The Bush administration has regularly claimed that U.S. involvement in Iraq “will lead to a much safer world for our children and our grandchildren.” America’s foreign policy experts, however, strongly disagree.
In the third release of the “Terrorism Index,” a survey conducted by the Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy, a bipartisan group of more than 100 respected foreign policy experts see a more dangerous world and a war in Iraq that is “alarmingly” off course. Participants included senior government and intelligence officials, military commanders, and noted academics. Eighty percent have served in the government, including more than half in the executive branch, 32 percent in the military, and 21 percent in the intelligence community.
Their conclusions are deeply critical of the Bush administration’s national security priorities. The war in Iraq, however, received the harshest criticisms:
92 percent said the war in Iraq negatively affects national security.
53 percent oppose decision to increase troops in Iraq (up 22 points from six months ago).
68 percent favor redeploying U.S. forces from Iraq over the next 18 months.
64 percent of conservative experts say the surge is having either a negative impact or no impact. 25 percent of the conservatives favor immediate withdrawal.
Only five percent of the experts believe al Qaeda will be weaker as a result of the escalation, and only three percent believe Iraq will become a “beacon of democracy.”
On the terrorist threat:
84 percent believe the U.S. is not winning the war on terror.
91 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for the United States.
80 percent favor sanctions or diplomatic measures to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
While the administration has frequently fearmongered that the terrorist threat will “follow us home” after withdrawal, the experts disagree. Eighty-eight percent — including 58 percent of conservatives — believe it is unlikely that “terrorist attacks would occur in the United States as a direct result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.”