Gen. Petraeus says in a new interview that while much has been accomplished in the Iraqi political arena, there hasn’t been as enough progress as they want:
Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday.
The Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has won passage of some legislation that aids the cause of reconciliation, drawing praise from President Bush and his supporters. But the Iraqi government also has deferred action on some of its most important legislative goals, including laws governing the exploitation of Iraq’s oil resources, that the Bush administration had identified as necessary benchmarks of progress toward reconciliation.
Many Iraqi parliament members and other officials acknowledge that the country’s political system is often paralyzed by sectarian divisions, but they also say that American expectations are driven by considerations in Washington and do not reflect the complexity of Iraq’s problems.
In what appeared to be a foreshadowing of his congressional testimony, which his aides said he would not discuss explicitly, Petraeus insisted that Iraqi leaders still have an opportunity to act. “We’re going to fight like the dickens” to maintain the gains in security and “where we can to try and build on it,” he said.
Make no bones about it, this is a warning shot over the bow of the Iraqi parliament. While its very true that the country’s expectations are based on Washington politics they also have to understand that in 2009 they may very well face a whole new kind of United States. A President Obama or Clinton who very well could pull all of the troops out of that country.
Of course a year or so later we would have to go back in to push the new al-Qaeda run government out but thats a whole nother post for a later date.
What Petraeus is telling them is that a lot has been accomplished. Don’t let this opportunity pass your country by. McQ at QandO believes we are fast approaching the time when some real troop movements back to the US can happen:
Based on my conversations with the generals and colonels in Iraq I’ve had the opportunity to participate in, I’m fast coming to the conclusion that on the security front, we’re approaching the time when we can begin turning more and more of the total security function over to the Iraqis and begin withdrawing troops in earnest.
I would think we could be down to 10 combat brigades by the end of 2009 (which is indefinitely sustainable although I would think we could further reduce that number as the situation continues to improve). Doing so would begin to give the military the time it needs to train, rest and refit.
And as Petraeus noted, there has been some real political progress made in Iraq, just not enough, quickly enough. While it may be unfair to expect it to be fixed on a Washington timetable there is no way to get around the fact that there is a major election coming up and things may change dramatically.