Losing

The outlook from the White House remains sanguine, but the prospects in Iraq remain sanguinary.

The outlook from the White House remains sanguine, but the prospects in Iraq remain sanguinary. The CIA knows, but the White House won’t listen.

A U.S. intelligence report prepared for President Bush in July offered a gloomy outlook for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst scenario being a deterioration into civil war, government officials said Thursday.

The alarming possible future in Iraq as outlined in the classified National Intelligence Estimate is in line with the view of many analysts and members of Congress, and the Bush administration has slowly begun to shift away from an optimistic tenor.

As recently as Sept. 10, Bush said Iraqi national elections “will be held in January.” On Thursday, he said only that “national elections are scheduled for January” and noted “ongoing acts of violence” in Iraq. Still, he insisted to supporters in St. Cloud, Minn.: “This country is headed toward democracy.”

The National Intelligence Estimate, which is a compilation of views from various intelligence agencies, predicted three scenarios, from a tenuous stability to political fragmentation to the most negative assessment of civil war, officials said.

“There doesn’t seem to be much optimism,” one official said.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com