The stark truth about Iraq courtesy of American intelligence agencies:
A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.
The 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.
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.
There is also a profound price to be paid at home:
More than one-third of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking medical treatment from the Veterans Health Administration report symptoms of stress or other mental disorders _ a tenfold increase in the last 18 months, according to an agency study.
The dramatic jump in cases _ coming as more troops face multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan _ has triggered concern among some veterans groups that the agency may not be able to meet the demand. They say veterans have had to deal with long waits for doctor appointments, staffing shortages and lack of equipment at medical centers run by the Veterans Affairs Department.
And for what? The “noble” goal of bringing democracy to the Middle East? Or the more likely outcome of opening up Iraqi markets to Western multinationals?