Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.
Early this year the American-led training command shifted its emphasis from simple head counts of Iraqi troops to an assessment of unit readiness based on a four-part classification scheme. Level 1, the highest, was for "fully capable" units--those that could plan, execute, and maintain counterinsurgency operations with no help whatsoever. Last summer Pentagon officials said that three Iraqi units, out of a total of 150 police and army battalions, had reached this level. In September the U.S. military commander in Iraq, Army General George Casey, lowered that estimate to one.
Level 2 was for "capable" units, which can fight against insurgents as long as the United States provides operational assistance (air support, logistics, communications, and so on). Marine General Peter Pace, who is now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last summer that just under one third of Iraqi army units had reached this level. A few more had by fall. Level 3, for "partially capable" units, included those that could provide extra manpower in efforts planned, led, supplied, and sustained by Americans. The remaining two thirds of Iraqi army units, and half the police, were in this category. Level 4, "incapable" units, were those that were of no help whatsoever in fighting the insurgency. Half of all police units were so classified.
In short, if American troops disappeared tomorrow, Iraq would have essentially no independent security force. Half its policemen would be considered worthless, and the other half would depend on external help for organization, direction, support. Two thirds of the army would be in the same dependent position, and even the better-prepared one third would suffer significant limitations without foreign help.
So 38 comments and no one can summarize what the actual strategy for victory is?
It appears increasingly unlikely that U.S., Iraqi and coalition forces will crush the insurgency prior to the beginning of a phased U.S. and coalition withdrawal.It is no longer clear that the United States will be able to create (Iraqi) military and police forces that can secure the entire country no matter how long U.S. forces remain.The United States may also have to scale back its expectations for Iraq's political future," by accepting a relatively stable but undemocratic state as preferable to a civil war among Iraq's ethnic and religious factions.
This is so eerily reminiscent of our non-strategy strategy in Vietnam.
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