The CIA's National Intelligence Council has the ability to chronicle facts, but it analyzes them with the all acuity of a banana split. Iraq, reports the NIC, has replaced Afghanistan as the new haven for al-Qaida terrorists. The council further asserts that US opposition to these terrorists has actually helped them by making Iraq not only a training ground for terror, but also a tool for recruitment and "technical skill enhancement" that will eventually culminate into a disbursement mechanism whereby its survivors can then return to their respective homelands to spread newly cultivated killing skills. Basically, the NIC believes we've created more terrorists by fighting terrorists. Are we to believe that if left unchallenged, terrorists would surrender under the relentless blows of our acquiescence?
It is entirely sensible for our intelligent community to assess worst-case scenarios. But these projections must take into account the formidable realities that confront our enemies. Unless analysts factor in our continued anti-terror efforts -- and American "technical skill enhancement" -- they render a projection that grossly exaggerates our difficulties.
A pivotal example of our own technical advancement is the Passive Millimeter Wave Technology, which allows U.S. troops to detect suicide bombers from 15 to 150 feet away even when these individuals hide among of civilians. This portable technology has passed the prototype stage to receive additional funding from Congress. Once implemented, the new tool could weaken what has been a terrorist strength: suicide bombing.
But the future of this technology plays no role in NIC projections, which stress the terrorists' evolution to the exclusion of America's. Such an incomplete picture narrows our view of America's security -- instead of broadening it.
Alan Nathan, a combative centrist, is the nationally syndicated daily talk host of "Battle Line With Alan Nathan" on The Radio America Network.