On May 22, 2006, President Bush spoke in Chicago and gave a characteristically upbeat forecast: "Years from now, people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq as a decisive moment in the story of liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat."
Two days later, the intelligence division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff circulated a secret intelligence assessment to the White House that contradicted the president's forecast.
Instead of a "long retreat," the report forecast a more violent 2007: "Insurgents and terrorists retain the resources and capabilities to sustain and even increase current level of violence through the next year."
A graph included in the assessment measured attacks from May 2003 to May 2006. It showed some significant dips, but the current number of attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces and Iraqi authorities was as high as it had ever been -- exceeding 3,500 a month. [In July the number would be over 4,500.] The assessment also included a pessimistic report on crude oil production, the delivery of electricity and political progress.
On May 26, the Pentagon released an unclassified report to Congress, required by law, that contradicted the Joint Chiefs' secret assessment. The public report sent to Congress said the "appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."
You have to wonder why they even bother to play these games. Only Bush Republicans believe what the President says about Iraq anymore, and thanks to the sieve that is this administration we just keep finding out what they really think about Iraq, no matter what they tell us, thus destroying their credibility even more (if there's any left to destroy that is.) I guess they think if they can hold out, battle the public perception, it may be worth the 2% of extra voters they'll pick up in the mid-terms. But then, that only confirms that a party that's willing to play politics with national security shouldn't be in power in the first place.
Oh, and from the same article:
Kissinger sensed wobbliness everywhere on Iraq, and he increasingly saw it through the prism of the Vietnam War. For Kissinger, the overriding lesson of Vietnam is to stick it out.
So...if liberals dare to make analogies to Vietnam, people like Christopher Hitchens throw a hissy fit. But if-according to Woodward-the President is getting advice from a man who seems to view the war in Iraq as the Vietnam War redux that's...okay? I tell you this: if liberals are making comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq, they're a hell of a lot more right than Kissinger is.