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PAKISTAN UPDATE….McClatchy reports on an upcoming U.S. intelligence assessment on Pakistan:

A U.S. official who participated in drafting the top secret National Intelligence Estimate said it portrays the situation in Pakistan as “very bad.” Another official called the draft “very bleak,” and said it describes Pakistan as being “on the edge.” The first official summarized the estimate’s conclusions about the state of Pakistan as: “no money, no energy, no government.”

Juan Cole adds some perspective to the report and ultimately suggests that it’s off base: “People who know Pakistan well are more afraid of the right wing elements in the Pakistani military (whom the CIA has long funded and coddled) than they are about an elected civilian government being weak or corrupt.” To be honest, both of these assessments sound about right to me.

There are also intelligence reports on Iraq and Afghanistan coming down the pike, and McClatchy reports that they are “intended to support the Bush administration’s effort to recommend the resources the next president will need for Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan at a time the economic crisis is straining the Treasury and inflating the federal budget deficit.” Unfortunately, it appears that the intelligence community plans to say that we need more troops and more resources in all three areas, which doesn’t sound all that helpful. Hopefully President Obama and his team are already working on assessments of their own.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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