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The new political reconciliation strategy in Iraq
Posted by: McQ on Friday, July 13, 2007

We just had a commenter wander in here and make a false statement about the recently issued Initial Benchmark Assessment Report:
The surge was supposed to give the Iraqi government "breathing room" to make the political compromises necessary to satisfy all Iraqis that they and their kind have a future and should quit killing each other and our troops. As we’ve seen in the latest report Bush tried to fudge the Iraqi government has done nothing of the sort. Political progress is nil.
Actually that's not true at all, either in the report (despite the attempt to claim that "Bush tried to fudge the numbers) or in reality. In the report, the Iraqi government got 8 unsatisfactory progress on benchmarks, 9 satisfactory progress and 1 without an assessment. As has been reported, a mixed bag to be sure.

But overlooked in that report is a significant paragraph which talks about a new approach to political progress that seems to have gained some major traction:
As demonstrated by our PRT initiatives and moving resources outside of Baghdad and into the provinces, our strategy envisions “bottom-up” reconciliation to be as important, if not more important, than top-down reconciliation. Bottom-up reconciliation involves working at the local and provincial level, seeking local political accommodations and getting more Iraqis to invest in the future of a united and democratic Iraq. Bottom-up reconciliation can take many forms: in Anbar, we have seen greater involvement of tribal groups; in Salah ad Din, it is involving local and provincial leaders taking greater responsibility for their political and economic future; in Baghdad, it has involved local neighborhood councils working with newly deployed Coalition and Iraqi units to identify and isolate extremists. All of the new resources devoted to this strategy — the arrival of military reinforcements, the expansion of PRTs, and the diplomatic surge — can be leveraged to produce bottom-up reconciliation. Over time, we expect bottom-up reconciliation to be reflected in, and latch up with, progress on top-down measures.
Yes, in the realm of better late than never, we've begun to learn how it really works in Iraq and we've also begun to take advantage of that knowledge. In a combination of ignorance and arrogance, we ignored the tribes and their sheiks for 4 years while we concentrated on a top-down strategy for political progress.

Then we had two awakenings. They awakened to the fact that AQI wasn't their friend and we may be, and we awakened to the fact that if we're going to succeed at this thing these folks at the local and provincial level are going to be a big part of that. So now, as reflected above, there's an attempt being made to work both ends toward the middle as we pursue both a top-down and bottom up strategy in the political realm.

Seems to me that too qualifies as a 'new strategy'. It seems to be working in dominant sunni and shia areas. The question is whether it will also work in mixed areas. But anyone who doesn't understand that what is happening is both important and political progress simply doesn't want to believe it to be so to begin with.
 
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Comments
This sounds like good news, although how much of it is a new strategy and how much is new rhetoric is open to question. Unfortunately Bush, like the boy who cried wolf, has a bit of a boy who cried progress problem wrt Iraq.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Unfortunately Bush, like the boy who cried wolf, has a bit of a boy who cried progress problem wrt Iraq.
I don’t disagree with you in that regard, Retief, however ...
This sounds like good news, although how much of it is a new strategy and how much is new rhetoric is open to question.
Go hit the search button and look up the various articles on the Anbar awakening, Iraqi awakening,etc. It’s more than rhetoric.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Actually we knew long ago about the animosity between the tribes and al qaeda, and efforts to create alliances have been going on for years. A lot of what’s happening isn’t new; the change is less what we’re doing, but al qaeda has gotten to the point where it’s threatening Sunni tribes and some are acting against them. But that’s been happening to some extent for years, and we’ve been trying to promote it — it’s not like the US has been oblivious to this issue for years, give the military more credit than that! I think a lot of people are trying to paint the "surge" as far more revolutionary and new than it really is. One reason the politicians aren’t buying it is because they have a lot more information (much taht we don’t have), and unlike both the pro- and anti- war crowds people like Senator Lugar weigh all sides and don’t seek out evidence that supports their position. It amazes me that snide pundits start accusing people like Lugar of "pre 9-11 thinking" or "fossilized relics." I guess this shows that for some (e.g., Limbaugh and Kristol) ad hominem attacks as a response to criticism is the mode of operation no matter who is making the criticism.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This article is an interesting one to read alongside the pro-surge material posted by McQ. Here’s a telling section:
Senator Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican who signaled that she is ready to start voting with the Democrats against the war, was disgusted by the complete failure to show even a glimmer of progress in Iraq, rejecting the White House’s plea for patience and its flaccid assertions that at least a little progress is being made toward some of the eighteen goals. "The benchmarks have to be met. That’s it," she told the Washington Post. "Enough is enough." Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired Marine colonel and former top aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell, told me there are nearly seventy Republicans in Congress, including more than two dozen US senators, who have either publicly or privately declared that they’ve broken ranks with President Bush—and the list is growing with every passing day.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"One reason the politicians aren’t buying it is because they have a lot more information (much taht we don’t have),"

