According to Seymour Hersh, a report prepared for the Pentagon last fall was considerably less optimistic than the Bush team was letting on at the time:
Politically, the U.S. has failed to date. Insurgencies can be fixed or ameliorated by dealing with what caused them in the first place. The disaster that is the reconstruction of Iraq has been the key cause of the insurgency. There is no legitimate government, and it behooves the Coalition Provisional Authority to absorb the sad but unvarnished fact that most Iraqis do not see the Governing Council as the legitimate authority. Indeed, they know that the true power is the CPA.
As Hersh tells the story, that perception of failure was the background for Rumsfeld’s decision to open the gates to aggressive interrogation tactics.