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Cordesman: President's Strategy Not Working
CSIS Draft Report Charges US Trying to Fight "Wrong War" in Iraq
06/20/2007 3:54 PM ET
"The latest Department of Defense report on “Measuring Stability in Iraq” attempts to put a bad situation in a favorable light. It does not disguise many of the problems involved, but it does attempt to defend the strategy presented by President Bush in January 2007 in ways that sometimes present serious problems. More broadly, it reveals that the President’s strategy is not working in any critical dimension," senior CSIS Strategic Analyst Anthony Cordesman writes in the draft of his forthcoming report Still Losing? The June 2007 Edition of "Measuring Stability in Iraq"

Posted by Steve Clemons of the Washington Note, Cordesman's report posits that "Part of the problem is that the US is trying to fight the wrong 'war.' The US does need to fight a serious counterinsurgency campaign, but this seems to be focused far too narrowly on both Al Qa’ida, which is only one Sunni Islamist extremist movement, and on the most radical elements of the Sadr militia. The US does not have an effective strategy or the operational capability to deal with the broader problem of armed nation- building, or with a widening pattern of civil conflicts."

Cordesman says that the US is losing ground in Iraq, but argues that all is not lost. "The June 2007 report may 'spin' a level of success that does not exist, and understate many problems and challenges, but a detailed reading also highlights many efforts that can have considerable impact over time if Iraqi political conciliation takes place, if the US is more realistic about the time-scale and resources needed for effective action, and if the Congress and American people are given more reason to trust the reporting, strategy, plans, and program execution required from the US government."

Finally, Cordesman projects that the plan to stabilize Iraq requires a long-term commitment that will outlive current the Administration: "The US cannot bring security and stability within the life of the Bush Administration. It can only create a hollow and crumbling façade or withdraw. One key message that emerges from both the content and flaws in the June 2007 report is that success will be limited, uncertain, and take time. When it comes to effective US action in each of the major areas listed above, the time-scale is 2010-2015 and not 2008."

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