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Petraeus grows impatient with Iraqi government
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 14, 2008

While there has some progress toward national reconciliation, Gen. David Petraeus says the Iraqi government has failed to take advantage of the reduction in violence to make "adequate progress toward resolving their political differences."
The Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has won passage of some legislation that aids the cause of reconciliation, drawing praise from President Bush and his supporters. But the Iraqi government also has deferred action on some of its most important legislative goals, including laws governing the exploitation of Iraq's oil resources, that the Bush administration had identified as necessary benchmarks of progress toward reconciliation.

Many Iraqi parliament members and other officials acknowledge that the country's political system is often paralyzed by sectarian divisions, but they also say that American expectations are driven by considerations in Washington and do not reflect the complexity of Iraq's problems.
While their point is true, it is also irrelevant, considering Washington is going to make the decisions as to whether or not to continue to support the American effort in Iraq after November's election, so whether they like it or not, politically the future of that effort there does indeed lie in Washington - for good or bad.

I think Petraeus is warning them that they stand the chance of seeing all the good they've accomplished in the last year threatened if some further progress on a national level isn't forthcoming. Of course, depending on who wins, even further progress may be just as irrelevant. Regardless, I have no idea if the Iraqi government is capable of moving that quickly, but if the recent past is any indication, I'm not particularly hopeful.

Based on my conversations with the generals and colonels in Iraq I've had the opportunity to participate in, I'm fast coming to the conclusion that on the security front, we're approaching the time when we can begin turning more and more of the total security function over to the Iraqis and begin withdrawing troops in earnest.

I would think we could be down to 10 combat brigades by the end of 2009 (which is indefinitely sustainable although I would think we could further reduce that number as the situation continues to improve). Doing so would begin to give the military the time it needs to train, rest and refit.

As we've said repeatedly here, the key to success in Iraq is the Iraqis stepping up and taking charge of their own destiny. At a local and provincial level, that has been happening. It is a pity that the sectarian divides still seem to cripple the national effort. However, given the much improved status of the ISF, that's something they'll eventually have to work out for themselves - without the US being involved in the principle security effort - whether they think they've had adequate time to do so or not.
 
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Of course political progress isn’t happening in Iraq because the Iraqi government isn’t in control. Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias dominate the Shi’ite areas, and are laying low, knowing that the US will leave the first chance it has to declare things are stable. Then they can assert control. The Sunni tribes are asserting control in their regions, fighting al qaeda on the one hand, but also the Iraq government on the other (even those supposedly allied to us). Thanks to the massive ethnic cleansing in 2006, it’s easier for each group to have authority in their regions. The Kurds are in their own world, ignoring the central government. Corruption is massive. So the US will declare victory and leave, Iran will exert tremendous influence in the Shi’ite regions, and, unless they find a way to separate into either a real confederacy or separate states, Iraq could slip into ethnic violence again. At this point, it’s hard to justify the costs of this to the American people, especially since the Shi’ite militias are often as repressive as Saddam (women are especially worse off) and the Kurds had autonomy under Saddam anyway. The American people understand this. At least this lesson will assure that the next President recognizes the limits of American military power.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
How did I know...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
The southern states live in isolation from the growing industrialization of the North. New York is as far from Atlanta as it is from Timbuktu. The Texans are out of their minds, expecting to take that territory from Mexico, and California can’t be reached except by arduous travel across mud-soaked trails. Everywhere Indian tribes attack and murder settlers and carry off their women into captivity. In the cities of the Northeast gangs of immigrants live like rats in areas that even the police won’t enter. This Republic cannot stand.

And at a college in Maine a gang of students rushed the front of the classroom and pulled the professor’s pants up over his neck.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
How did I know...
You beat me to it Scott. I was thinking as I read the main story ’will Erb be the first post?’ Alas, he was...
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Do you ever sense that everytime you read something from Erb, it literally translates as "NEENER NEENER NEENER"
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Personally, I just translate it out as the sound from adults in those Peanut cartoons...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
If the Iraqi military military is able to assume control of the security effort, that’s the best we can hope for.

What burns me is Obama stubbornly plans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Which in the long run will only bring us back to Iraq. Except the Iraqi public will have learned their lesson not to trust or cooperate with us and the enemy will be dug in.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
While surfing the weg, I ran across the original BASIC code for the E.R.B.-1 LectureBot:

10 IF BLOG ENTRY <> "" THEN GOSUB 20

20 PRINT "AMERICA IS IN DECLINE"

30 END


I see they’ve added a lot more code since 1981, but the core programming is pretty much the same.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://

What burns me is Obama stubbornly plans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Which in the long run will only bring us back to Iraq. Except the Iraqi public will have learned their lesson not to trust or cooperate with us and the enemy will be dug in.
There is no jaws of victory, and there is no way we’ll go back to Iraq. That’s as out of the question as going back to Vietnam was in 1975. We’ll get out. Things will fall apart. Iran will emerge dominant. And we’ll be home, with people talking about the Iraq syndrome. Wait and see.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boy, that’s amazing, Erb.

