here - "The point of an anti-terror policy is not to look tough. The point of an anti-terror policy is to reduce terror. Republicans pretty clearly don't get this."
Perhaps this will be discussed all over the place next week. The spin will be interesting. No doubt the Democrats will decide not to discuss this - John Negroponte, the head of national intelligence, signs off on a document that concludes that what we've been doing for the last three or four years has made things worse, not better. Democrats don't want to be divisive. They'll let it go.
See Glen Greenwald here -
So, a recap of the Iraq war: there were never any WMDs. The proliferation of government death squads and militias in Iraq means that, compared to the Saddam era, human rights have worsened and torture has increased to record levels. Iranian influence has massively increased, as a result of a Shiite fundamentalist government loyal to Tehran replacing the former anti-Iranian regime. We've squandered hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives. And we have - according to the consensus of our own intelligence community - directly worsened the terrorist problem with our invasion, and continue to worsen it with our ongoing occupation.
How can anyone claim with a straight face that this war was a good idea? There are no even theoretical justifications left for it. And all of the Republican election-driven fear-mongering over terrorism ought to be met with this clear, straightforward report documenting that that threat has worsened under this administration directly as a result of its policies and, in particular, as a result of its signature policy - the war in Iraq.
But of course they will claim, with a straight face, the war WAS a good idea. It's just that good things take time, lots of time.
It should be noted too that a French newspaper is reporting that they're in possession of a document with the assessment that Osama bin Laden is dead - see this, where l'Est Republicain cites a memo they claim was obtained from the French counter-espionage agency, the Direction Générale des Services Extérieurs, or the DGSE. The memo says the Saudis are pretty sure Osama bin Laden died in August, from typhus or something. The Saudis say he probably is dead, but they cannot confirm this. No one really knows. It's on all the wires, of course.
The word came at dawn on Saturday here in Hollywood with some emails from Our Man in Paris, Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis - some in French. Time Magazine is on it now. But no one is sure of anything.
If this is true it's going to be a bit hard to say we brought him to justice. But we can say God did it - and this proves God is on our side, or something.
Next week the spin will be amazing.
This page originally posted on Sunday, September 24, 2006