Fables of the Reconstruction.
According to a new GAO report
of full report], the surge has resulted in security gains and reduced violence in Iraq, but the political goals the surge was supposed to buy time for mostly haven't happened
From the GAO report:
- The Department of Defense reported in March 2008 that the number of Iraqi units capable of performing operations without U.S. assistance has remained at about 10 percent.
- Between 2005 and 2007, Iraq spent only 24 percent of the $27 billion it budgeted for its own reconstruction efforts. More specifically, Iraq's central ministries, responsible for security and essential services, spent only 11 percent of their capital investment budgets in 2007--down from similarly low rates of 14 and 13 percent in the 2 prior years.
- Since 2003, the United States has provided more than $20 billion to develop Iraqi security forces
- Although oil production has improved for short periods, the May 2008 production level of about 2.5 million barrels per day (mbpd) was below the U.S. goal of 3 mbpd.
- The daily supply of electricity met only about half of demand in early May 2008.
Here's what President Bush said
the surge would accomplish, with updates
"To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November." That didn't happen. The Iraqi government is taking control of Anbar Province
this week. It'll be the 10th province out of 18 that the Iraqi government has taken responsible for--but the first Sunni-controlled one, and the Kurdish and Shiite provinces were previously run by militias that were folded into the government. Security gains in Sunni areas are largely due to co-opting insurgents into the Sons of Iraq
. The US military pays
the 103,000 overwhelmingly Sunni members $300 a month, but fewer than 17,000 Sons of Iraq members have joined Iraq's security forces and 6,100 more have been approved, leaving around 80,000 unemployed armed men (again?
) when the money runs out.
"To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis." That didn't happen. Talks are resuming
this week. Meanwhile the Iraqi government is about to sign no-bid contracts
with several U.S. and European energy companies. "We fear that any such agreements signed by Iraq's Hydrocarbon Ministry without an equitable revenue sharing agreement in place would simply add more fuel to Iraq's civil war."
"To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs." That didn't happen. Iraq spent a little over half
of the $10 billion allocated in 2007. In 2005 the Iraqi government estimated the total cost of reconstructing Iraq at $200 billion.
"To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year." That didn't happen. Provincial elections are scheduled
for October 2008, but could be delayed
due to disputes over election law.
"And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws..." That happened, kind of. The re-Baathification law passed in January
but the law isn't being implemented
"...and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution." That didn't happen either, but it might happen
of the troops that made up the surge have been withdrawn. Violence is down
to only 300-850 violent incidents per week after spiking
in March and April.
Apparently the surge has always had the Maoist name of The New Way Forward; I seem to have missed it until now.