Looking pretty grim


Geraldine Sealey
January 18, 2005 8:52PM (UTC)

No wonder President Bush is so invested in the notion that he won't be held accountable for the aftermath of the Iraq disaster -- that the American people, in reelecting him by a few percentage points last November, put their indelible stamp of approval on this risky and costly war. Knight-Ridder reports that "a series of new U.S. intelligence assessments on Iraq paints a grim picture of the road ahead and concludes that there's little likelihood that President Bush's goals can be attained in the near future."

"Instead of stabilizing the country, national elections Jan. 30 are likely to be followed by more violence and could provoke a civil war between majority Shiite Muslims and minority Sunni Muslims, the CIA and other intelligence agencies predict, according to senior officials who've seen the classified reports."

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And it looks like Bush's Iraq policy is bringing at least some people together, but unfortunately they're not the people we should be uniting. It's even more clear, based on new assessments, that terrorists are using post-invasion Iraq much as they used pre-war Afghanistan: As a training ground fertile with new recruits.

"Two senior intelligence officials with access to classified reporting said Islamic militants allied with or inspired by Osama bin Laden were forging ties to Iraqi nationalists and remnants of former dictator Saddam Hussein's regime. The linkage is similar to the one that so-called 'Afghan Arabs' formed with Afghanistan's Taliban regime after the Soviet Union withdrew from that country, they said. ... 'The sad thing is we have created what the administration claimed we were intervening to prevent: an Iraq/al-Qaida linkage,' one of the senior intelligence officials said.'"


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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