A declassified version of the leaked National Intelligence Estimate’s “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States” assessment is out, and pundits who claimed it showed Iraq’s democratic transition to be a mistake in the war on terror may want to distance themselves from their previous comments. A thorough reading of the document shows just how misleading selective leaks can be, and how much better the Bush Administration understands how to defeat Islamic terrorism than its critics.
First, the report claims that Iraq has become a grievance for terrorist groups to exploit. However, the report also states plainly that only through social and political reforms in the Middle East can Islamic militancy be defeated, and that such reforms will inevitably create opportunities for extremists to seize upon for support and recruitment. Therefore, the naysayers who maintain that Iraq is a disaster because jihadists have used it as a ’cause c