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The NIE - unfiltered
Posted by: mcq on Friday, August 24, 2007

Tired of trying to figure out what the NIE says through media filters? No problem. Here are the four pages of "Key Judgements" unfiltered (all emphasis in the original:

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I found no real surprises in the "Key Judgements". It notes the bottom-up reconciliation, says most desired results, at least militarily and pertaining to security, are 6 to 12 months away, says the government to this point is still non-functional (again, the Surge's purpose is to provide enough security to remedy this) and finally, that Iraq's neighbors aren't particularly good neighbors. It also points out any redeployment of CF now would erode the recent progress noted.

In my opinion, you've just read the gist of the report that Congress will hear from Petraeus and Crocker in mid-September.

Other Opinions - See if you agree:

The Washington Post - Walter Pincus: “NIE Cites 'Uneven' Security Gains, Faults Iraqi Leaders

The New York Times - Mark Mazzetti: “Report Raises Strong Doubt About Iraqi Government

The Politico - Mike Allen: “Intelligence Briefers Call Iraq 'Grave'

The Hill - Klaus Marre: “Intelligence Report Details Ups And Downs In Iraq

The Washington Times - Bill Gertz and S.A. Miller: “U.S. Sees Stability Expanding In Iraq

The Houston Chronicle - Warren P. Strobel and Leila Fadel: “New Intel Analysis Gives Gloomy Forecast For Iraq
 
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Comments
And Hat Tip to Instapundit

Democratic Brian Baird’s views on the surge.

More strongly stated than I’d expect, really.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Go read Kevin Drum’s post on the Brookings data, 06 vs. 07. He’s caught up to me. The heck with political progress, the real question is: how much military progress has there really been, and whatever the fraction is, what is its military significance in estimating or predicting future military success?

Not much, says the data. Unless the data is wrong. Someone informed told me just last night that the percentage of attacks in Anbar attributable to ISI is 50%, not 5%. I have no way of knowing for sure except by comparison and contrast of public information.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
The heck with political progress, the real question is: how much military progress has there really been, and whatever the fraction is, what is its military significance in estimating or predicting future military success?
Phase II of the surge is less than 90 days old and as the NIE points out "We assess, to the extent that Coalition forces continue to conduct robust counterinsurgency operations and mentor and support the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), that Iraq’s security will continue to improve modestly during the next six to 12 months but that levels of insurgent and sectarian violence will remain high."

No surprise. The north of Iraq is mostly peaceful. Anbar is now mostly peaceful. East of Baghdad (Baquba) is much more peaceful. Other than the British zone in Basra, most of the South is more peaceful.

Most likely now, more than 80% of the violence in Iraq is happening in and around Baghdad (in fact it may be up to 90 to 95%) and we have active and continuing operations there and still haven’t taken on all of Sadr city.

The operations begun by the Surge will most likely continue until about April of next year. So have a little patience will you? Obviously people who’ve been in Iraq in both ’06 and ’07 see enough of a change (which may or not be captured by specific numbers) that they feel giving it more time to be a prudent step ... and that includes a lot of Democrats.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Obviously people who’ve been in Iraq in both ’06 and ’07 see enough of a change (which may or not be captured by specific numbers)

I don’t doubt that some people in Anbar have switched sides. But you’re way past that here.

There’s no way a large decline in overall violence could not be captured by specific numbers, unless the numbers were worthless, and that doesn’t square with the way their data has matched the narrative for the past three years. This is the only time since the initial fairy tales of 2003- 2004 that the narrative and the data have diverged. The only thing that speculatively comes to mind is to imagine that violence went up in Baghdad at an equal rate to the decline everywhere else. That seems unlikely. Otherwise, there just has not been a decline in overall violence. Or else the numbers are wrong. Not "not capturing", but inaccurate.

If there has not been a decline in overall violence, in my opinion, whatever perceived military success has occurred is strategically insignificant. It’s just more whack-a-mole.

If there’s some specific way in which such a decline could "not be captured", feel free to explain. Something like, "ok, just as many people are being killed, but there’s a lot of success anyway."? Or some factor that makes DOD’s numbers wrong?

It’s a lot more logical to believe that the specific people being chosen by DoD and the White House to get quotes from in Iraq are people whose tactical environments have seen progress, and that this represents a subset whose size is not nationally significant.

I believe that it’s possible that the surge could have produced a limited and temporary drop in violence. (I think it’s impossible that the surge could return Iraq to "normal", but that’s not the issue at hand). If the White House and military’s own data matched what they were saying, I would be skeptical, but not disbelieving. But if you ask me, "who do you believe, the numbers or the spokesmen", there’s no way to believe it. It’s comparable to Larry Kudlow saying, "the economy is fine!" while the mortgage numbers go in the tank. I ask "what explains this?", and they say, "**pay no attention to that**". People can always be dishonest, manipulative or simply misinformed. Numbers may not be the whole story, but it’s foolish to believe a story that runs exactly opposite to them. Either the numbers or the people telling the stories have to be flat-out wrong.

Don’t try to suggest to me to give the surge more time. I was deliberately not even getting into "so what should we do?", because you’re about three or four separate arguments away from changing my mind on that, even if the surge was meeting the suggested level of "modest success". I’m just trying to figure out if the "modest success" is even real in any factual sense. I have not answered that question.

Never mind.

that they feel giving it more time to be a prudent step ... and that includes a lot of Democrats.

I thought those Democrats were, to paraphrase you, politically expedient suckers who would call their own mothers prostitutes if they felt the wind shifting? So, if you’re right, why should I care about their opinions?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
There’s no way a large decline in overall violence could not be captured by specific numbers, unless the numbers were worthless, and that doesn’t square with the way their data has matched the narrative for the past three years.
At this point, with the bottom-up reconciliation going on, a large decline in overall violence isn’t the only indicator of success.

Show me the bottom-up reconciliation in numbers.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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