The United States has lost in Iraq - by the very standards Bush set out:
While reading an interesting essay
at TomDispatch (about the change in language used by the administration when discussing Iraq), there was a link
National Strategy for Victory in Iraq
(The following document was released by the White House on Nov. 30, 2005.)
The following document articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003 and provides an update on our progress as well as the challenges remaining.
VICTORY IN IRAQ DEFINED
As the central front in the global war on terror, success in Iraq is an essential element in the long war against the ideology that breeds international terrorism. Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come in the form of an enemy's surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event -- there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages, and we expect:
In the short term:
In the medium term:
- An Iraq that is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, meeting political milestones; building democratic institutions; standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy.
- An Iraq that is in the lead defeating terrorists and insurgents and providing its own security, with a constitutional, elected government in place, providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, and well on its way to achieving its economic potential.
It's been 18 months since that was released by the White House. Eighteen months covers short term and includes some medium term. (Although technically, from the way it's presented, medium term appears to be sequential - dependent on short term success
Let's unpack the short term criteria: An Iraq that
- is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, NOT HAPPENING
- meeting political milestones; YES (but of uncertain value)
- building democratic institutions; NOT HAPPENING
- standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; NOT HAPPENING
- and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy. MAYBE (we don't know what, if any, economic reforms are working, or might work, since the country remains chaotic)
Let's unpack the medium term criteria: An Iraq that is
- in the lead defeating terrorists and insurgents and providing its own security, NOT HAPPENING
- with a constitutional, elected government in place, providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, (emp add) YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING
- and well on its way to achieving its economic potential. NOT HAPPENING (because of the violence and political disagreements).
All of the Big Criteria for Victory, which are security related, have failed to be met. Victory has not been achieved
in the short or medium term.
8 MONTHS AGO...
Pres. Fredo gave 3 benchmarks we can use to measure progress in Iraq:
You can measure progress in capacity of Iraqi units. You can measure progress in megawatts of electricity delivered. You can measure progress in terms of oil sold on the market on behalf of the Iraqi people. (Press Conference,6/14/2006)
Today, 2/26/07, Michael Hanlon from the Brookings Institution was on NPR's Morning Edition and stated that there has been NO PROGRESS in these 3 areas. The AP reports that as many as 1 million Iraqis may flee the country in the coming year because of the lack of security:
"The numbers of people that are being displaced are increasing every day," said Jemini Pandaya, spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration. "The security situation is not improving. It's not changing."