http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/14235657.htm Islamic militants in Iraq are providing military training and other assistance to Taliban and al Qaida fighters from eastern and southern Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal areas, U.S. intelligence officials told Knight Ridder. A small number of Pakistani and Afghan militants are receiving military training in Iraq; Iraqi fighters have met with Afghan and Pakistani extremists in Pakistan; and militants in Afghanistan increasingly are using homemade bombs, suicide attacks and other tactics honed in Iraq, said U.S. intelligence officials and others who track the issue. Several Afghan and Pakistani "exchange students" volunteered to join the fight against American and Iraqi forces in Iraq, but were told to return to Afghanistan and Pakistan to train other militants there, two U.S. intelligence officials said. They and other officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because the intelligence is highly classified. The intelligence suggests that if the trend continues, American forces, already contending with escalating violence in Iraq, could face the same thing in Afghanistan in the coming months, further complicating the Bush administration's plans to withdraw some troops. *** It's obvious that Al Qaida did not have much depth in the U.S. Since 9/11, they haven't waged another attack. They were simply a rag tag army that got lucky on that tragic day as a result, in part of intelligence failures by the Bush administration. But, now we are turning Al Qaida into the monster we fear -- Iraq has proven a tremendous training ground and recruitment for all sorts of radicals who hate America. Using Iraqi and American troops as target practice has helped them develop skills at battling a superpower. We have made them stronger, and now they are training others. Bush and his supporters have made the world a more dangerous place, and let's not forget that since 9/11, 2,500 American soldiers have died and thousands more have been injured. It seems unlikely that if we had not gone to war in Iraq we would have suffered so much more loss.