Now, they are saying it out loud.
U.S. terrorism experts Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon have reached a stark conclusion about the war on terrorism: the United States is losing.
Despite an early victory over the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the two former Clinton administration officials say President George W. Bush's policies have created a new haven for terrorism in Iraq that escalates the potential for Islamic violence against Europe and the United States.
America's badly damaged image in the Muslim world could take more than a generation to set right. And Bush's mounting political woes at home have undermined the chance for any bold U.S. initiatives to address the grim social realities that feed Islamic radicalism, they say.
"It's been fairly disastrous," said Benjamin, who worked as a director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council from 1994 to 1999.