Who’d have guessed?

The New York Times reports that a “classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.” It “represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government.”

What a surprise. “The BBC’s defence correspondent Rob Watson says this is not the first time the US intelligence community has said that the war in Iraq has made the problem of Islamist extremism worse.”

The report will make uncomfortable reading at the White House, [the BBC’s] correspondent says. In a series of recent speeches, President George W Bush has been portraying the war in Iraq as the central front in the war on terrorism.

This report implies while that may be true, that it is a front of America’s own making.

As governor of Texas, George Bush amassed quite a record for encouraging the judiciary to kill people. Now he uses the military. By precipitating war and fueling hatred of the United States, he makes us less safe, and generates propaganda support for ever more infringements of civil liberties.

I try to imagine what it would be like if a gang leader behaved in this manner. We would label him a homicidal maniac. Upon his arrest, prosecutors would surely urge the death penalty. And we wouldn’t listen to any of that liberal nonsense about how the defendant suffered a sociopathic upbringing.

I try to imagine what it would be like if the leader of say, Venezuela or Iran behaved in this manner. We would already be at war, killing civilians in order to save them. As a bumpersticker says, “Be nice to America or we’ll bring democracy to your country.” At least if there’s oil around.

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