If you don’t have it, how do you know it exists, or what it is?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Timactual, one thing I learned when I was working in DC in a Senate office is that they get a lot of information we don’t, and have a variety of briefings and personal meetings that aren’t given to the general public. Someone like Lugar is extremely well connected, people like him have contacts in the Pentagon, at State, and I’m sure in the Administration. Moreover, someone like him sees it as his job to try to assure we have the right policy, not to decide to support a policy and then seek to do whatever possible to keep that policy going — if turns out to be a bad policy, it has to be changed.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb, you find Dreyfuss’ article "interesting." In it he says:
Last January, when the President announced the escalation by adding at least 30,000 US troops to the occupation force, he justified it by declaring that within six months it would show results...

At his news conference Thursday, Bush simply ignored his promise that the surge would take six months to work.
I find it interesting that Dreyfuss doesn’t include a citation for this "promise" like he did for other claims.

Did Bush really make this promise? Where?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Everything I can find states "late summer" to see progress.

Summer begins on June 21 and ends Sept 22. "Late summer" means the end of August at the earliest.

It looks like Dreyfuss is a liar.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I do know that in January both Gates and Rice mentioned six months as when we’d see progress. But the timing issue is really secondary; if the best you can do when you see something you don’t like is to find one unsupported assertion and then use it to call someone a liar (argumentum ad hominem) and thereby conveniently ignore the rest of the argument, well, that’s pretty lame. So you think he made up the quotes from Snowe and Wilkerson? Are you just going to deny reality?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
find one unsupported assertion and then use it to call someone a liar (argumentum ad hominem)
He lied. Twice. Why would I believe anything else he says that is unsupported?
conveniently ignore the rest of the argument
I’m not going to trust a liar. You want to trust him because his narrative fits your beliefs — which is the irony I pointed out in the Iraqi Security Status thread.
So you think he made up the quotes from Snowe and Wilkerson?
No, he sourced those and I checked them. However, I don’t trust his assertion that Snowe was "disgusted by the complete failure to show even a glimmer of progress in Iraq." Do you have any evidence that she was "disgusted" and did not think there was even "a glimmer of progress"?

Dreyfuss has proven himself to be capable of making up assertions to support his viewpoint. That is the reality.
I do know that in January both Gates and Rice mentioned six months as when we’d see progress.
Cite it if you can. I don’t trust you either (e.g. Your claims that Reagan didn’t walk out on Gorbachev in Reykjavik and that the US military killed more civilians than soldiers in wars after WWI.)
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG,

Hey, whoa, back up.

You trusted the Pew Foundation about immigration numbers even though they are known frauds in support of the Liberal Narrative.

What gives?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
It’s interesting to note that the Anbar Awakening happened before the Surge did. Personally, that change is probably more valuable than the Surge in some ways.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Is it just me or do I see Professor Erb chafing over having to deal with such petty things as facts. Can’t you people see the beauty of the arguments he cites?
"... if the best you can do ... is to find one unsupported assertion and then use it to call someone a liar ... and thereby conveniently ignore the rest of the argument...
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
It’s interesting to note that the Anbar Awakening happened before the Surge did. Personally, that change is probably more valuable than the Surge in some ways.
And it tells us something important: al qaeda in Iraq cannot control the country. They have both Shi’ites and Sunni tribes against them, and after the US leaves that will remain true. This has nothing to do with the surge or the new strategy, this is Iraqi political reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You trusted the Pew Foundation about immigration numbers
And so do many non-liberals as I pointed out at the time. Their research into immigration numbers does not equate to "unsupported" assertions and is backed up by other sources.

I am not dismissing everything Robert Dreyfuss writes. I am only dismissing his nonsourced pronouncements.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
"Timactual, one thing I learned when I was working in DC in a Senate office is that they get a lot of information we don’t, and have a variety of briefings and personal meetings that aren’t given to the general public."

