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Experts: Bush's Terror Strategy Backfiring
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The Bush administration's strategy is making the terror threat much worse from the long-term perspective, some experts believe.

"I believe we have done well in some tactical areas, but we are slipping strategically. That is to say, our actions over the long term are making the terror threat much worse," said Daniel Benjamin, a senior fellow with the Washington-based think tank, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

"Although we have made some tactical strides in terms of dismantling al-Qaida, the threat has spread to many different regions," he said.

Benjamin said he "absolutely" did not believe that Iraq was the right place to fight terrorism.

"I consider now as I did at the time that the invasion of Iraq is a huge mistake," he added.
The United States is not going to win the war on terror very soon because "the consequences of going into Iraq are going to be with us for a while and has set us back considerably," he added.

The way the United States will win over the terror threat is "by convincing the Muslim world that there is a viable way to be modernized and that part of the world has an interest in being allied with the West," he said. "But we are not doing that."

"I think the struggle against terrorism is going to be quite long. And the question is, how long will it be before we start to go into the right direction?" said Benjamin, who served the National Security Council in the Clinton administration from 1994 to 1999.

If Democrats take over the Congress in November, that may bring changes to Iraq, but that "is not going to make the jihadist threat go away," he said.

On the possibility of another 9/11-like attack, Benjamin said, "I think at the moment that the ability of those who are most skilled to carry out catastrophic attacks has been limited, so we are more likely to see attacks on the scale of Madrid in places like Europe or the Mideast."

"But I don't think you can really rule out a catastrophic attack because these (terrorists) are very capable actors," he added.

Benjamin said he did not believe eliminating al-Qaida meant the war was won.

"I think it (terrorism) is a very durable ideology. It appears that their ranks are growing," he said.

The fact that the nation has not been hit since September 11, 2001, may say as much about terrorists' patience as it does about steps taken to stop them.

(China Daily September 11, 2006)

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