Cigars in the Sand

Commentary, Notes and Pictures from my time in Iraq

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Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Farmer by genetics, Lawyer by training, currently "vacationing" in Iraq and advising the Iraqi government on border security issues. Before moving to Baghdad, I served in the White House as Deputy Counsel for the Homeland Security Council. I can be reached at opusxryanathotmaildotcom.

Friday, January 14, 2005

"War Created Haven, CIA Advisers Report" if you believe the Washington Post

But if you actually read the report, you'll see it says nothing of the sort. In fact, the 123 page report says little at all about Iraq. Iraq is only mentioned 8 times in the entire report.

The report does not claim that the war is creating new terrorists. Rather it simply points out the obvious: while the terrorists of the past were battle-hardened in Afghanistan, the terrorist leaders of the future will have been battle-hardened in Iraq (if they weren't killed- a point the report makes). This is not an A1 Washington Post story.

The report does not even tackle the question of whether or not the war in Iraq has, on net, added to or subtracted from the total number of terrorists. I would argue that the report is most newsworthy for its lack of attention to Iraq. But again, that doesn't fit with the narrative the Post is trying to sell.

How do I know they have a narrative? Look at the sub-headline: "War Created Haven, CIA Advisers Report". The word "haven" does not appear once in the report. A haven is a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary. No honest reading of the report can conclude that the authors are arguing that Iraq is now a safe place for terrorists. The whole point of the report is to predict what things will look like in 2020 anyway, so they'd have no reason to analyze the current state of Iraq.

The tone of the report actually supports the current efforts in Iraq:

A counterterrorism strategy that approaches the problem on multiple fronts offers the greatest chance of containing—and ultimately reducing—the terrorist threat. The development of more open political systems and representation, broader economic opportunities, and empowerment of Muslim reformers would be viewed positively by the broad Muslim communities who do not support the radical agenda of Islamic extremists.

Somehow that part didn't make the Post.

UPDATE: Fixed links.