Thursday, October 16, 2008

Disasters Drawing NIE?

New National Intelligence Estimates are coming out on Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and they seem gloomy:

A U.S. official who participated in drafting the top secret National Intelligence Estimate said it portrays the situation in Pakistan as "very bad." Another official called the draft "very bleak," and said it describes Pakistan as being "on the edge."

The first official summarized the estimate's conclusions about the state of Pakistan as: "no money, no energy, no government."

Six U.S. officials who helped draft or are aware of the document's findings confirmed them to McClatchy on the condition of anonymity because NIEs are top secret and are restricted to the president, senior officials and members of Congress . An NIE's conclusions reflect the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

The NIE on Pakistan , along with others being prepared on Afghanistan and Iraq , will underpin a "strategic assessment" of the situation that Army Gen. David Petraeus , who's about to take command of all U.S. forces in the region, has requested. The aim of the assessment — seven years after the U.S. sent troops into Afghanistan — is to determine whether a U.S. presence in the region can be effective and if so what U.S. strategy should be.

I'm close to the point of thinking that NIEs are worthless--or at least the media's description of the NIEs. If disaster is drawing nigh according to the consensus of our intelligence communities, I'm almost convinced we should declare victory.

Most fascinating is that the NIE on Pakistan, for all its apparent gloom, doesn't worry about Pakistani nukes falling into the wrong hands. Do we have our hands on those weapons somehow as I've heard rumors asserting?

And I'd like to point out that if Pakistan--which is our supply line for our troops in Afghanistan--is in danger of collapsing as the NIE seems to assert, why would we pour troops into a potential Stalingrad pocket?