What are next week’s winning lottery numbers?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Boris:
There is no jaws of victory, and there is no way we’ll go back to Iraq. That’s as out of the question as going back to Vietnam was in 1975. We’ll get out. Things will fall apart. Iran will emerge dominant. And we’ll be home, with people talking about the Iraq syndrome. Wait and see.
The only way that Iran has ever had of exerting "dominance" in the region is by outsourcing terrorism through Hamas and Hezzbollah.

Iraqis, even when they are Shi’a, are predominantly Arab, not Persian. They share a religion with the Iranians, but they do not share a nation with them.

The program in Iraq is working; it always was going to work if we kept at it; the Iraqis will have an imperfect government — there is no other kind — which will be reasonably democratic and which the three main factions will have a share, along with a reasonably modern civil society. The building political reconciliation will allow all three factions to function in independent interdependence.

And it will be a modernizing force in the Middle East, which the U.S. should and must help maintain, and that will include making the Iranians pay for any attempts to deteriorate the civil society or government in Iraq.

Iran is an island unto itself. It does not have a natural ally in the Middle East. It is not going to dominate the region. It is not going to dominate Iraq.

Wait and see.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
None of this matters. No matter what happens in Iraq, Erb and the Left will reframe their narrative toward a massive failure, politically and militarily, just like with Vietnam. Then peddle to all media outlets over and over for years on end. Followed by documentaries. It’s highly formulaic at this point.
 
Written By: rob
URL: http://

None of this matters. No matter what happens in Iraq, Erb and the Left will reframe their narrative toward a massive failure, politically and militarily, just like with Vietnam. Then peddle to all media outlets over and over for years on end. Followed by documentaries. It’s highly formulaic at this point.
Pot. Kettle. Black. You are forgetting the predictions made in 2002: Iraq as a model, we’d be done quickly, Iraqi reconstruction would bring about strong American support, greeted as liberators, oil revenues paying for reconstruction, Syria and Iran would be forced to alter behavior by strong pro-American Iraq in the region, I could go on and on.

So many of you in your "narrative" simply pretend all that never happen. You redefine success so that if a decade after this debacle started we can leave and hope that Iraqi security forces hang on, you’ll try to define it a success. Formulaic, even absurd. And, of course, as the media, foreign policy analysts, and world opinion all points to Iraq as a failure, you’ll be that little marginal extreme, complaining about how the media has been peddled a narrative, that your view is really right but (wipe a tear) those darn leftists control the media and academia.

It is hilarious. I mean, we could talk about next steps, what went wrong, etc., but so many of you won’t acknowledge the utter failure of this war to achieve its objectives, the fact the costs have been massively higher than anticipated, the results opposite of what was expected, and the political situation in Iraq very unfriendly. You also conveniently forget that Afghanistan has been seeing setbacks. These are real world facts. You prefer to ignore them. Rest snugly in your narrative. But yeah, some of us will work hard to make sure the public doesn’t buy it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
rob:
No matter what happens in Iraq, Erb and the Left will reframe their narrative toward a massive failure,
No question. As I’ve said many times, Boris won’t change his tune, even when he’s touring Baghdad in open convertible, hitting all the best restaurants, and attending the New York Times sponsored conference on "Why the United States failed in Iraq."

The very idea that Iraqis could enjoy a civil society under the rule of law without the Ba’ath Party and Tikrit mobsters killing them for a sideways glance is abhorrent to Boris.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris:
so many of you won’t acknowledge the utter failure of this war to achieve its objectives,so many of you won’t acknowledge the utter failure of this war to achieve its objectives,
I’m not sure, Boris, but did you ever acknowledge the writing and passage of a new constitution and the election of a new government? Or did you just ignore those accomplishments and immediately start in on how the government was having such difficulties?

Your kind — by which I mean narcissistic idiots — routinely abandons the "one thing at a time" rule. It’s irrelevant to you. You decide that the thing must fail, so you ignore or disparage any steps taken in the direction of success.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Your kind — by which I mean narcissistic idiots — routinely abandons the "one thing at a time" rule. It’s irrelevant to you. You decide that the thing must fail, so you ignore or disparage any steps taken in the direction of success.
Small steps Erb. Small Steps.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
No, SShiell, small steps are not being taken. You use that slogan to try to hide the fact that we’re failing and it’s far more expensive and time consuming than anyone anticipated. This war should not have been fought, it was pointless, and I think even the Bush Administration realizes it. The whole possibility of the "opportunity society" has been sacrificed. For what? It’s been a fiasco that it will take us a long time to recover from, if ever.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Thus do we witness —yet again— the rigid perfectionism of the Left: no outcome short of a perfect one can be seen as anything but failure (unless it is a project undertaken by Sanctioned Elites).

Failure and imperfection justify the Left’s narrative of the perfectibility of humanity,given the correct Program, managed by the correct bureaucracy. The snake swallows its tail.

Iraq will be a messy, clamorous place for quite some time to come. It will be imperfect, riddled with unmet ’benchmarks’ of every stripe. Martin McPhillips’ very clever analogy to the early days of this Republic is dead-on. It is out of such boisterous, near-chaotic spasms that freedom arises. So will it be with Iraq, if given the chance. It is already happening, albeit fitfully and belatedly.

