The Corner

THE PRICE OF DEFEAT

Rowan Scarborough reports that the CIA conducted a simulation of how the Iraq war affects the global jihadist movement, and one conclusion was that a U.S. loss “would embolden al Qaeda to expand its ranks of terrorists as well as pick new strategic targets.” He adds:

[T]he simulation’s key finding appears to bolster Mr. Bush’s contention that a U.S. loss in Iraq will have far-reaching ramifications. … Al Qaeda has made stopping democracy in Iraq a top priority, according to U.S. military officials. It has recruited hundreds of suicide bombers to come to Iraq and inflict mass casualties to spur a Sunni-Shi’ite Muslim civil war. The group wants to wear down U.S. troops to the point where they will retreat. Al Qaeda’s ultimate goal is to turn Iraq and other Middle East countries into hard-line Islamic states, U.S. military officials say. …

The CIA-sponsored simulation predicts that al Qaeda will view a U.S. defeat in Iraq as another jihadist victory over a superpower and one that will bring it even more terrorist recruits.   ”When we did the simulation, the ramifications were enormous,” said the source, who asked not to be named. The source said al Qaeda will proclaim, “God has given us a second victory over a superpower.   ”Imagine what defeat in Iraq would do,” said the source. “Al Qaeda picks new targets after it thinks it’s won.”

This person expressed unhappiness that the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, devoted less than a page to what a loss in Iraq would mean for global terrorism.

ME: This is a topic I was constantly trying to get the ISG working group to grapple with. I did not succeed. I believe I was accused of spinning “doomsday scenarios and subscribing to the Domino Theory.

Clifford D. May — Clifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...

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