That theory is only half right, according to Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank in an upcoming issue of Mother Jones. Iraq has drawn fighters from around the world, many seeking to conduct suicide attacks against the US or against Iraqis, they say.
However, they argue that Iraq has not only become a cause celèbre driving anti-American sentiment, it has also become a tactical training ground, where extremists cultivate their expertise, and has led to more effective terrorism against targets outside of Iraq.
They assemble hard data to make their point, arguing that:
that the Iraq War has generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.
Check out the full article, entitled "The Iraq Effect," available only on Slogger: bergen_cruickshank_MoJo.pdf