Whether we like it or not, there are limits to what intelligence can know at any one time. The inescapable uncertainties may make it impossible to decide the status of Iran’s nuclear program “once and for all”. As in the case of the Soviet Union changes in the situation and leadership happen all the time. Honest analysts must keep revising the picture as new information comes to light. While Washington politics describes any change in intelligence estimates as examples of ‘lying’ or incompetence the plain fact is that altering assessments is endemic to the process. An unchanging intelligence picture is a wrong picture. Changing your mind is a natural thing to do.
Think of all the time and headaches that could have been spared with a little common sense thinking, but common sense thinking, and in some cases just the act of thinking, is asking quite a lot of people. After all, it's certainly more fun to use the report to paint President Bush as some sort of criminal or to spin wild-ass conspiracy theories about the use of the report to deliberately undermine The Bush Administration. That crap gives me a headache. All of it.
Yes, a military option may be off the table today. It may be back on the table tomorrow given a different set of circumstances and facts. We must always keep our eyes open to the possibility of changing circumstances.
That was my view before the NIE came out. That is my view now. It's common sense to me, but I was already wrong on something today so I could be going 0 for 2 for all I know.