"We Misjudged Their Tenacity"


That's what an unidentified "senior U.S. intelligence official" tells USA Today with regard to senior Baath Party officials and Iraqi generals the U.S. had hoped would defect. The paper reports that the three-month effort to win defections and create a possible coup is now being throttled down.

Maybe not so much tenacity was misjudged as intelligence. No one is going to switch sides until they are relatively sure they are switching to the winning team. And, unlike Afghanistan, potential switchers are not largely independent warlords beyond the reach of the central government.

Switch too soon on the outskirts of Baghdad and you could wind up in one of Saddam's people-shredders.