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New NIE Sees Progress In Iraq – Media Despairs

From a despondent New York Times:

U.S. Study Finds Progress in Iraq, but Fragile Security and Potential for Terror Attacks

By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT
April 4, 2008

WASHINGTON—A new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq cites significant security improvements and progress toward healing sectarian political rifts, but concludes that security remains fragile and terrorist groups remain capable of initiating large attacks, several American government officials said this week.

The classified document provides a more upbeat analysis of conditions in Iraq than the last major assessment by United States spy agencies, last summer. It was completed this week, just days before the top American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, is due in Washington to give lawmakers a progress report on the military strategy in Iraq.

While the last assessment painted a grim picture of an Iraqi government paralyzed by sectarian strife, the new intelligence estimate cites slow but steady progress by Iraqi politicians on forging alliances between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, said the government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the document is classified.

At the same time, officials said that the document detailed several factors that could reverse these trends: including a campaign of violence by Shiite splinter groups and the possibility that the government would not carry out a series of reconciliation laws Iraq’s Parliament passed recently. Some Bush administration officials said that the report presented positive news, but they remained cautious about the future.

“The N.I.E. update confirmed that the surge strategy the president announced in January of last year is working,” said one senior administration official. “There’s more work to be done, but progress has obviously been made.” …

How about that headline? The Times can’t let anyone get the impression that the news from Iraq is good.

Meanwhile the Washington Post is quoting that maven of foreign policy, Mr. Joseph Biden thusly:

"The stuff that was positive, they emphasized. The negative, they stated, but deemphasized," said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.). Biden chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was briefed on the intelligence estimate early this week.

"I was discouraged" by the assessment, Biden said. "I was discouraged by the last one, too."

Of course he is discouraged. His side (the terrorists) are losing.

We have a similar insight from another Solon of the Senate, Carl Levin, via CNN:

"In my judgment it’s too rosy, but there are parts of it that are not so rosy and both pieces need to be declassified," Sen. Carl Levin told CNN, pointing in particular to the portion of the report describing Iraq’s political progress…

Luckily for Messers Biden and Levin and the rest of the defeat-at-any-price Democrats this will be the first and last time we ever hear about this much too positive NIE.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 4th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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