Friday, March 14, 2008

So ... The Surge Has Failed?

Weird, because John McCain and W. Bush have been telling me it's worked. From the Washington Post.

Petraeus: Iraqi Leaders Not Making 'Sufficient Progress'

By Cameron W. Barr
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, March 14, 2008; A10

BAGHDAD, March 13 -- Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday.

Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that "no one" in the U.S. and Iraqi governments "feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation," or in the provision of basic public services.

The general's comments appeared to be his sternest to date on Iraqis' failure to achieve political reconciliation. In February, following the passage of laws on the budget, provincial elections and an amnesty for certain detainees, Petraeus was more encouraging. "The passage of the three laws today showed that the Iraqi leaders are now taking advantage of the opportunity that coalition and Iraqi troopers fought so hard to provide," he said at the time.

Petraeus came back to Iraq a year ago to implement a counterinsurgency strategy, backed up by a temporary increase of about 30,000 U.S. troops, intended to reduce violence so Iraqi leaders could pass laws and take other measures to ease the sectarian and political differences that threaten to break the country apart.
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.
Update! From Matthew Yglesias
I think the point is clear enough -- Petraeus is right that if you're willing to expend an infinite quantity of American lives, American money, and American resources of diplomacy and attention on Iraq, things might kinda sorta turn out okay at some point depending on what happens. I would only caution that if we cut and run it's also possible that some sunny scenario will emerge. But in terms of the goals actually set for the surge, i.e. reconciliation, it hasn't happened.

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