For years, the Bush administration has incessantly claimed that Iraq is the “central front” in the war on terror. “Iraq is the central front of al Qaeda’s global campaign,” the White House claims. But a draft of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released this week concludes that Afghanistan is in a “downward spiral.”
After the new NIE draft, however, Bush administration officials are revising their stance. CBS’s Katie Couric reported yesterday that administration officials are now “privately” saying that Afghanistan is the primary national security threat to the U.S.:
A draft of the latest National Intelligence Estimate says conditions are worst now since the 2001 U.S. invasion. Bush administration officials said privately today that Afghanistan is now the single most pressing security threat in the war on terror.
The Center for American Progress and other institutions have warned for years about the growing threat in Afghanistan. On Wednesday, however, the same day as the New York Times reported the details of the NIE, Gov. Sarah Palin told Sean Hannity that Iraq is “the central front there” in the war on terror:
You don’t have to believe me, the hockey mom from Alaska, proclaiming that the war on terror, central front there, has been Iraq. Please, believe Gen. Petraeus, an American hero. Unfortunately, you gotta believe even bin Laden.
Similarly, McCain has long insisted that Iraq is the “central front,” saying so as late as last week’s presidential debate. “General David Petraeus believes Iraq is the central front in the war on terror,” an aide said approvingly in July. His campaign website also trumpets the same claim.
The Bush administration seems to be accepting what the intelligence community and progressives have been saying for years. Will McCain and Palin continue to have their sights set on Iraq in light of the new NIE?