Today, the Washington Post has an editorial attempting to goad the Bush administration into getting Iraq into shape for the big handover at the end of June. The paper points out that the security situation sucks, this troop rotation is reducing our forces in Iraq by 20%, and there’s no real plan for the government that’s going to take over when Paul Bremer hands over the reins. The reality of how bad things are becomes clear when you look at the Washington Post’s recommendations. Here they are:
The first step must be to address the security situation — which, despite the repeated assurances of U.S. commanders that the insurgency is failing, appears to be growing worse. Mr. Bush should review whether the decision to reduce U.S. forces to 105,000 as part of a rotation of units this spring still makes sense in light of the undiminished intensity of attacks by Iraqi insurgents and terrorists.
I’m not an expert on the military, but I suspect that the reason we’re drawing our forces down is that we don’t have people to deploy to replace the people who are rotating out. People warned all last fall that the number of US soldiers deployed into Iraq was going to have to come down and that we desperately needed other countries to fill in the gaps. Even the current level of troops isn’t adequate, judging from the lack of improvement in the security situation. That’s not the fault of our soldiers — again, going into this, there were good metrics on the ratio of peacekeepers to civilians that were required and we were never anywhere near that ratio.
He should renew efforts to recruit contributions of troops by other governments.
It looks to me like we’re losing allies, not gaining them. The reluctance of other countries to get involved in Iraq is a shame, because nobody in the world will be safer if Iraq goes to crap. Unfortunately, other countries see it as our mess, and aren’t willing to help clean it up. The fact that the Bush administration has refused to offer any quid pro quos in exchange for their help certainly hasn’t improved the situaton.
And he should eliminate the bureaucratic and logistical obstacles preventing U.S. commanders from adequately equipping Iraqi security forces with armor, vehicles, radios and weapons.
I don’t know enough to say anything either way about this one. What I do know is that the new security forces are ill trained and poorly vetted. They’re the long term solution but I don’t know how effective they are right now.
They also beseech the administration to come up with a political plan that will bring forth a consensus among all the factions in Iraq, but it seems to me that they’ve been trying to do that for almost a year now, and the Shiites don’t seem to want to be deterred from getting their hegemony on. I’m glad I’m not in charge of fixing Iraq right now, the situation seems hideously bad.