Monday, September 04, 2006

Upcoming NIE on Iraq Likely to be Ugly

Front paged at Booman Tribune and ePluribus Media. Recommended at Daily Kos

Nearly six weeks ago, six Senate Democrats, including Harry Reid, Joe Biden and Edward Kennedy sent a letter to John Negroponte (Director of National Intelligence for those who aren't "in the know"...) urging an updated National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. For starters, this was long overdue, considering the last one was in 2004, and wasn't too pretty, offering three possibilities in Iraq, ranging from "continued instability" (or "bad") to civil war ("worst").

Of course, since then things have gotten completely out of hand and we are now stuck in that "worst" scenario, even though many officials still have their heads in their asses the sand and deny the obvious. And just three days ago, Negroponte decided to draft an updated NIE.

This, in and of itself is pretty big news, but the report will likely be pretty scary as far as the content.

For starters, the NIE isn't really just a nonsense piece of BushCo neocon propaganda, as it is the judgment of the entire intelligence community and as a good example, the NIE on Iran indicates that they are around 10 years from having a nuclear bomb. While much, if not all of the NIE is pretty much classified, for obvious reasons, there have been pieces that were declassified in the past.

With respect to Iraq, the request from Democratic Senators asks some pointed questions in the area of Security, US force levels, Terrorism, Civil War and other areas, including the following:

Is Iraq in or descending into a civil war?

What factors will prevent or reverse deterioration of the sectarian situation?

Is Iraq succeeding in standing up effective security forces?

What factors will increase the chances of that occurring?

To what extent are militias providing security in Iraq?

To what extent has the Government of Iraq developed and implemented a credible plan to disarm and demobilize and reintegrate militias into government security forces?

To what extent is the Government of Iraq working to obtain a political commitment from political parties to ban militias?

What is the threat from violent extremist- related terrorism, including Al Qaeda, in and from Iraq?

What factors will address the terrorist threat?

Is Iraq succeeding in creating a stable and effective unity government?

What is the likelihood that changes to the constitution will be made to address concerns of the Sunni community?

What factors will increase the chances of that occurring?

Is Iraq succeeding in rebuilding its economy and creating economic prosperity for Iraqis?

What factors will increase the chances of that occurring?

According to press accounts, the 2004 NIE contained analysis on three possible scenarios for Iraq's stability through the end of 2005. What are the scenarios through 2007?

In what ways is the large-scale presence of multi-national forces helping or hindering Iraqis' chances of success?

All fair questions, if you ask me. And on this anniversary of 9/11, where we will no doubt see more puff pieces downplaying the complete mishandling of just about everything since January 2001 (and I don't care that all or some of this was "the grand plan"), we deserve answers.

Either way you look at this, it ain't too good. Take the lines being touted this past week that the threat to Iraq from foreign terrorist groups is receding as indicated by General John Abizaid:

Army Gen. John Abizaid, the top officer in Central Command, told Congress on Thursday that al Qaeda in Iraq's ranks had been "significantly depleted" since the June 7 death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Its members, he said, now total "less than 1,000."

That is far below earlier estimates, though several officials said Friday that not all within the intelligence community agree with Abizaid's number.

Over the past year, intelligence and military officials have said foreign fighters made up less than 10 percent of the roughly 20,000 insurgents in Iraq.

Well, ok - if that is true, then we are basically fighting against Iraqis who want us out - those who don't want a foreign force occupying their country. Oh, and stuck in the middle of a raging civil war, a civil war that we have no business being in the middle of, and no reason to be a referee in. That certainly isn't part of the "course that we should be staying". And it also means that the total bullshit line about Iraq being the "central front in the WarOnTerraTM" is just that - total bullshit.

Or, take it the other way - there are more foreign terrorists in Iraq than we estimate. Then what? We know that they weren't there before we invaded, despite how loud some on the "right" want to scream it. And before anyone thinks that the capture of the five hundredth "number two man" would lead to more stability, we find today that 33 bullet riddled and tortured bodies were found today throughout Baghdad.

A short article on gives a hint of what can possibly be expected from the upcoming NIE:

The contents of the report may have been foreshadowed in a recent series of closed-door briefings given to Congress by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon's intelligence arm painted a scenario in which Iraq could dissolve into civil war if Iraqi security forces don't soon get their act together. One official familiar with the briefing, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive subject matter, said that the picture it painted was dire, although another official--who requested anonymity for the same reason--insisted it was not entirely despairing, since Iraqi security forces were beginning to improve.

The question, of course, is whether this will be enough to smack the percentage of Americans who think that Iraq is still going well or isn't in a civil war or is helping keep us safer in the face.

And will it make those in Congress who are frantically running from Dear Leader in their quest to be a total shameless whore reelected actually stand up and get serious about Iraq - something that they should have done well over three years ago?


PWN said...

This is my first time reading your blog, but it looks like we have pretty similar feelings about Iraq.

I'm doing an informal poll on who outspoken people believe will win the Democratic primary in '08. Would you mind letting me know? You can leave a comment here, if you'd like.


clammyc said...

good question - too early to tell.

My guess is Warner, Clark or Feingold. Of course, if Gore decides to run, I'd say it is him by a mile....