War Czar Nominee Reports Surge Failing; CIA Report Verifies That US Is Creating More Terrorists Than It Can Kill

Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, George Bush’s choice to be war czar, admits that things are not going well:

President Bush’s nominee to be war czar said yesterday that conditions in Iraq have not improved significantly despite the influx of U.S. troops in recent months and predicted that, absent major political reform, violence will continue to rage over the next year.

Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, tapped by Bush to serve as a new high-powered White House coordinator of the war, told senators at a confirmation hearing that Iraqi factions “have shown so far very little progress” toward the reconciliation necessary to stem the bloodshed. If that does not change, he said, “we’re not likely to see much difference in the security situation” a year from now.

Lute’s dour assessment mirrored the views of U.S. intelligence officials, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a closed session last month that trends in Iraq remain negative and that the prospect for political movement by the nation’s feuding Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds appears marginal. The secret intelligence conclusions were disclosed during yesterday’s hearing by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and confirmed by a Republican official.

The conclusions largely tracked the findings of the last National Intelligence Estimate, released in January, before Bush announced his decision to send nearly 30,000 more troops to Iraq, suggesting that the intelligence community does not think the force buildup has changed the outlook nearly five months later. Bayh quoted a CIA expert on radical Islam as saying that “our presence in Iraq is creating more members of al-Qaeda than we are killing in Iraq,” though it was unclear whether that came during the May 24 briefing.

If “our presence in Iraq is creating more members of al-Qaeda than we are killing in Iraq,” it sounds like the best response, considering the “war on terror,” would be to get out of Iraq. At least Bush’s nominee acknowledges that the surge has failed. Hopefully he can convince his new boss that we can longer afford to “stay the course.”

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