Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Lost National Intelligence Estimate

The recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate -- you know, that report that in its previous iterration made the point that there was no question Saddam had WMDs -- is old news now that we've got pages rushing forward with pages of emailed improprieties.

Charles Krauthammer wishes it weren't so. He'd like it to be new news again, because the leaked NIE, which stalled the GOP advance towards November, is so full of mallarky, especially its fundamental claim that Iraq has created more jihadists. He writes at RCP:
When Osama bin Laden issued his 1998 declaration of war against America, his two principal casus belli for the jihad that exploded upon us on 9/11 centered on Iraq: America's alleged killing of more than 1 million Iraqis through the post-Gulf War sanctions, and, even worse, the desecration of Islam's holiest cities of Mecca and Medina by the garrisoning of infidel U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia (as post-Gulf War protection from the continuing threat of invasion by Saddam).

The irony is that the overthrow of Saddam eliminated these two rallying cries: Iraqi sanctions were lifted and U.S. troops were withdrawn from the no-longer threatened Saudi Arabia. But grievances cured are easily replaced. The jihadists wasted no time in finding new justifications for fury, and reviving old ones. The supply is endless: Danish cartoons, papal pronouncements, the liberation of women, the existence of Israel, the licentiousness of Western culture, the war in Afghanistan. And of course, Iraq -- again.

The crushing rush of 24/7 news of missing coeds and reprehensible Representatives causes us to lose too much perspective. And it storms past any decent provision of perspective, as the mics and cameras stampede off to the next leak, the next murder, the next celebrity baby birth.

The shame of it all is that a few thousand of us will read Krauthammer's excellent piece and be the better for it, but it won't stop the stampede or refocus attention to where it should be. In today's over-reported, over-hyped world, the guy with the good news and the clear perspective has no voice, but the guy shouting "No!" and "Scam!" and "Horrors!" does.

Advantage, Dems.

hat-tip: Real Clear Politics
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