Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cautiously Optomistic on Iraq

Barry McCaffery has returned from a week in Iraq on has issued his report (the link is to a blog that quotes the report extensively, but the full report is not online). McCaffery was the commander of the 24th ID in Gulf I and was Clinton's drug czar for a number of years in the '90s. He has been a gentle critic of some of the handling of the invasion (think heavy tank guy, anti-Rumsfeld. His conclusion:

There is no reason why the U.S. cannot achieve our objectives in Iraq. Our aim must be to create a viable federal state under the rule of law which does not: enslave its own people, threaten its neighbors, or produce weapons of mass destruction. This is a ten year task. We should be able to draw down most of our combat forces in 3-5 years. We have few alternatives to the current US strategy which is painfully but gradually succeeding. This is now a race against time. Do we have the political will, do we have the military power, will we spend the resources required to achieve our aims?

It was very encouraging for me to see the progress achieved in the past year. Thanks to the leadership and personal sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of men and women of the CENTCOM team and the CIA – the American people are far safer today than we were in the 18 months following the initial intervention.

I found it interesting to compare to his report a year ago where he laid out the strategy we were following and then showed the progress made in the last year.

As he says, we are 3 years into a 5 to 10 year project. We must have patience.

Update: Here is a link to the actual report.


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