June 14, 2007

News From Iraq Not Good, Not Final Either

The Washington Post reports that a Pentagon statistical and operational analysis of the Iraq war delivers mostly bad news. Civilian deaths have begun to rise again, the Iraqi government has yet to engage on political reform, and violence has risen in some areas. This report will certainly fuel the pessimism that has overtaken the majority of Americans on Iraq.

However, at Heading Right, we look at some of the points that many will miss in the commentary over the report. Specifically, the new strategy has had a positive effect in the areas of focus, and the report itself warns against jumping to conclusions too quickly.


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Comments (7)

Posted by starfleet_dude | June 14, 2007 10:12 AM

Specifically, the new strategy has had a positive effect in the areas of focus, and the report itself warns against jumping to conclusions too quickly.

Ed, the pig doesn't care what color the lipstick you're putting on it is.

Posted by Lew | June 14, 2007 10:27 AM

dude, the wall doesn't care what color the mud you're throwing on it is either.

Given the avalanche of information and opinion and rumor and data that's available on the subject, what you choose to believe is a function of you, and not any reality that may exist in some far-off place. If what you see, when you look, is a pig, then all we can get from the statement is that "starfleet_dude sees a pig" and that's it.

You should see somebody about that vision problem!

Posted by Snippet | June 14, 2007 10:30 AM

>>This report will certainly fuel the pessimism that has overtaken the majority of Americans on Iraq.

Ya think?

Posted by Mike M. | June 14, 2007 10:35 AM

Between the civil war in Palestine/Gaza strip, the escalating civil war in Iraq, increasing tensions between Turkey and the Kurds, and Iran becoming more belligerent by the week, the all-out regional war is looking more and more inevitable all the time.

Posted by starfleet_dude | June 14, 2007 11:38 AM

Lew, the problem is that Bush's "surge" in Iraq was a stupid idea in the first place. It hasn't worked, as the WaPo points out later in their report:

Republicans responded to the report as simply one more in a string of downbeat assessments. "People are saying it's a mixed bag when it comes to the surge, and that's the best face you can put on it," said a Senate Republican aide familiar with the report.
Michael E. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, emphasized the continued high overall level of violence in Iraq, saying he had expected it to drop 10 percent as a result of the increase in U.S. troops. "It bodes very badly for the political sustainability of this mission in Iraq," he said.
In an assessment of the Iraqi government's progress on key political benchmarks, the report says that new legislation on distributing Iraqi oil revenue, completed in February, has yet to be presented for parliamentary debate, and that implementing laws have not yet been drafted. "Strong resistance" remains to allowing the mostly Sunni former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to hold government jobs, and promised legislation on that issue "could be delayed by months." Constitutional reforms have been partially drafted but not yet submitted to the Iraqi parliament, and decisions on dates for new provincial and local elections "may be delayed until the fall."
Iraq's economic progress is also mixed, with some success in controlling inflation, while oil production remains stagnant and demand for electricity outstrips lagging supply.

When over 4 million people have been displaced in Iraq as a result of the violence there, who gives a damn about inflation except those in the porcine lipstick application business?

Posted by Vince | June 14, 2007 2:52 PM

The problem isn't the surge as you state, but, rather, that the internet has allowed people like you to have your opinions, with no factual or otherwise informed basis, heard; and heard as fact.

The 'surge' isn't a fully isometric concept to the counter-insurgency strategy that Gen. Petraeus is implying. Two separate things, the 'surge' is the influx of 21,500 additional in-theatre troops. Which, I believe, the last battalions of which are staging and/or moving into Iraq now. It's confusing to me how you, as well as Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Reid, can state it a failure before fully implemented.

The counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy is working. Anbar's recent anti-Islamist movement is a great example. The same is happening in many neighborhoods of Baghdad. If violence is transiently moving elsewhere, so be it; the Iraqi government needs a secure bastion from which to operate and facilitate change. It's difficult to get the political actions you quoted enacted when acts of terrorism are occurring around you, and targeted at you.

COIN seems to be, intrinsically, back-end biased. Moving out the Americans from the superbases and into the local neighborhoods to engage the local population is working. Ramadi went from 100 attacks/day to under 5. But the transition isn't overnight; you need to slowly move into favor of the local population; which is happening in Anbar. But as I said, you need to invest in the process before the output is had; it is, from a results stand point, back-end heavy. The serious question is the time frame for this, but you don't seem to be interested.

Perhaps some research into French-Algerian War as well as current work by people who are advisor's to Gen Petraeus, such as Dr. David Kilcullen, would be warrented.


Posted by markg8 | June 14, 2007 5:40 PM

The Iraqi parliament has passed a binding resolution
claiming for itself the say in whether the government asks the UN to renew the mandate under which coalition troops now remain in Iraq when it comes up for renewal in December. Unless Maliki vetoes the bill - which would lead to even more violence - they essentially are going to ask the UN to lift it's stamp of legitimacy for the occupation.

They claim they had the votes to do this last year when Maliki undercut them by going to the UN 10 days before they were scheduled to vote.

So it's not like they're getting nothing done.