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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Examining Bush's National Strategy for Victory in Iraq:

Did you read the 35-page paper (PDF) that the White House released on Wednesday? We did, and thought we'd pass along some thoughts.

First of all, it felt light in content and repetitive. And that's because it was! The table below shows the structure of the National Strategy. Note how much is spent summarizing, presenting an overview, and talking about objectives, status, assumptions and logic. That's a lot of padding!

major section section sub-section words
executive summary     1051
strategic overview     4224
strategy in detail intro   64
  political track assumptions 237
    strategic logic 308
    progress 897
    continued challenges 149
  security track assumptions 198
    strategic logic 395
    progress 787
    continued challenges 213
  economic track assumptions 195
    strategic logic 290
    progress 447
    continued challenges 320
organization for victory 8 pillars overview 604
appendix: 8 pillars defeat terrorists strategic objective 70
    status 106
    lines of action 97
  transition to self-reliance strategic objective 25
    status 94
    lines of action 114
  forge national compact strategic objective 27
    status 100
    lines of action 156
  build government capacity strategic objective 25
    status 134
    lines of action 117
  strengthen economy strategic objective 22
    status 128
    lines of action 119
  strengthen rule of law strategic objective 44
    status 143
    lines of action 158
  increase int'l support strategic objective 25
    status 171
    lines of action 109
  strengthen public understanding strategic objective 51
    status 122
    lines of action 136
TOTAL     12672


More generally, the breakdown is like this:

what words
executive summary 1051
strategic overview 4224
assumptions 630
strategic logic 993
progress 2131
continued challenges 682
strategic objective(s) 289
status(es) 998
lines of action 1006
misc 668
TOTAL 12672


The substantive part that everybody is interested in, is a plan for action. Which is found in the "lines of action" sections, which are all in the apendix (!), and is 8% of the overall document.

