"America’s intelligence agencies have determined that the war in Iraq has helped recruit more terrorists. Well, duh. It’s called fighting back.
Democrats leapt upon this news as proof that the Iraq war has made us less safe. But that is not what the bulk of the available evidence, including the declassified portions of the National Intelligence Estimate, shows.
The NIE concludes that the No. 1 factor radicalizing Muslims continues to be "entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination. . ." Those first two are exactly the grievances President Bush is trying to remedy, in part by replacing Iraq’s despotic regime with a democratic one.
Remember, the terrorists hit us before we toppled Saddam Hussein: In 1983, 1998, 2000 and 2001. Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States in 1998, not 2002.
A report released late last month by Britain’s Royal Institute for International Affairs also found that America’s presence in Iraq had helped recruit terrorists. But it concluded that the Iraq war has sharply reduced the appeal of violence as a political tool in the Muslim world and slashed the popularity of terror organizations among most Muslims: a net gain for the West. It has received little if any media attention in the United States.
The NIE suggests that the best way to combat radical Islam is to divide and conquer: separate the radicals from the majority of Muslims, and fight them. The British report suggests this is what the war in Iraq is doing.
Pulling out now because the terrorists have decided to fight back instead of roll over would give terrorists the best recruitment poster they could imagine. If we want to reduce their ranks, now is the time to hit them even harder and let them know that we will never give up the fight."