Thursday, June 29, 2006

US Losing War on Terrorism

US Losing War on Terrorism
By Bob Deans
Cox News Service

Thursday 29 June 2006

Poll finds that more than 8 in 10 respondents blame the Iraq war.

Washington - The United States is losing its fight against terrorism and the Iraq war is the biggest reason why, more than eight of 10 American terrorism and national security experts concluded in a poll released Wednesday.

One participant in the survey, a former CIA official who described himself as a conservative Republican, said the war in Iraq has provided global terrorist groups with a recruiting bonanza, a valuable training ground and a strategic beachhead at the crossroads of the oil-rich Persian Gulf and Turkey, the traditional land bridge linking the Middle East to Europe.

"The war in Iraq broke our back in the war on terror," said the former official, Michael Scheuer, the author of "Imperial Hubris," a popular book highly critical of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism efforts. "It has made everything more difficult and the threat more existential."

Scheuer, a former counterterrorism expert with the CIA, is one of more than 100 national security and terrorism analysts who were surveyed this spring for the poll by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress.

The left-leaning think tank is headed by John Podesta, who served as White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration.

Of the experts polled, 45 identified themselves as liberals, 40 said they were moderates and 31 called themselves conservatives. The pollsters then weighted the responses so that the percentage results reflected one-third participation by each group.

Asked whether the United States is "winning the war on terror," 84 percent said no and 13 percent answered yes.

Asked whether the war in Iraq is helping or hurting the global anti-terrorism campaign, 87 percent answered that it was undermining those efforts. A similar number, 86 percent, said the world is becoming "more dangerous for the United States and the American people."

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken June 22-25, 57 percent of respondents said America's efforts to fight terrorism are going well; 41 percent said they are not going well.

In the same poll, 59 percent said the country is safer from terrorism today than it was before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, while just 33 percent said the country is less safe.

The poll surveyed 1,000 adults nationwide and has a 3 percentage point margin of error.

The experts' poll was taken in March and April, before two significant milestones in Iraq: the formation of a new government and the killing by U.S. bombs of Abu Musab Zarqawi, who led al-Qaida in Iraq.

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