Victory in Iraq- The View from November 2005

The surge in Iraq has sputtered. (Regular readers may recall I predicted it would do so before it began.) Things seem to have hit the fan over there and nobody is pretending otherwise any more. Of course, its still the fault of the naysayers – somehow, if we only clapped harder, things would be alright. Ah well.

So I decided to revisit GW’s National Strategy for Victory in Iraq from back in November of 2005 to see where we should be at this point…

First, a note… the document is chock full of quotes by GW. Apparently he was viewed as some sort of seer or something. For instance, there’s this from June 2003:

Our mission in Iraq is clear. We’re hunting down the terrorists. We’re helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We’re advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren.

And here’s the key part… how success is defined…

As the central front in the global war on terror, success in Iraq is an essential element in the long war against the ideology that breeds international terrorism. Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come in the form of an enemy’s surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event — there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages

It then goes on to give some short, medium, and long term signs of progress. Here’s the short term list:

An Iraq that is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, meeting political milestones; building democratic institutions; standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy.

I guess the only question one can ask is – what the heck comes before the short term?

Among the consequences of failure is this:

A failed state and source of instability for the entire Middle East, with all the attendant risks and incalculable costs for American security and prosperity.

Can anyone say that hasn’t happened already?

The report does state:

Iraq is likely to struggle with some level of violence for many years to come.

I wonder if this is the “some level” they had in mind when they wrote this nonsense.