The foolishness of the war in Iraq–the diversion of resources from the real Salafist enemy–has been apparent to most U.S. intelligence operatives, especially those in the CIA, from the very start. Which is why Cheney, Feith et al spent so much energy trying to discredit CIA in the first Bush term.
And now we have an NIE that pretty much says that. Pakistan–not Iran, not Iraq–is the scariest country in the world today: an Islamic country with nuclear weapons, ruled by a military dictator whose military and intelligence service has a significant Salafist element.
The question is, what do we do? What happens if we move against the REAL Al Qaeda with special forces? (An actual invasion of Pakistan would be ridiculous.) What do the candidates for President think about that? Doesn’t this argue for a shift in focus, and resources, away from Iraq? How should we reorder our military priorities in the region to meet the actual threat? Isn’t this what the political debate should be about now?