Of course this very notion is anathema to the proponents of a centralized, orderly, Utopian society (Thomas Moore’s great joke on history: "U-Topia"actually means "No-Place"). But as shouting gradually supplants shooting as the chief modus operandi in the Iraqi polity, the irrelevancy of the habitual doom-sayers will become plain to all who care to see clearly.
 
Written By: Noocyte
URL: http://
Boris bleats:
No, SShiell, small steps are not being taken. You use that slogan to try to hide the fact that we’re failing and it’s far more expensive and time consuming than anyone anticipated. This war should not have been fought, it was pointless, and I think even the Bush Administration realizes it. The whole possibility of the "opportunity society" has been sacrificed. For what? It’s been a fiasco that it will take us a long time to recover from, if ever.
So, the gradual movement toward and establishment of national and provisional governments (including the writing and ratification of an Iraqi constitution), building an Iraqi army and police force, bringing civil order to places like Anbar, etc. etc. etc. —- THESE ARE NOT EVEN SMALL STEPS!!!

As the opening premise of your paragraph, Boris, it does a pretty good job of assigning the proper meaning to the rest of it.

You’ve "gone from" being a defeatist to being a nihilist, Boris. "Gone from" in quotes because, really, you’ve always been a nihilist, albeit a perfumed nihilist. And a publicist for the terrorists in Iraq, who kill mostly Iraqis.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
In preceding:

"provisional" should be "provincial," the the earlier establishment of a provisional government was likewise a "small," and vitally important, step.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/

Thus do we witness —yet again— the rigid perfectionism of the Left: no outcome short of a perfect one can be seen as anything but failure
Actually some of the best critiques of the war come from the right — people like Pat Buchanan. The libertarian anti-war website has some of the best coverage. Moreover, there are number of military people, especially former counter-terrorism experts like Gen. William Odom, who have been very clear about the utter failure of the war.

You judge policy based on whether or not it achieves the goals, and the overall impact on the country and national security. It is virtually impossible to see Iraq as anything but a failure on those terms. Those trying to claim it can be a success have defined success down so low that it has nothing to do with the original assessments and goals, and ends up being "if we can get out of there sometime without total embarrassment and total collapse of Iraq, then it’s a success."

So Iraq is still in chaos, the government has little control as militias maintain security (Shi’ite militias in Shi’ite areas, and independent Sunni tribes in Sunni areas) and Kurdistan remains separate. Massive ethnic cleansing and violence have altered the demographics, and people still don’t have electricity, health care, and other services at the level of before the war. The government that does exist is very close to Iran, and Iran influences the Shi’ite militias.

Success? If you think so, you are either very gullable, or else you’ve determined your belief and you will stike with it regardless of the facts or events. I think some people posting have a strong emotional desire to not have the military seen as having failed or lost, and thus they will try to spin anything. Luckily, that story isn’t being bought, and now the reports about the surge going south are starting to spread. As predicted.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris belches:
Actually some of the best critiques of the war come from the right — people like Pat Buchanan.
Pat was not only against the war from the beginning, he was against the first Gulf War in ’91. Pat has also suggested that he is retroactively against U.S. involvement in WWII and WWI. I think a case can be made that he was also against fighting the Civil War.

You then go on to suggest that the repulsive Justin Raimondo (at antwar[dot]com) is also a critic "from the right." Your concept of "the right" goes a begging, in that case.

Odom was also against the war before it began.

None of that balances the far Left nonsense that you indulge in, nor does it rectify your refusal to see the "one thing at a time" progress that has been made in Iraq.

And for what has been happening in Iraq, five years is not a long time. Compress the violence down in time by compare it to the level of violence in three months in the single WWII battle in the Pacific on Okinawa (12,000 U.S. KIA, 200 naval vessles sunk or damaged, 100,000 Japanese soldiers dead, along with a huge number of civilians) and one can easily conclude that Iraq is a very limited low-intensity war deliberately stretched out by your side, i.e. the terrorists, to overwhelm the breakfast-to-lunch mentality of the West and its media.

I understand that you grieve for the loss of so many of your allies, so it’s no mystery why you want to get U.S. lethality away from those who remain ASAP.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
No, SShiell, small steps are not being taken. You use that slogan to try to hide the fact that we’re failing and it’s far more expensive and time consuming than anyone anticipated. This war should not have been fought, it was pointless, and I think even the Bush Administration realizes it. The whole possibility of the "opportunity society" has been sacrificed. For what? It’s been a fiasco that it will take us a long time to recover from, if ever.
What is so funny about this is I told you months ago you would rail against me for reminding you of the small steps being taken. Regardless of your whining - small steps are being taken. Regardless of your desires to be proven right - small steps are still being taken. I don’t need to recount them, they are built into the history of this blog. So, for your sake and to follow up with the promise I made to you months ago, I remind you again - Small Steps, there Erb. Small Steps!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
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Written By: 7
URL: http://gloeletlpqwb.com/

 
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