As the New York Times reports this morning, a "new generation" of al-Qaida leaders has "emerged" under the control of Osama bin Laden, which has led to "surprise and dismay within United States intelligence agencies about the group's ability to rebound from" America's post-9/11 offensive.
What does that have to do with the war in Iraq? Well, not much, except for this:
"Experts ... believe the fighting in Iraq will produce future Qaeda leaders," the Times reports. Robert Richer, a former associate director of operations for the CIA, puts this fine point on the matter: "The jihadis returning from Iraq are far more capable than the mujahedeen who fought the Soviets ever were. They have been fighting the best military in the world, with the best technology and tactics."
Translation: We're fighting them in Iraq so that we can fight them again somewhere else.