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the first formal examination of global terrorist trends written by the National Intelligence Council since the March 2003 invasion
The conduct of the Iraq war fuelled Islamic fundamentalism across the globe and created more enemies for the United States, a retired U.S. Army general who served in the conflict said on Monday.
The views of retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste buttressed an assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, which intelligence officials said concluded the war had inspired Islamist extremists and made the militant movement more dangerous.
The Iraq conflict, which began in March 2003, made "America arguably less safe now than it was on September 11, 2001," Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004-2005, told a hearing on the war called by U.S. Senate Democrats.
"If we had seriously laid out and considered the full range of requirements for the war in Iraq, we would likely have taken a different course of action that would have maintained a clear focus on our main effort in Afghanistan, not fuelled Islamic fundamentalism across the globe, and not created more enemies than there were insurgents," Batiste said.
Bush said media accounts of the report "create confusion in the minds" of Americans and suggested the report had been leaked for political purposes.
Bush said. "We're not going to let lies and propaganda by the enemy dictate how we win this war."
White House admits Iraq fuels extremism
The White House acknowledged Monday that Iraq was among several factors that "fuel the spread of jihadism," but said that winning the war would dishearten potential terrorists.
Spokesman Tony Snow sought to challenge news reports on Sunday about the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq and terrorism, which represents the comprehensive consensus findings of the 16 US intelligence agencies.
"It assesses that a variety of factors, in addition to Iraq, fuel the spread of jihadism, including longstanding social grievances, slowness of the pace of reform, and the use of the Internet," he told reporters.