Arthur Silber throws some useful cold water in everyone’s face:
Let us start with the most crucial point. The reaction from all quarters to the NIE relies on several interrelated central assumptions, ones that are regarded as so unquestionably true that no one thinks they need to be stated: that major policy decisions, including decisions of war and peace, are based on intelligence in the first place; that a decision to go to war is one made only after cool and careful rational deliberation; and that nations go to war for the reasons they announce to the world.
ALL OF THIS IS ABSOLUTELY, UNEQUIVOCALLY FALSE.
I agree mostly, but not completely, with Arthur’s take. Certainly the new NIE changes nothing about the bipartisan policy that we must run the middle east, which in turns means we must crush Iran. However, it may change the cost/benefit ratio perceived by our sane evil leaders about how we go about the crushing. It also strengthens the hand of our sane evil leaders vis a vis their insane evil rivals. Strangling and subversion may become more likely and direct military assault less so.