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National Intelligence Estimate

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Last week we were tipped off that the National Intelligence Estimate, one and a half pages of which was made public on Tuesday, would indicate that bin Ladin's al Qaeda ("The Base") is as strong as it ever was and that al Qaeda, including its "affiliate" in Iraq wants to attack the American "homeland." There are several things about this report that are noteworthy, including perhaps foremost among them that it is a thoroughgoing indictment of the CheneyBush strategy, namely that it calls the Afghan War a failure and it calls the Iraq War a recruiting ground for malcontents everywhere in the world to join up and train with al Qaeda in the real-life insurgency in Iraq. In describing the virulence of al Qaeda the report overturns the notion that "if we fight them there, we will not have to fight them here." In other words, the NIE is Bush's way of saying "I'm sorry." It is not enough for me, even ignoring the patently political fear-mongering that is shot through it like buckshot from one of Cheney's playthings.

The NIE is purported to show that al Qaeda is still interested in terrorism in North America, and one reporter said, while describing the report, that the attack would come soon. I find this sort of information from this sort of administration unconvincing. Moreover, I find it insulting and treasonous, for it offers to provide a reason, without evidence, for Americans to panic and submit further to the loss of freedoms that the CheneyBush administration has demanded of them.

It is as if the owners of a theater publish on screen right after the "turn-off-your-cell-phones" request the statement that it is illegal to yell "Fire!" in a theater, but that sooner or later someone will. In fact, it is the popcorn guy out in the lobby who is yelling "Fire!" and then the ushers (Fox Noise Network) repeating it incessantly.

The NIE is, without a candid "fireside chat" from competent authority (and, yes, I know there are none in this administration), stark fear-mongering designed to play into the the "September Decision on Iraq" based on General Petraeus's "candid report" on progress of the surge in Iraq. It is designed to lower the bar for Petraeus's report's credibility by providing exaggerated background assertions that will hang in the backs of the minds of Congress as they deliberate, wondering all the while if their constituents believe they are sufficiently protecting them. It is a common tactic in debate, the positing of a threat, which although it is unlikely to transpire, every passing moment nevertheless contributes to the tension of "when," forgetting that the real question is "if."

If there is a terrorist strike in the United States Cheney and Bush will be responsible for not thwarting it. They know that. They know, therefore, that the risk is extremely small, for otherwise they would be acting much differently. They would have a sentient person in charge at the Department of Homeland Security, not the buffoon Chertoff. They would have adequate port and border security. They would have complete coverage of every known foreign-born malcontent in the country. They would have excellent diplomatic and intelligence relationships with all countries flying commercially into the United States.

Above all, they would have had an entirely different strategy for the Afghan War, one designed to capture bin Ladin and demonstrate to proto-terrorists everywhere that there is no where to hide. They would have told Musharaff to clean up his act or else. They would have poured their energies not into Iraq to settle an old score, but into NW Afghanistan regardless of the sovereignty of the country, but because the U.N. demanded it.

The only other possible explanation is that the CheneyBush administration is completely incompetent and that every second longer they remain in office is a second bursting with the threat of continued terrorism. On this note one comes immediately to the conclusion that not only is impeachment a Constitutional necessity, it is a matter of survival.

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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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