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July 17, 2007

NIE: Al Qaeda In Iraq, Hezballah Expected To Attack US

If there's hard evidence supporting this, the NIE (of course) doesn't say. So it's not clear if this is just speculation and guesswork -- which, frankly, anyone could have told them -- or if there's something a bit more substantial undergirding it.

We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland through greater cooperation with regional terrorist groups. Of note, we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland.


We assess Lebanese Hizballah, which has conducted anti-US attacks outside the United States in the past, may be more likely to consider attacking the Homeland over the next three years if it perceives the United States as posing a direct threat to the group or Iran.

Since the left just mentioned the politicization of intelligence (no cite; they mention this every three seconds), let's discuss that. Once could have a number of reactions to this news, including 1) we must fight Al Qaeda in Iraq and dismantle that network or even, if you're bent that way, 2) we must withdraw from Iraq because we're what's sustaining Al Qaeda in Iraq and in fact it's our whole Iraq mission that's putting us in this new danger.

2 seems a bit absurd to me, but I suppose it is a plausible (barely) response.

But the left won't go with 2, for fears that they can't make a persuasive enough case for that proposition. Instead, they'll do what they always do -- deny inconvenient facts and simply claim Bush is lying to them and "cooking the intelligence."

Isn't that the very definition of politicizing intelligence -- deciding whether to credit a report as accurate or false (even concocted) based upon nothing except which stance advances one's pre-existing political agenda? As they say, you can have your own opinions, but not your own facts. One can have various opinions on what this report means -- one can even argue that the report actually argues in favor of expedited withdrawal -- but simply dismissing it as inconvenient to one's policy preferences is precisely what the left contends Bush, Wolfowitz, Feith, etc., have been doing for five years. And yet when the left selectively "cherry-picks" and "twists the intelligence," they clap themselves on the back for being skeptical and "reality-based."

In this particular situation, it is, admittedly, unclear if there's much backing this report up besides common sense. (Of course AQI would like to kill American civilians; they've come to Iraq in the first place simply for the opportunity to kill Americans. Why would anyone doubt they have desires to kill softer targets than our well-armed and well-trained troops?) So there is more rroom here to be legitimately skeptical, or at least not entirely convinced.

But this is how the left views every report coming out of Iraq. Does the report tend to suggest the surge is working or the war can be won, or must be won? Then it's false. It's "twisted," it's "spin," it's fabricated. Does the information tend to suggest victory is impossible or at least very unlikely? Then, of course, the information is true.

One would think the self-proclaimed "reality-based community" would do a better job of even pretending to have a more rigorous framework for analyzing information than whether it advances their political position or not, but then, they're too insular to be moved by criticism from outsiders, too convinced of their own holy righteousness to engage in any internal criticism, and of course too shameless to be embarrassed in any event.

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posted by Ace at 01:31 PM

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