Saturday, July 28, 2007

One would think to rely on the White House to deliver the interpretation of a National Intelligence Estimate, such as the one issued a few weeks back. Given the agenda of our current President, that's probably not a good idea.

For that reason, to find the best interpretation, I looked overseas.

The International Herald Tribune has a great summary, published on July 22. The story focuses on Pakistan, and how the NIE notes that Al Qaeda has "reconstituted" itself there. Why is this important? The Bush Administration claims that the NIE justifies the war in Iraq, because the estimate discusses how Al Qaeda in Pakistan is benefiting from Al Qaeda in Iraq for recruiting purposes. However, this fact should be overshadowed by the fact Al Qaeda is in Pakistan, and the Al Qaeda in Pakistan is the group that attacked the U.S. on 9/11. Here's a telling excerpt from the International Herald Tribune story:

"The western mountains of Pakistan have been the hatching grounds for some of Al Qaeda's deadliest plots. Besides the London transportation attacks in July 2005, the thwarted plot to blow up multiple trans-Atlantic commercial jets last August is thought by British and U.S. officials to have been planned by Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas."

If the western mountains of Pakistan are responsible for deadly plots, why is the Bush Administration pressing that the NIE justifies a near laser-like focus on Iraq as the front-line of the war on terror?

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