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CFR warns of post-Iraq blowback.

The term "blowback" refers to unintended negative consequences of an intelligence or military operation. The classic case study is offered by Washington's support for the radical Islamists among Afghanistan's Mujahedeen, who battled against the occupying Soviet Army in the 1980s. By lavishing financial and military support on the most anti-Western elements of the Islamic resistance, Washington created the terrorist network now known as al-Qaeda.

"The current war in Iraq will generate a ferocious blowback of its own, which--as a recent classified CIA assessment predicts--could be longer and more powerful than that from Afghanistan," observe Peter Bergen and Alec Reynolds in the November/December issue of the Council on Foreign Relations journal Foreign Affairs. "Foreign volunteers fighting U.S. troops in Iraq today will find new targets around the world after the war ends. Yet the Bush administration, consumed with managing countless crises in Iraq, has devoted little time to preparing for such long-term consequences."

"President George W. Bush and others have suggested that it is better for the United States to fight the terrorists in Baghdad than in Boston," continue Bergen and Reynolds. "It is a comforting thought, but it is wrong on two counts. First, it posits a finite number of terrorists who can be lured to one place and killed. But the Iraq war has expanded the terrorists' ranks: the year 2003 saw the highest incidence of significant terrorist attacks in two decades, and then, in 2004, astonishingly, that number tripled.... Second, the Bush administration has not addressed the question of what the foreign fighters will do when the war in Iraq ends. It would be naive to expect them to return to civilian life in their home countries. More likely, they will become the new shock troops of the international jihadist movement."
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Title Annotation:INSIDE REPORT
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 14, 2005
Words:295
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