Having glanced through the newly-declassified portions of the NIE, I am wondering whether one needs a decoder ring to make sense of this - nowhere does this report mention the Israel/Palestine conflict as a source of tension, a motivation for jihadists, or a factor in global anti-American sentiment.
Is this just one of those topics that is not discussed in polite circles within the intelligence community? Or should the Administration be claiming "victory" with its hands-mostly-off approach to the West Bank problem?
Here is the key non-mention:
Declassified Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States
dated April 2006
...Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq jihad; (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims - all of which jihadists exploit.
Maybe the West Bank issue is part of (1), "entrenched grievances". But that hardly is suggested by the balance of that sentence, which cites "corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination".
Do the authors of our current NIE really not want to include among their key judgments that the Israel/Palestine problem fuels jihadists? Why not?
If this is some sort of Washington-insider Political Correctitude in play, well, fine - could someone please help those of us among the Great Unwashed back onto the road to understanding?
Or if Bush was so determined to see a report that justified his relative disengagement with the Palestine problem that he sent Dick Cheney to terrorize the Intel Community with tough questions and invitations for hunting trips, let's get that story.
Or if the Israel-Palestine problem is not a driver of jihad, doesn't that merit a headline or two? Certainly the conventional wisdom a few years ago was the solving the Palestine problem was the key to just about every other Middle East problem.
AN ODD SEGUE: I liked this in the NIE:
Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies.
Why the sudden switch to US domestic politics? But there is more:
The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint.
• We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to
communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial
Who can doubt it?