Yeasayers, Naysayers

There is one White House unit, at least, that is top-notch. The crackerjack quick-response team acted with lightning speed to flood our BlackBerrys with a mass e-mail this week. They made damned sure we knew that two think-tankers were, uh, thinking that the situation in Iraq had become a bit less dire. It was reminiscent of a country music lyric: "I've been down so much, down seems like up to me."

And when an ABC correspondent reported from Baghdad that they just might be correct — ZAPPO!! We were treated to another electronic dump with that information.

But I'm still waiting for another one.

This would call attention to the Senate testimony Tuesday from the prospective chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I won't hold my breath.

Even though Adm. Michael Mullens is the president's nominee, he was painting a much bleaker picture.

Adm. Mullens described an Iraqi government divided by primal feuds that had dismal prospects for actually governing.

If the locals don't utterly surprise everyone, a withdrawl could leave behind utter chaos.

But he also  spoke of a United States military that could be damaged beyond repair if the forces were left in place at current levels too much longer.

That raises the possibility that the U.S. could face two choices: Admit the Iraq adventure had failed or break the back of the armed forces.

Of course, there are already plans to increase recruitment. But what if the prospect of ever-longer deployments into ever-more-dangerous war zones keeps volunteers away?  What then?

We know what then.