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Posted: 9/16/2004 10:06:22 AM EDT
I just read this on Yahoo news:


U.S. Intelligence Offers Gloomy Outlook for Iraq

By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. intelligence report prepared for President Bush (news - web sites) in July offered a gloomy outlook for Iraq (news - web sites) through the end of 2005, with the worst scenario being a deterioration into civil war, U.S. government officials said on Thursday.

The report is at odds with the generally optimistic tenor of the Bush's administration's public statements on Iraq, although Bush said last week it was "still tough" there but insisted elections would be held as scheduled in January despite doubts.

The National Intelligence Estimate, which is a compilation of views from various intelligence agencies, predicted three possible scenarios ranging from a tenuous stability to political fragmentation to the most negative assessment of civil war, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"There doesn't seem to be much optimism," the official said.

Another official added, "It's a difficult environment, a challenging environment."

As recently as Wednesday, the White House was maintaining a positive tone about progress in Iraq.

"You know, every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists and hand-wringers who said it can't be done," White House spokesman Scott McClellan had said.

Officials said the 50-page classified intelligence report lays out the challenges ahead so U.S. policy-makers can address them, and intentionally looks at worst-case scenarios like the possibility of civil war.


The July estimate was initiated under former CIA (news - web sites) Director George Tenet, who stepped down in July. The conclusions were reached before the recent worsening of Iraq's security situation.

Iraq has been gripped by an insurgency involving constant attacks on U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians and the kidnapping and beheading of foreigners. More than 1,000 American troops have died.

On Thursday, gunmen snatched two Americans and a Briton from a Baghdad house.

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry (news - web sites) has been harshly critical of Bush's decision to take the United States into war in Iraq. A new television ad by a Kerry-supporting organization, Moveon.org, included the line: "George Bush (news - web sites) got us into this quagmire. It will take a new president to get us out."

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites), in a report to the Security Council last week, said the persistent violence in Iraq would make it difficult to hold elections in January.

The previous National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in October 2002 has been highly criticized for its assessments that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, when no large stockpiles have been found since the U.S. invasion in March 2003.

The 2002 report was a key piece of intelligence used by the Bush administration in making its case for going to war. It was later criticized for not taking into account dissenting views from some intelligence agencies about the status of Iraq's banned weapons programs.

National Intelligence Estimates are produced by the National Intelligence Council, which reports to the CIA director.

Link Posted: 9/16/2004 10:07:40 AM EDT
People said the same things about Germany after WWII...give it time...
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 10:12:15 AM EDT
I fear that Iraq will descend into chaos within a few years of us leaving. I could be wrong (and hope I am) after all Turkey functions fairly well as a democracy, but they (Turkey) have long embraced change and western technology and ideas. Muslim countries need to cherish a Consititution more than they cherish their misinterpretations of the Koran or Quran or Qu'ran or however it's being spelled this month.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 11:08:59 AM EDT
Things are usually not as good as, or bad as, the experts say they are.

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