Graphically, the proportion is shown in red:
Now, what's in that red section? It's worthwhile to take a look at everything they put out - even if it is 1000 words. Here is the "hard" plans for action. Note how vague they are in many cases. (E.g. "Helping to build national institutions that transcend regional and sectarian interests" - sounds great, but what's actually taking place to do it? They don't say.)
  • Defeat the Terrorists and Neutralize the Insurgency
    • Staying on the offensive by aiding the Iraqi government to eliminate enemy safe havens and hunt down members of terrorist cells and key enemy leaders
    • Facilitating the establishment of effective local governance and security elements to ensure postconflict stability and security
    • Assisting Iraqi authorities to suppress foreign fighter infiltration and denying terrorists freedom of movement
    • Working with the Iraqi government to disrupt enemy financial networks
    • Helping the Iraqis to harden, build redundancy, and protect critical infrastructure
  • Transition Iraq to Security Self-Reliance
    • Helping to train and equip the Iraqi Security Forces, military, and police, so they can combat terrorist and other enemy activity and maintain a secure environment in Iraq
    • Assisting in the development of Iraq's security ministries to control, manage, and sustain the Iraqi security forces and assume greater responsibility for the security of the state
    • Increasing the Iraqi government's capability to protect its key economic infrastructure, control its borders, and deny entry to foreign fighters and violent extremists
    • Improving the Iraqi government's intelligence capability to augment security force efforts and to protect national interests
  • Help Iraqis Forge a National Compact for Democratic Government
    • Supporting Iraqi leaders in their quest to bring all Iraqis into the political process, through dialogue and the creation of inclusive institutions
    • Offering advice and technical support on elections and effective governance
    • Helping to build national institutions that transcend regional and sectarian interests
    • Helping the Iraqis replace the corrupt and centralized system of Saddam's regime with effective government bodies at the local, provincial, and national levels
    • Assisting with the design and implementation of civic outreach and education programs to help Iraqi citizens understand their rights and responsibilities in a democratic system
    • Promoting transparency in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government
    • Supporting efforts by the Iraqi Transitional Government and successor governments to develop effective and legitimate institutions for legislation, law enforcement, the administration of justice, and the equitable administration of all public services
  • Help Iraq Build Government Capacity and Provide Essential Services
    • Rehabilitating critical infrastructure in the production and distribution of fuels and electric power as well as training engineers to maintain and operate this infrastructure
    • Supporting and strengthening the nascent institutions of public utilities and regulatory agencies
    • Rehabilitating water and sanitation infrastructure to provide safe drinking water and reducing the transmission of water-borne disease
    • Building and rehabilitating health care facilities, with a focus on impoverished neighborhoods and communities
    • Rehabilitating schools, providing new textbooks, computers and materials, and training teachers and school administrative staff
    • Encouraging international donors to expand infrastructure and capacity-building efforts through prompt disbursement of pledges
  • Help Iraq Strengthen Its Economy
    • Helping Iraq to improve its fiscal management and transparency
    • Encouraging pro-market oriented reform and the achievement of a stable macroeconomic environment
    • Supporting the development and implementation of laws and institutions that encourage sustained economic growth
    • Encouraging the removal of regulations and termination of practices that obstruct private sector growth in Iraq
    • Providing technical assistance to aid the rapid improvement of Iraq's business climate and Iraq's accession to the World Trade Organization
    • Assisting the Iraqi government in strengthening its banking and financial system
    • Supporting the revitalization of agriculture and other productive sectors to diversify a single-resource-based economy
  • Help Iraq Strengthen the Rule of Law and Promote Civil Rights
    • Promoting an independent, unbiased, and ethical court system through technical assistance and training of prosecutors, attorneys, and judges
    • Assisting in the enhancement of security for judges trying insurgent and terrorist cases
    • Providing support to the Iraqi Special Tribunal as it investigates and prosecutes crimes committed by the former regime
    • Advising the Ministry of Justice in the development of a centralized organization for the management and oversight of a fair and efficient national correctional system
    • Assisting in the establishment of safe and secure correctional facilities for the care, custody, and treatment of persons incarcerated in the Iraqi correctional system
    • Establishing an anti-major crimes task force, with FBI agents and other U.S. officials aiding their Iraqi counterparts during investigations of terrorist attacks and assassinations
    • Promoting a climate for national reconciliation through fair, effective, and independent judicial institutions
  • Increase International Support for Iraq
    • Encouraging NATO's continued participation in Iraq
    • Maximizing international donor reconstruction assistance and the numbers of partners committed to the rebuilding of Iraq, particularly by helping Iraq seek prompt disbursement of previous pledges and forgiveness of debt
    • Encouraging further UN involvement in Iraq
    • Emphasizing the importance of Syrian cooperation with the Iraqi government, including the interdiction of foreign fighters trying to cross the border
    • Fostering lasting relationships between Iraq, regional partners, and neighboring countries to promote greater levels of cooperation and security within Iraq and within the Middle East
  • Strengthen Public Understanding of Coalition Efforts and Public Isolation of the Insurgents
    • Communicating with the Iraqi public through information programs and civic education campaigns
    • Providing technical assistance and training to support a free, independent, and responsible Iraqi media (including television, radio, and print) that delivers high-quality content and responsible reporting throughout Iraq
    • With our international partners, working to help the Iraqi Government develop the ability and capacity to communicate with its citizens in a professional, effective, and open manner
    • Encouraging Iraqis to participate in the political process, including the referendum on the constitution and national elections in December 2005, through a wide variety of civic education and public communications tools
    • Informing Iraqis about the progress of reconstruction, security, and infrastructure on the national, regional, and local level
There's nothing specific. Shouldn't that have been part of the report?



4 comments

You really ought to stop thinking so much, and start believing!

By Blogger brainhell, at 12/01/2005 7:40 AM  

Thank you for your analysis of the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. The short answer to your question; i.e. shouldn't that been a part of the report? It will be in the 50 volume, 1500 page summary at the end of the conflict. For now, was it not a specific strategy? And, a good one at that. Mike Graves, San Jose

By Blogger mike graves, at 12/05/2005 1:20 PM  

Counsel from elders seems to be a lost treasure. Lost are lessons learned that may contain pearls of wisdom that could have benefited the seeker. Having survived my share of hazardous crossings, I am pleased to be able to share a thought or two. The main lesson is to keep on learning. Read and seek out other points of view like visiting your blog. Finding what is ultimately important has lead me to appreciate actuality, efficiency and mindfulness. Helping others to see some of the forest through the trees is a rewarding benefit of age and maturity. happy thought

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