Fact-Checking the National Security Strategy

Today, the White House released its long-overdue National Security Strategy (NSS). Like the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq before it, the NSS is a pure public relations stunt that has little basis in reality. Here is a quick fact-check of the document:

NSS: “A multinational coalition joined by the Iraqis is aggressively prosecuting the war against the terrorists in Iraq.”

FACT: “The past two weeks have changed the war in Iraq, shifting its focus from a U.S.-driven fight against Sunni insurgents to a direct battle for power and survival between Iraq’s empowered Shiite majority and disempowered Sunni minority.” [Washington Post, 3/13/06]

NSS: “The al-Qaida network has been significantly degraded.”

FACT: “Al Qaeda terrorism remains the most serious threat to U.S. national security, and the insurgency in Iraq shows no sign of abating, the nation’s top intelligence official told the Senate yesterday. “¦ The merger of al Qaeda with the Iraq-based terror group headed by Abu Musab al Zarqawi has extended the reach of the group and broadened its ideological appeal.” [Washington Times, 2/3/06]

NSS: “Terrorism is not simply a result of hostility to U.S. policy in Iraq.”

FACT: Former neocon Francis Fukuyama, author of a new book highly critical of Bush’s handling of Iraq, writes: “By invading Iraq, the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, a training ground and an operational basis for jihadists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at.” [Christian Science Monitor, 3/15/06]

NSS: “Iraqi soldiers are sacrificing to defeat al-Qaida in their own country.”

FACT: The State Department’s newly released Human Rights Report condemns Iraq’s police for “intimidation, beatings, and suspension by the arms or legs, as well as the reported use of electric drills and cords and the application of electric shocks.” [New York Times, 3/9/06]

NSS: “Al-Qaida has lost its safe haven in Afghanistan.”

FACT: “Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network has increased its activities in Afghanistan, smuggling in explosives, high-tech weapons and millions of dollars in cash for a resurgent terror campaign, the defense minister said Wednesday.” [AP, 11/16/05]

American Progress has its own progressive National Security Strategy — check it out here.