When it comes to Iraq, I’m usually highly dubious of the messages I hear from the Bush administration. While I agree, in principle, with the ideas that we should fight terrorism at the source and that human beings in the Middle East want to determine their own paths in life as much as I do, George W. Bush is a terrible, horrible marketer. The messages about Iraq are so muddled, on both sides, that one comes away from most media articles about this war feeling confused or hopeless. Having spent a year there, I tend to look to non-governmental sources when I want to answer the question: are we making progress in Iraq?
I’ve been fairly dubious that the troop surge is going to be enough to change the situation on the ground short term. But this seems like a glimmer of hope to me:
Thereâ€™s also the month-old and continuing Baghdad security operation, and the apparent determination of PM Maliki to confront and disarm all outlaws â€” especially those with connections with neighboring countries. In addition, the flight of Sadr and many others from Iraq has also dealt a blow to Iranâ€™s influence in Iraq. Iâ€™m almost certain Malikiâ€™s statement during the conference last Saturday caused disappointment in Tehran. For the first time the head of state didnâ€™t use double standards in addressing Iraqâ€™s neighbors. Iran was addressed in the same tone that Suuni neighbors were addressed. This by the very Shia premier Iran was hoping to make its puppet.
Ultimately, only Iraqis can decide that Iraq will be a place of peace. Perhaps they are finally growing weary of the bloodshed.
Minimizing Iranian government meddling in Iraq’s affairs is one step towards stability.
When the President initially announced his 20,000-strong “troop surge” to Baghdad and al-Anbar, I said I thought 200,000 would be a more realistic number but that we didn’t have that many fighters available. We may not have 200,000 additional troops ready to fight in Iraq, but that hasn’t stopped commanders there from asking for what they think they can get:
The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq has asked for an additional 2,500 to 3,000 troops to be sent to Iraq as part of the Bush administration’s military buildup to crack down on rising sectarian violence and insurgents, The Boston Globe reported.
Too bad previous leaders didn’t demand more human resources a long time ago.
It may take ten years and 10,000 more American lives to stabilize Iraq, but I dread the alternative.