One of the most interesting things about that update is it's admission that the ongoing fight in Iraq has become "a rallying cry'' for terrorists, and that "terrorists see Iraq as the central front of their fight against the United States.' Yet, the report concludes the invasion and occupation has "liberated Iraqis from terrorism."
The report describes the administration's fight in their 'War on Terror' as "both a battle of arms and a battle of ideas.' In that fight they claim to have made "substantial progress in degrading the al-Qaida network" since 9-11. It amazingly reports that "most of those in the al-Qaida network responsible for the September 11 attacks have been captured or killed." But, it makes only one mention of bin-Laden, the accused mastermind of the 9-11 violence, in a reference to his 'privileged upbringing'.
The report contradicts all of the progress the administration touts in their decided fronts in their 'terror war' in its dire warnings about the continued escalation of violence by the very elements they claim to have tamed and eliminated. Terrorists are, the report states, "more reliant on smaller cells inspired by a common ideology and less directed by a central command structure." Terrorists have expanded their attacks to "many places throughout the world, from Bali to Beslan to Baghdad."
Although the report intends to portray a winning battle against the forces who threaten us, it actually reflects the way that our actions have increased the threat our country faces from the very methods and focus that the administration is so keen to brag on.
By the Bush administration's own admission, these same 'threatening' individuals and organizations bent on violent confrontation against the U.S., our allies, and our interests have been allowed to spread to other countries and multiply, despite, or as a result of the Bush administration's response. Yet, they want to claim progress and momentum.
The Democratic leadership wrote Bush to urge him to change his policy, and to change the "leadership at the Department of Defense."
"We surmise from your recent press conferences and speeches that you remain committed to maintaining an open-ended presence of U.S. forces in Iraq for years to come," they wrote. "That was the message the American people received on August 21, 2006, when you said, "we're not leaving 1/8Iraq 3/8, so long as I'm the President."
The Democratic proposal they sent to Bush outlines a 'new direction', which would include: (1) transitioning the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection; (2) beginning the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq before the end of this year; (3) working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources; and (4) convening an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort.
"Unfortunately, your stay the course strategy is not working," the Democrats told Bush. "Staying the course in Iraq has not worked and continues to divert resources and attention from the war on terrorism that should be the nation's top security priority.
Indeed, the administration's NSCT report signals a 'cut-and-run' from their focus on Iraq to elevate Iran as the "most active state sponsor of terrorism'', despite the present GOP campaign, led from the White House, to convince voters in the upcoming congressional midterm elections that Iraq is the 'center' of their terror war.
The administration report complains of states, such as Syria and Iran, who "continue to harbor terrorists at home and sponsor terrorist activity abroad." It highlights what they term a "WMD-terrorism nexus that emanates from Tehran."
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami said, in an interview just published (AFP reports), that during his years in power from 1997-2005, Iran did not provide weapons to Iraqi Shiites and doubted that it was happening under his successor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"No one will benefit as much as Iran from peace and stability in Iraq," he said Tuesday.