Friday, February 02, 2007

National Intelligence Estimate: Iraq

The NIE is out and it's not pretty. My summary:
  • A military surge won't work unless the Iraqis decide they want to get along.
  • The Iraqis don't appear to be anywhere near deciding they want to get along.
  • Our presence won't stop Iraq's descent into violence and our departure will hasten it.
  • Yes, it's a civil war.
  • No, it's not Iran's fault.
  • There are still plenty of ways it can get worse.
On a side note, Stephen Hadley and the White House are still refusing to say the words "civil war" when discussing Iraq. They kind of remind me of my kids. At one point or another, each of my kids believed that if they put their hands over their eyes, whatever was in front of them at that moment would disappear. To a child, this is the handiest way to deal with trouble... for example, when caught making snow angels in laundry soap. And so I find the state of WH denial childish, as if closing their eyes to reality means it doesn't exist. Except they aren't kids, and it's not soap, and I don't find it amusing.

The whole situation smacks of desperation so I had to agree with Josh Marshall when he said this:
"I've said this before. But perhaps it seemed like hyperbole so I'll say it again. The president's interests are now radically disjoined from the country's. We can handle a setback like Iraq. It really is a big disaster. But America will certainly survive it. President Bush -- in the sense of his legacy and historical record -- won't. It's all Iraq for him. And Iraq is all disaster. So, from his perspective (that is to say, through the prism of his interests rather than the country's -- which he probably can't separate) reckless gambits aimed at breaking out of this ever-tightening box make sense.

Think of it like this. He's a death row prisoner concocting a thousand-to-one plan to break out of prison. For him, those are good odds. The rest of us are doing three months for disorderly conduct. And he's trying to rope us into his harebrained scheme. Like I said, his interests are very different from ours."


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