Nice Surge You Got There. Shame It Isn't Going to Work.


Spencer Ackerman has already paged through the National Intelligence Estimate and reports that the conclusions are grim.

The Sunnis remain "unwilling to accept minority status" and believe the Shiite majority is a stalking horse for Iran. The Shiites remain "deeply insecure" about their hold on power, meaning that the Shiite leadership views U.S.-desired compromises—on oil, federalism and power-sharing—as a threat to its position. Perhaps most ominously, the upcoming referendum on the oil-rich, multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk threatens to be explosive, as the Kurds are determined to finally regain full control over the city.

Interestingly, the listed prospects for reversing Iraq's deterioration contradict the NIE's assessment of where things actually stand. For instance, "broader Sunni acceptance of the current political structure and federalism" and "significant concessions by Shia and Kurds" could lead to stability—but the NIE's earlier section viewed both these events as unlikely. To put this in the realm of the current debate, President Bush's "surge" is designed to give political breathing room to events that the intelligence community formally judges as unrealistic.

Mickey Kaus is asking if surge opponents are taking a risk in opposing something that could work. If that's even possible, I suppose hawks have got to hope that our intelligence is as lousy now as it was in 2002.

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  1. The Sunnis remain “unwilling to accept minority status”

    But….they’re 20% of the population…. WTF? I thought Arabs invented math!

  2. To be fair to “our intelligence,” the CIA went to great lengths to point out that the WMD intelligence was shaky back in 2002.

  3. I can’t be certain, but after reading a lot of different points of view and filtering a lot of sturm and drang I think what is most likely behind the surge idea is a backroom deal with Saudi Arabia and Jordan that they won’t fuel the Sunni insurgency (any more than they already have) if we kick the Shia and Iran in the teeth. In other words, it’s probably an effort to keep things from getting worse. If so, that is very bad news, because if you are fighting to keep from losing you are eventually going to lose.

  4. How long does it have to be said before the nitwits accept reality?

    Three different countries, please.

  5. Russ: The Saudis will never accept a Shia republic on their border.

  6. Three different countries, please.

    There’s one vote for Biden.

  7. joe,

    The CIA couldn’t predict the collapse of the Soviet Union- (while a borderline senile retired b-movie actor could)

    They haven’t done anything right since they capped Che or Salvador Allende.

  8. But what nobody wants to talk about is what happens if we fail…only the president has the MORAL COURAGE and SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY to outline a plan to avert catastrophe.

  9. It falls to me to make the “Why does the National Intelligence Estimate hate America?” joke. I shall not fail.

  10. Mickey Kaus gives Douglas Feith a strong running in the stupidest effing guy on earth competition.

  11. he CIA went to great lengths to point out that the WMD intelligence was shaky back in 2002.

    So, the slam-dunk comment was not uttered by the head of the CIA?

  12. The political appointee who sits in the DCI chair is not “the CIA.” He’s one person, and his assertion did not jibe with what the professional were saying.

  13. “”So, the slam-dunk comment was not uttered by the head of the CIA?”””

    Sure it was, but many within the CIA disagreed with that assessment. Tenet was speaking for the President, not his rank and file.

    Check this out

    “””Mickey Kaus gives Douglas Feith a strong running in the stupidest effing guy on earth competition.”””

    But does he have holes in his socks?

  14. I don’t believe that the administration has any plan that envisions the escalation actually “working”. This is all about setting up to attack Iran. The Administration has no compunctions about sacrificing American lives and money in its loyal service to the right wing of Israeli polity and its neocon supporters.

    The idea also is to keep American troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future for what they perceive is the good of the Israeli state.

    Only a strong protest can avert the tragedy of another needless war.

    “The ‘Surge’ Is A Red Herring”
    by Paul Craig Roberts

    “Bush Is About to Attack Iran
    Why Can’t Americans See it?”
    by Paul Craig Roberts

  15. “Iran: A War Is Coming”

    by John Pilger

    “Next on Bush’s ‘Hit List'”

    by Gordon Prather

  16. Pull that “surge” out your trousers and hurt me, President Bush.

  17. Lindsey Graham (R, NC),
    I happened to catch a glimpse of myself as I was walking naked by a mirror recently.

    On the other hand, your don’t look so good yourself.

  18. Fellow President,
    Bring you and your surge on! by yumpin’ yimminy!
    (We know what your new admiral is plotting. Duh.)

  19. If this doesn’t work, we can always try again with even more troops.

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