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Center for American Progress

FOREIGN POLICY/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index
Press Release

FOREIGN POLICY/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index

Bipartisan Survey of National Security Experts Says Iraq War Is Making the World Less Safe for Americans; Predicts Another 9/11-Scale Attack Within the Next Decade

Complete results and experts available for comment at: AmericanProgress.org and ForeignPolicy.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan survey of America’s leading foreign-policy experts reports that the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans and that the Iraq war is the principal reason, according to the second installment of the Terrorism Index, produced by FOREIGN POLICY magazine and the Center for American Progress.

The survey of more than 100 experts—released today exclusively online at www.ForeignPolicy.com and center-for-american-progress.vipdev.lndo.site—is the only comprehensive effort to determine the U.S. foreign-policy establishment’s assessment of the war on terror and the state of U.S. national security.

A majority of respondents—which include a former secretary of state, national security advisor, and National Security Agency director—report both that the United States is losing the war on terror (75 percent) and that the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans (81 percent). Eighty-two percent say they expect another 9/11-scale attack on U.S. soil at some point in the next decade.

When asked to identify the principal reason why the world is becoming more dangerous, the greatest number of experts (41 percent) named the Iraq war, more than triple the number of those that named Islamic extremism or any other cause. In the previous edition of the index, released in June, 2006, only 28 percent answered the Iraq war to the same question.

Two –thirds of respondents now oppose increasing troop levels in Iraq, with 88 percent saying that the war has had a negative impact on U.S. national security. By contrast, 64 percent believe that the war in Afghanistan has advanced U.S. national security goals and 70 percent support sending more troops to that battlefield.

Other Results:

  • The largest percentage of experts (26 percent[ ranked denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula as the most important task facing U.S. foreign-policymakers, more important than stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan, creating a national missile defense, or convincing Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
  • The experts named Iran (40 percent) and North Korea (35 percent) as the world’s two most dangerous regimes .
  • Seventy-three percent said that North Korea is the country most likely to transfer nuclear technology in the next three to five years. 
  • Seventy-six percent say it is likely or certain that a U.S. citizen motivated by religious extremism will carry out a terrorist attack on American soil in the next five years.
  • Although only 34 percent of experts say al Qaeda has grown stronger in the past year, a majority of experts said that Hamas (56 percent), Hezbollah (91 percent), and the Taliban (83 percent) have all grown in strength during that time.

For complete results of the FOREIGN POLICY/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index, methodology, list of participants, and experts available for comment, visit www.ForeignPolicy.com and center-for-american-progress.vipdev.lndo.site.

About the FOREIGN POLICY/Center for American Progress Terrorism Index:

The Terrorism Index is based on the results of a nonscientific survey designed by the Center for American Progress and FOREIGN POLICY. Participants in the survey were selected by FOREIGN POLICY and the Center for American Progress for their expertise in terrorism and U.S. national security. No one currently working in an official U.S. government capacity was invited to participate.

The nonscientific survey of 116 experts was administered online from Nov. 16, 2006 to Jan. 16, 2007. In the survey, respondents were asked to self-identify their ideological bias from choices across a spectrum: very conservative, conservative, somewhat conservative, moderate, somewhat liberal, liberal, and very liberal. Thirty-one people identified themselves as some level of conservative, 40 identified as moderate, and 45 identified as some level of liberal. To ensure balance, the survey was weighted according to ideology to make the number of weighted liberal respondents equal to the number of conservative respondents. Moderate and conservative respondents remained unweighted.