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August 30, 2007


It's probably worth pointing out that numerous credible and expert sources -- Marc Lynch, for instance -- opine that actually fulfulling many of the benchmarks would arguably be outright counter-productive in regards to reconciliation.

So the actual value of the Iraqis making "progress" on the benchmarks, were that to happen by some magic, seems quite questionable, in any case.

See also, for instance, Kevin's links here.

And this.

There's a slew of other current Iraq stuff worth noting, to be sure, but I'm only up for a short comment at the moment. I just didn't want to let any assumptions about the benchmarks being an unambiguous good stand unquestioned.

Last point (sorry) on that Iraqi police story, though, is that the key graph in a quite mushy story is this:

[...] Maj. Joe Pierce, an American Army officer working as an adviser to the Iraqi National Police as part of an Army program, said: ‘’I think there is a clear indication that there needs to be some kind of change in the National Police organization. Most of that has to be led by the Iraqi government, because it is a very top-fed type of system.

“If they want to institute change it really cannot come from, specifically, an outsider. It has to start from within, and if the Iraqi government decides that they need to clean up that organization, change will be a real thing and they can clean it up."

Turning the Iraqi police force into a non-sectarian force simply isn't something within the capacity of the United States: not unless we make the Iraqi government an absolute puppet at every level, and that would simply mean that the Iraqi government would be completely illegitimate, which would do no good whatsoever.

So either the Iraqi government -- which is effectively pretty much Shia, where it counts -- is going to decide to disarm their influence over the police, in the face of the Sunni threat, as they see it, or they won't.

There's absolutely no sign that they'd magically start trusting the Sunni and acting against what they see as their own interests.

This seems to pretty much put paid to the American project in Iraq, absent magical mind control rays to get Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds to all start holding hands and singing Kumbaya sometime soon.

I'd prefer to be wrong, but I'd need someone to explain plausible alternative scenarios, and present some evidence that they're likely to occur, and that it's not just hope-as-a-plan.

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