Declassified NIE Released, Undercutting Bush's Argument
Bush went ahead and released a declassified version of the terrorism NIE today, and if this is the politically acceptable version of the NIE, I wonder how bad the hidden intelligence report on Iraq is that Jane Harman wants out. This one pretty well undercuts the GOP message for the midterms, and makes it hard for Bush to argue that “stay the course” is our only option.
Bush incredulously repeated his claim today that the war hasn’t made terrorism worse:
With Karzai looking on, Bush said the war in Iraq has not increased the threat of terrorism.
"You know, to suggest that if we weren't in Iraq we would see a rosier scenario, with fewer extremists joining the radical movement, requires us to ignore 20 years of experience," Bush said. "We weren't in Iraq when we got attacked on September the 11th. We weren't in Iraq and thousands of fighters were trained in terror camps inside your country, Mr. President. We weren't in Iraq when they first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993."
The White House wants to ignore the elephant in the room by changing the argument. His own report on terrorism states that Iraq has made it worse, and that there in fact would be fewer extremists joining the radical movement if we weren’t in Iraq. Yet Bush is saying that Iraq is irrelevant to 9/11 because there would have been terrorists gunning for us regardless of whether or not we invaded Iraq. Mr. President, why did 9/11 happen, on your watch? Iraq was a war of choice that has spawned more terrorists against us, yet you now tell us that we can’t step away from your mistake because it will only get worse.
Sorry, no sale.