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Measuring Progress in Iraq (or, no news is good news)

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 03:26 PM
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Measuring Progress in Iraq (or, no news is good news)

Measuring Progress in Iraq: The Status of Political Benchmarks

May 16, 2007

In September, the Iraqi government publicly committed to meet a series of political benchmarks, by the end of 2006 or early 2007, for advancing the national reconciliation process, including measures for amending the constitution; holding provincial elections; reforming de-Baathification laws; regulating the oil industry; and disbanding sectarian militias.

In unveiling his new security plan for Iraq on January 10, President Bush publicly pledged to hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. He claimed that his military escalation strategy would provide a window of stability and security in which Iraqi leaders would be able to make the political compromises necessary to move forward with reconciliation. In his speech, the President asserted that, Americas commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people. (New York Times, 4/4/07)

With this pledge, the President seemed to be asserting what top military officials, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, and other leading political experts have been saying: that the situation in Iraq cannot be won by military action; a successful outcome will require a political solution. As General Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq asserted at the outset of the military escalation plan, there is no military solution to a problem like that in IraqMilitary action is necessary to help improve securitybut it is not sufficient. He has advocated a political resolution to ensure all of Iraqs main ethnic and political groups have a stake in the future of the country. (General Petraeus Press Briefing, 3/8/07)

In the four months since the President announced his new plan and three months into the military escalation, however, there has been little notable progress toward achieving these goals and little evidence that the Bush Administration is following through on its pledge to hold Iraqi leaders accountable. Instead, as the al-Maliki government has failed to move forward with national reconciliation measures, the Bush Administration has pushed back the goal posts repeatedly extending deadlines and diluting requirements for progress.

According to many experts, the Administration is failing to get Iraqs leaders to make the tough compromises necessary for national reconciliation and for achieving U.S. objectives in Iraq. The path to success in Iraq leads through Iraqis political reconciliation, yet the Administrations strategy is failing to deliver on this critically important issue.

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