“Bin Laden certainly did a nice favor today for the President,” said deputy CIA director John McLaughlin, in opening a meeting four days before the United States’ 2004 presidential election21x22. Osama bin Laden, head of the al-Qaeda terrorist group widely blamed for the September 11th, 2001, airliner attacks against the U.S., had just issued a video message to Americans23. In the message, bin Laden subtly but surely warned that American states that voted for President Bush would be targets for attack. The CIA anlaysts realized that bin Laden was using reverse psychology, where, upon seeing bin Laden speak, an American’s churning stomach would lead one to do the opposite of what that murderous enemy seemed to want. After all, Bush’s war in Iraq had helped al-Qaeda, first by pulling forces from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border where they were hunting for its leadership, then by wounding America’s name and bringing many recruits for the terrorist group24. Among the acts that wounded America’s name were its abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Graib that flowed from Bush’s policy of using torture in questioning prisoners25x26, and its sacking of Fallujah that came by Bush’s order for retaliation, overruling the commander on the ground27. Deputy associate director for intelligence Jami Miscik wrapped up the discussion at the CIA meeting: “Certainly [bin Laden] would want Bush to keep doing what he’s doing for a few more years.” After bin Laden’s message, two polls showed the presidential race swing from a dead heat to a five percentage point lead for Bush, who hung on to win by an official count of less than three points28. And for the two-and-a-half years since, Bush has indeed kept doing what he had been doing: keeping up the occupation – with most Iraqis wanting the Americans out29, with a rising insurgency and civil war30, with militia men infiltrating the Iraqi police and army31, with rising world-wide terrorism32, and as a constant “cause celebre for jihadists … cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement33.”
… it seemed to [Bush] that being preoccupied with the little child’s talk about her goat and its butting was more important than being preoccupied with the planes and their ramming into the skyscrapers.
This gave with three times the period required for carrying out the operations, praise be to God.
Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Each and every state that does not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its own security.
As U.S. intelligence has been reporting internally for years, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was a boon to al-Qaeda, diverting U.S. forces away from its leaders hiding along the Pakistan-Afghan borders while helping al-Qaeda attract thousands of new recruits, build a battle-tested force in Iraq, and reestablish its financial infrastructure.
The Department of Justice also bears significant responsibility for the acts of torture and other legal violations by virtue of the extreme and narrow legal views it has adopted. These are set forth in an August 1, 2002 memo setting forth an inappropriately narrow definition of torture and in Mr. Gonzales=s January 2005 confirmation hearing testimony on the jurisdictional reach of bans on CID. An August 1, 2002 Department of Justice memo addressed to then-White House Counsel Gonzales creates a definition of torture that is contrary to international law, domestic law, and legislative intent.628 The memo claims that torture consists of extreme acts under U.S. law, inflicting severe pain that must be of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury such as death or organ failure. According to the memo, severe mental pain requires suffering not just at the moment of infliction but it also requires lasting psychological harm, such as seen in mental disorders like posttraumantic [sic] stress disorder.
Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.
“The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: “Make sure this is accomplished,”” she told Saturday’s El Pais.
A flip-flop by George W. Bush worsened the military-political debacle in Fallujah last April when the Bush administration overruled the Marine commanding general twice, first ordering him to undertake a retaliatory assault against the rebellious Iraqi city and then abruptly reversing direction three days later.
The Fallujah attack enflamed anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East and made the city’s name a rallying cry for Iraqi insurgents. Though Fallujah is located in the Sunni Triangle, rival Shiite communities to the south joined in collecting and delivering relief supplies.
The civilian deaths in Fallujah also brought a new round of international condemnation of the United States for allegedly engaging in a collective punishment of a population, a violation of international law. …
According to two polls taken during and after the videotape’s release, Bush experienced a bump of several percentage points, from a virtual tie with Kerry to a five or six percentage point lead. Tracking polls by TIPP and Newsweek detected a surge in Bush support from a statistically insignificant two-point lead to five and six points, respectively.
…Seven out of ten Iraqis overall—including both the Shia majority (74%) and the Sunni minority (91%)—say they want the United States to leave within a year.
By September, the proportion of Shias in Baghdad saying they approved of striking American-led forces had risen to 60 percent. In the rest of the country, Shia support for attacking foreign troops rose … to 63 percent.
… 100 percent of Sunnis in Baghdad said in September that they approved of attacks on U.S.-led forces, up 44 points since January (57%). In the rest of the country, nine out of ten Sunnis (91%) said they favored such attacks.
As Iraq has descended into civil war, it hasn’t been easy to measure just how violent it has become. Estimates of civilian casualties vary by a factor of nearly 10, and both the Pentagon and the Iraqi government have been criticized for ignoring or downplaying reports of attacks and deaths. What is beyond doubt is that the bloodshed is mounting and more and more civilians are dying.
“We’re not training the Mahdi Army by intent, but we’re providing training for people who may take our training program and then go join the militias,” Smith told Koppelman. He added, “As early as August ‘04, there are photographs of uniformed Iraqi police celebrating with the Mahdi Army after a battle in Najaf.”
[Television journalist Mark] Smith does not only single out the Mahdi Army. He also notes the heavy infiltration of the police by the Badr Corps, the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
“There are numerous reports of whole units of Badr Corps coming intact into the ministry to work in the police forces,” Smith warns.
Our study shows that the Iraq War has generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.
We are not making the argument that without the Iraq War, jihadist terrorism would not exist, but our study shows that the Iraq conflict has greatly increased the spread of the Al Qaeda ideological virus, as shown by a rising number of terrorist attacks in the past three years from London to Kabul, and from Madrid to the Red Sea.
“We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives … the Iraq conflict has become the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.” – from declassified part of CIA National Intelligence Estimate
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