Jeez, you really are arrogant, patronizing, and self-involved aren’t you? In spite of what you may think, it is not necessary to have worked in a Senate office to know that. You aren’t that special. Just for your further edification, that is also true outside of Wash., in many different jobs. And, of course, you dodged the question or, as you like to put it, "failed to engage".
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Jeez, you really are arrogant, patronizing, and self-involved aren’t you?
Wow, you really take things in a negative light. But, of course, you had said: "If you don’t have it, how do you know it exists" when I made that point. Then I tell you why, and you spew insults and say essentially that you don’t need to have my experiences to know that what I said is right. So in essence, your first post was dishonest, and you’re taking it out on me for responding by saying why I was sure they had more information? Sheesh. Then you claim I dodged the question when you essentially agree with answer. *eyes rolling*
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The complete quote is "If you don’t have it, how do you know it exists, or what it is? "

So you are saying that you have this classified information that has caused them to "not buy it"? If so, how? If not, how do you know this particular information exists?

"and say essentially that you don’t need to have my experiences to know that what I said is right"

That is not, of course, what I said. It is just another example of your distortion of other peoples words.

"So in essence, your first post was dishonest,"

No, in essence my first post was a question which you chose to misinterpret because you cannot answer it.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Timactual, one thing I learned when I was working in DC in a Senate office [heh,heh. Top that! You have never worked in DC in a Senate office, have you? So don’t question anything that I say that has anything to do with the Senate, Congress, DC or, for that matter any Government issue] is that they get a lot of information we don’t, [how could you know that; not having worked in a Senate office in DC and all?] and have a variety of briefings and personal meetings that aren’t given to the general public.[See? How could you or anyone who never worked in a Senate office in DC know something like that? Jeez...] Someone like Lugar is extremely well connected, [See my comment above] people like him have contacts in the Pentagon, [see comment] at State, [for you dummies; I mean the State Department; just throwing in a little jargon to prove my bona fides] and I’m sure in the Administration.[See comment] Moreover, someone like him sees it as his job to try to assure we have the right policy, [Pretty big assumption - how a Senator sees his job. One often disputed] not to decide to support a policy [how many possible reasons for that can one cite, many of which have nothing to do with the facts of the particular issue? And because of your long ago experience in another office you know this?] and then seek to do whatever possible to keep that policy going — if turns out to be a bad policy, it has to be changed.
"Jeez, you really are arrogant, patronizing, and self-involved aren’t you?"
Ayup!
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
"Wow, you really take things in a negative light. But, of course, you had said: "If you don’t have it, how do you know it exists" when I made that point. Then I tell you why, and you spew insults and say essentially that you don’t need to have my experiences to know that what I said is right. So in essence, your first post was dishonest, and you’re taking it out on me for responding by saying why I was sure they had more information? Sheesh. Then you claim I dodged the question when you essentially agree with answer. *eyes rolling*"
Citation issued:

1. Failure to engage.
2. Making an ad hominem response with no substantive value.
3. Failure to accurately quote opponent (Dowdizing)
4. Failure to answer a specic question.
5. Failure to make eye contact with fellow liberal while rolling eyes.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Timactual, clearly I don’t know what they know. I just know that they have information, and especially a Senator like Lugar is someone I believe acts very carefully and thoughtfully with the information he has. Ergo, I know they have a lot of information I don’t, and I know Senator Lugar is a man of integrity and judgement. Notherbob, you’re making things up that have no relation to reality. But reality doesn’t matter to you, does it?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"...reality doesn’t matter to you, does it?
Watch the Professor attempt to build his narrative. Let’s see; 1) the truth doesn’t matter to me; 2) reality doesn’t matter to me. Next we need an ideology to pin on me. What will it be; Conservatism, Marxism, Naziism, Liberalism...no...
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
No, Erb, I just believe that sufferers from paranoid schizophrenia on that level shouldn’t be denied the treatment they need to return to sanity. After all, the number of university professorships they can fill is limited, especially since you’re occupying one.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
SDN: Yup, you’d have been a natural in Stalinist Russia. Luckily, you’re not in a position to do that kind of harm.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Hmmmm combine bottom-up reconciliation with a culture that values, in order, family, tribe, religion, nation and you have a recipe for a mightily constrained federal government. If they can figure out how to live together, I might have to move there.
 
Written By: Metzger
URL: http://rantlog.mee.nu

 
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