In a conference call arranged by the John Kerry (news - web sites) presidential campaign, Sen. Bob Graham (news, bio, voting record), D-Fla., called on the White House to release the new assessment. "The American people need to know the truth," he said Thursday.
It is the first formal assessment of Iraq since the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on the threat posed by fallen Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).
A scathing review of that estimate released this summer by the Senate Intelligence Committee found widespread intelligence failures that led to faulty assumptions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Disclosure of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq came the same day that Senate Republicans and Democrats denounced the Bush administration's slow progress in rebuilding Iraq, saying the risks of failure are great if it doesn't act with greater urgency.
"It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing, it's now in the zone of dangerous," said Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record), R-Neb., referring to figures showing only about 6 percent of the reconstruction money approved by Congress last year has been spent.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee members vented their frustrations at a hearing during which State Department officials explained the administration's request to divert $3.46 billion in reconstruction funds to security and economic development. The money was part of the $18.4 billion approved by Congress last year, mostly for public works projects.
The request comes as heavy fighting continues between U.S.-led forces and Iraqi insurgents, endangering prospects for elections scheduled for January.
"We know that the provision of adequate security up front is requisite to rapid progress on all other fronts," Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ron Schlicher said.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said circumstances in Iraq have changed since last year. "It's important that you have some flexibility."
Hagel, Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and other committee members have long argued � even before the war � that administration plans for rebuilding Iraq were inadequate and based on overly optimistic assumptions that Americans would be greeted as liberators.
But the criticism from the panel's top Republicans had an extra sting coming less than seven weeks before the U.S. presidential election in which Bush's handling of the war is a top issue.
"Our committee heard blindly optimistic people from the administration prior to the war and people outside the administration � what I call the 'dancing in the street crowd' � that we just simply will be greeted with open arms," Lugar said. "The nonsense of all of that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent."
He said the need to shift the reconstruction funds was clear in July, but the administration was slow to make the request.
State Department officials stressed areas of progress in Iraq since the United States turned over political control of Iraq to an interim government on June 28. They cited advances in generating electricity, producing oil and creating jobs.
Associated Press Writer Ken Guggenheim contributed to this report.
One problem here is that most people posting both pro and con on this subject have a very short view of the history of this mess. They seem to think it started with 9/11, only 2 years ago. They also don't seem to understand that we are dealing with a complex process that has been years in the making where we have nation states acting in their own self interests. Every one needs to understand that nation states do not have loyalties. Rather they have interests and they will promote those items that, in their opinion will further those interests to the exclusion of all others.
European countries did not join us in this current effort because, in their short sighted view, it was not in their best interests. The U.S. and the other alies joined in this effort because they did consider it to be in their best long term interests. IMO, middle east rulers are with the short term thinkers but it is hoped that the rank and file will see that a change in their government is in their best long term interests.
The islamists are a religious movement with no borders who are currently acting in concert to further their percieved best interests. Further, being a religious movement they "have God on their side". Consequently they can do no wrong. They can committ any atrocity or perversion with impunity. Beheading is nothing compared to being skinned alive which is a favorit arab past time. However, this is a short term marriage of convience. These people have a history of falling out with each other and that is why they have never had a long history of control. Too many wannabe chiefs and too few injuns. They invented the double and tripple cross.
If we change presidents and act like the Spanish did, I would expect a renewed effort on the part of the islamists. They will see us a weak and open to even more terror events.
There is no way to know if Bush has or has not done the right thing at this time. This is going to take another 2 to 5 years to work its way thru. The whole world faces one of the most dangerous set of circumstances ever. We have a group of religious fanatics, mad dogs, that are being used by the leaders of nation states to further their own short term interests. They think they can control them. But how many of these mad dogs have infiltrated their governments and, given their religious "protection", will open the gates of hell on all of us.
The Saudis finally realized that those dogs could turn on them.
I think Ben Laden is dead, buried under a couple of tons of rock in an Afganistan cave or he's so sick he does not want anyone to see his condition. We would have seen him by now if he was alive and well.
Got to go.
This day is way to beautiful to sit here and watch my money evaporate or to read the stupid post by the likes of wrife.
Have a great day.
1st sign of adversity. Your perception of reality is amazing. How many months has the insurgency been going on? Adversity has been going on for along time? Why do you think this is the 1st sign?
Just because it's at it's strongest now does not mean it was not a serious problem all along. A strong AND capable leader would have had the necessary means in place long ago.
1. Last I heard al Qaeda is still in the mountains of east Afghanistan/west Pakistan
2. Good riddance to those al Qaeda leaders that are dead, agree on that, but you fail to recognize that recruits are up and we provided them all with a training ground called Iraq to substitute for Afghanistan. Now their recruits get battle hardened in real attacks rather than simulated ones in training camps.
3. Libya was "friendly" but not supportive, otherwise Bush wouldn't normalize relations
4. You must know something the administration doesn't know about Iran
5. Saudi Arabia has made modest changes to its financing operations
6. Bin Laden has been afraid for a long time, but we don't know where he is living (a cave, a house in Tehran, Chechnya, Bangalore, or some other accomodating place)
First, I don't beleive "It's getting out of control over there. Admit that fact. The war has been botched so far. Answer this."
Yes there are rising insurgancies, but can they be sustained?
Could things have gone better? Absolutely, but botched is hardly the right word.
I believe the US is currently doing mainly the right things and I refuse to panic at the first sign of adversity, like the president and unlike Kerry.
Keeper, I think you are confused, �In my opinion, they would love four more years of Bush. And why not? look at what they have accomplished with Bush as president.�
What have they accomplished with Bush as president?
1. They lost their base of operations in Afghanistan and the Taliban is history.
2. They 2/3s of the leadership is dead or captured.
3. They have lost a friendly government in Libya
4. They have lost a friendly government in Iran
5. Saudi Arabia has frozen their assets.
6. Their leader is living in a cave and is afraid to show his face.
I doubt they want four more years of this.
pkewl - "One needs to have prespective. The question is WHY are these "terrorist" acting now and not 6 months ago?
It seems the clesar answer (to me any way) is because they think they can incfluence the American election AND, if they can get Kerry in, take over the Irani January elections."
Even if this were true, the point is what is Bush doing about it. It's getting out of control over there. Admit that fact. The war has been botched so far. Answer this.
What has you believing that Bush can suddenly start doing things right?
It may be partially true. I can not say for sure. Neither can you. But you must too admit that the insurgency is not just AlQeada. Is the radical claric AlSadr part of AlQaeda?
Like I said it's comlicated. You statement is too simple. For example, there are Baath Party Remants, Nationalists who hate the U.S. on their soil. Islamist fanatics not related to AlQueda. Many forces are againt us.
pfewl, you raise many good points, but the end result is that you still haven't addressed the central question.
"...to not at least acknowledge that AlQueda may be trying to influence the election "is partisan denial IMHO."
Do you think this is true or false?