The world is becoming a more dangerous place for Americans and the United States, with the war in Iraq playing a key role in worsening prospects for US national security, according to a majority of the experts surveyed for Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress's Terrorism Index.
For the third installment of the Index, Foreign Policy and CAP selected 100 experts from all political persuasions, with 80 percent of the participants hailing from former government service—including more than half in the Executive Branch, 32 percent in the military, and 21 percent in the intelligence community. A selection of results from the Index appear below.
--Fully 91 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10 percentage points since February.
--Eighty-four percent do not believe the United States is winning the war on terror, an increase of 9 percentage points from six months ago.
--More than 80 percent expect a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 within a decade, a result that is more or less unchanged from one year ago.
--Ninety-one percent of the index’s experts said the war in Iraq negatively affects U.S. national security, an increase of 5 percentage points from a year ago. Negative perceptions of the war in Iraq are shared across the political spectrum, with 84 percent of those who describe themselves as conservative taking a dim view of the war’s impact.
--More than half say the surge is having a negative impact on U.S. national security, up 22 percentage points from just six months ago. This sentiment was shared across party lines, with 64 percent of conservative experts saying the surge is having either a negative impact or no impact at all.
--Sixty-eight percent favor redeploying U.S. forces from Iraq during the next 18 months. One in 5, including 25 percent of conservatives, now favor an immediate withdrawal.
--Only 12 percent believe that terrorist attacks would occur in the United States as a direct result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. Eighty-eight percent of the experts said that either such a scenario was unlikely or that they see no connection between a troop withdrawal from Iraq and terrorist attacks inside the United States.
--Though a majority—83 percent—do not believe Tehran when it says its nuclear program is intended for peaceful, civilian purposes, just 8 percent favor military strikes in response. Eight in 10, on the other hand, say the United States should use either sanctions or diplomatic talks to negotiate an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.