The new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq starkly delineates the gulf that separates President Bush's illusions from the realities of the war. Victory, as the president sees it, requires a stable liberal democracy in Iraq that is pro-American. The NIE describes a war that has no chance of producing that result. In this critical respect, the NIE, the consensus judgment of all the U.S. intelligence agencies, is a declaration of defeat.The NIE is the consensus of the best intelligence that all the federal intelligence agencies have, and frankly came a full year after the American public had already reached the same conclusion.
Its gloomy implications -- hedged, as intelligence agencies prefer, in rubbery language that cannot soften its impact -- put the intelligence community and the American public on the same page. The public awakened to the reality of failure in Iraq last year and turned the Republicans out of control of Congress to wake it up. But a majority of its members are still asleep, or only half-awake to their new writ to end the war soon.
But bubble boy Bush and crazy crackpot Cheney don't want to believe it. So instead of listening to their generals, they have replaced them with a General who agrees with them and with an Admiral to take command of Centcom.
The latter choice is especially interesting. There are only two reasons for choosing an Admiral for Centcom. Reason 1. is that they couldn't find a Four-Star General in the Army or Marine Corps who agreed with them. Reason 2. is that they plan to start an aviation-based attack on Iran soon. [The two reasons are not mutually exclusive.]
Either way, Bush/Cheney/Gates have signalled all of us that the use of reason is not their strong point. But that they have Faith in our ultimate victory as long as we don't turn and leave Iraq.
From a purely political view, I see nothing better for the Democrats in 2008. But that is frankly not worth the American and Iraqi deaths and wounded in the next 23 months.
Gen. Odom has it right. American Victory in Iraq is not an available option. The efforts to achieve it are nothing more that self-destructive and blind-headed idiocy.