Maybe I don't fully understand this AP piece citing an intelligence report's claims that Iraq's future is bleak, but it doesn't make any sense to me.

A highly classified National Intelligence Estimate assembled by some of the government's most senior analysts this summer provided a pessimistic assessment about the future security and stability of Iraq.

The National Intelligence Council looked at the political, economic and security situation in the war-torn country and determined -- at best -- the situation would be tenuous in terms of stability, a U.S. official said late Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

At worst, the official said, were "trend lines that would point to a civil war." The official said it "would be fair" to call the document "pessimistic."

That sounds bad, but what about this key bit of information?
The intelligence estimate, which was prepared for President Bush, considered the window of time between July and the end of 2005. But the official noted that the document, which spans roughly 50 pages, draws on intelligence community assessments from January 2003, before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the subsequent deteriorating security situation there.
So the report is just a prediction from before the invasion of what could happen? Is it really fair to say that the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated since January 2003? I don't think so. In fact, every report I've read points to a continually improving situation, even if it's improving more slowly than we might like.
The estimate contrasts with public comments of Bush and his senior aides who speak more optimistically about the prospects for a peaceful and free Iraq. "We're making progress on the ground," Bush said at his Texas ranch late last month.
Well yeah, the report is an 18-month-old prediction that apparently isn't turning out to be true. If it doesn't match with what we're hearing now, shouldn't we conclude that the prediction was wrong? Or should we conclude that the prediction was right and that the President is lying to us?

This looks like a non-story to me. See here for more dire predictions that didn't come true.



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