Things seem to be going from bad to worse. Maybe Bush should add one of Reagan's astrologers to his staff, as they seemed to bring him better luck than Bush's neocons have. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/07/international/middleeast/07rumsfeld.html Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld indicated Monday that he expected American troops to withdraw from Iraq within four years, but he cautioned that any final decision hinged on the progress that Iraq's civilian government and security forces made by then. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/07/international/middleeast/07intell.html?hp&ex=1102482000&en=78f41ffc3ad43b8a&ei=5094&partner=homepage A classified cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon, according to government officials. The cable, sent late last month as the officer ended a yearlong tour, presented a bleak assessment on matters of politics, economics and security, the officials said. They said its basic conclusions had been echoed in briefings presented by a senior C.I.A. official who recently visited Iraq. http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/9927782.htm In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq. Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason. The slide said: "To Be Provided." A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country. The administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal dictatorship and economic sanctions. In fact, some senior Pentagon officials had thought they could bring most American soldiers home from Iraq by September 2003. Instead, more than a year later, 138,000 U.S. troops are still fighting terrorists who slip easily across Iraq's long borders, diehards from the old regime and Iraqis angered by their country's widespread crime and unemployment and America's sometimes heavy boots.