"Dr. Emile A. Nakhleh served in the CIA for 15 years and retired on June 30, 2006, as the Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, the intelligence community's premier group dedicated to the issue of political Islam. His research has focused on political Islam, political and educational reform, regime stability, and governance in the greater Middle East. " This interview is from Harper's... we already know this but substantiates our knowledge: http://harpers.org/sb-six-questions-emile-nakhleh-1158706094.html 2. What accounts for the failure of American policy in Iraq? The main reason for our failure in Iraq was not looking at the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“morning after.Ă˘â‚¬ It was obvious that the military campaign would succeed, but there was also an ideological view among some administration officials that we would be received as liberators. Those people did not understand that just because the Iraqis hated Saddam, that didn't mean they would like our occupation. Iraq was more complex than just Saddam. We should have learned from the experience of the British in the 1920s, when modern Iraq was createdĂ˘â‚¬â€ťnamely, that bringing in outside leaders would not work. People expressed views about the need to plan for a post-Saddam Iraq, about the potential for sectarian violence and the rise of militias, about the fact that the Shiites would want to rise politically. These were not minority views in the intelligence community, but the administration ended up listening to other voices. The focus was on invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam, and after that everything would be fine and dandy. 5. What is the likely political fallout from the Iraqi debacle and from the failures of the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“war on terrorismĂ˘â‚¬? We've lost a generation of goodwill in the Muslim world. The President's democratization and reform program for the Middle East has all but disappeared, except for official rhetoric. That was the centerpiece of the President's policies for the region, and now no one is talking about it. We have lost credibility across the Islamic world regarding Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“democracyĂ˘â‚¬ and Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“representative governmentĂ˘â‚¬ and Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“justice.Ă˘â‚¬ We are devising new rules and regulations for holding people without charge. The FBI has been at Guantanamo for years, and no charges have been brought against anyone. The Islamic world says Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“you talk about human rights, but you're holding people without charging them.Ă˘â‚¬ The Islamic world has always viewed the war on terror as a war on Islam and we have not been able to disabuse them of that notion. Because of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and other abuses we have lost on the concepts of justice, fairness and the rule of law, and that's the heart of the American idea. That's very serious, and that's where I see the danger in the years ahead. 6. Is there an inherent threat to Western democracies from the Islamic world? No, there's only a threat from those who use Islam for ideological reasons and who are willing to employ violence. There are 1.4 billion people in the Islamic world and only a tiny minority, maybe 2 or 3 percent, are politically active. Just like Jews and Christians, most have kids to raise and bills to pay. Most view Islam as a personal and societal force, not a political one, and only a tiny minority becomes terrorists. There are hundreds of political parties in the Muslim world, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Yemen, Pakistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Those parties and their supporters have participated in many elections, and some times they have won and some times they have lost, but they have largely recognized the results. Not all are necessarily interested in creating Sharia societies. Even Hamas highlighted its opposition to Israel and service to society, not religious issues. Political Islam is not a threatĂ˘â‚¬â€ťthe threat is if people become disenchanted with the political process and democracy, and opt for violence. There is a real danger from a few terrorists and we should go after them, but the longer-term threat is that people opt out of the system. We need to not only speak out in favor of democracy and political reform, but also act on that as well.