NAKHLEH ON IRAQ….Until recently, Emile Nakhleh worked for the CIA as head of its Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program. Over at Harper’s, Ken Silverstein has six questions for him. Here’s an excerpt:

4. What should the United States do in Iraq now?

I have come to believe that our presence is part of the problem and that we should begin to seriously devise an exit strategy. There’s a civil war in Iraq and our presence is contributing to the violence. We’ve become a lightning rod ? we’re not restricting the violence, we’re contributing to it…..

5. What is the likely political fallout from the Iraqi debacle and from the failures of the ?war on terrorism??

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….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.

A generation of goodwill. That’s a generation we couldn’t afford to lose, and a missed opportunity that will haunt us for years.

Nakhleh also says that the CIA knew full well that Saddam Hussein never had any serious connection to al-Qaeda, that Guantanamo is full of detainees known to be innocent, and that killing terrorists isn’t enough to end terrorism. Read the whole thing.