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Of the many tent poles used to justify the invasion of Iraq, the last one standing was Bush's assertion that by fighting terrorists in Iraq, we won't have to fight them here. Well, a new National Intelligence Estimate kicks over the last tent pole.

The estimate begrudgingly acknowledges that the Iraq diversion has achieved to significant victories for al Qaeda: It has given them an opportunity to strengthen and regroup, and it has created a training ground for people sympathetic to al Qaeda and Jihadism.

A great article I read someplace sums up the the National Intelligence Estimate nicely: "bin Laden Still Determined To Strike Within The U.S."

President Bush has tried during several speaking engagements to exaggerate the positive aspects of the report even using it to link Iraq and September 11th again.

Here are some choice excerpts from the report:

We assess that the Iraq Jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives.

The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for Jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global Jihadist movement.

We also assess that the global Jihadist movement -- which contains al Qa'ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells -- is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts ... If this trend continues, threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.

There is reason to believe that if we withdraw from Iraq, Iraqi's will stomp out the terrorist cells on their own. I believe the best course of action at this point is to redeploy our troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and finish the fight against the Taliban and the al Qaeda that actually attacked us.

Further Reading:

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