Saturday, July 14, 2007

Iraq Questions

History shows the American people have enough patience for about 2 years of war then start asking questions. I'd point out that (i) the Democrats lost big in 1918 even though the election was one week before Armistice Day, when the German lines were completely broken and (ii) one year after Pearl Harbor, despite the constant barrage of propaganda, the Republicans came close to winning control of Congress. It has been 4 1/2 years since the invasion of Iraq and almost 6 since 9/11 and only now in either country is there an attempt being made to win. the questioning and the anger, even from those who had been Bush supporters is understandable.

A replacement Iraqi Army and police force should have been started pre invasion. At least a cadre should have been formed from the Kurdish and other opposition groups. It is telling that the best units in the post invasion army and police seem to be Kurdish units that came from the pre-invasion Kurdish forces. The oil law should have been passed three years ago, back when it still was the CPA.

Now we hear that despite the fact that the country is going to hell and has only 8 weeks to meet certain benchmarks, the Iraqi parliament is taking the month of August off.

Iraq has only a barely functioning government and army. So long as we remain, the people running the country have no incentive to clean up their act. I am not saying pull out 100% now. But the Iraqi government needs a timetable. Right now, there is no incentive to make the necessary decisions and take the necessary actions as their streets are patrolled by 19 year old American kids.

The Iraqi government is like a 28 year old slacker kid who lives in his parent’s basement and is still "working" on his masters degree (though as far as you can tell, all he does all day is hang out with his slacker friends and maybe goes to the library once a week or so). I want Iraq to have a stable and democratic government. But ultimately, that has to be their doing. Starting September, there needs to be a timetable in place. Aid must be tied to real improvement. And the Kurds need to be given more time.

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