Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cordesman on Iraq: No Arbitrary Benchmarks Necessary

Tony Cordesman is hardly an optimist. But he does see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel that is not a train coming in our direction. Two years of L.Paul Bremer and his gang who couldn't shoot [the sacking of Gen. Jay Garner is the subject of a new flick on Iraq] are finally being overcome by competence and that most intangible of destiny's playing cards: luck. But luck comes to those who work hard and the Iraqi politicians who continue to bicker and play corrupt parlor games are the biggest obstacle, perhaps, to some sort of honorable ending in Iraq. My fear is that the Democrats do not seek an honorable ending and are too heavily invested in defeat, though there are glimmerings that Hillary, Inc. might be the new Nixon. Cordesman's CSIS cover sheet ends thusly:

"Luck, however, is not something that can be ignored, and there is a window of opportunity that could significantly improve the chances of US success in Iraq if the Iraqi government acts upon it. The US also now has a country team in Iraq that is far more capable than in the past, and which may be able to develop and implement the kind of cohesive plans for US action in Iraq that have been weak or lacking to date. If that team can come forward with solid plans for an integrated approach to a sustained US effort to deal with Iraq’s plans and risks, there would be a far stronger and more bipartisan case for strategic patience."

Strategic patience does not exist on the hysteric left. Let's hope a centrist can find a way out of what one US official calls "playing three-dimensional chess in the dark while someone's shooting at you."

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