Architects of Iraq Plan Have Doubts

Or perhaps what’s going on here is that the MSM is being manipulated by these experts in deceit, and an article such as this helps to cover them for the inevitable and anticipated failure. We can just hear it: “Well, we said it might not work …”

Doubts Run Deep on Reforms Crucial to Bush’s Iraq Strategy
Even Plan’s Authors Say Political, Economic Changes May Fail

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 4, 2007; Page A16

The success of the Bush administration’s new Iraq strategy depends on a series of rapid and dramatic political and economic reforms that even the plan’s authors have little confidence will work.

In the current go-for-broke atmosphere, administration officials say they are aware that failure to achieve the reforms would result in a repeat of last year’s unsuccessful Baghdad offensive, when efforts to consolidate military gains with lasting stability on the ground did not work. This time, they acknowledge, there will be no second chance.

Among many deep uncertainties are whether Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is up to the task and committed to spearheading what the administration foresees as a fundamental realignment of Iraqi politics; whether Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government and its sluggish financial bureaucracy will part with $10 billion for rapid job creation and reconstruction, at least some of it directed to sectarian opponents; and whether the U.S. military and State Department can calibrate their own stepped-up reconstruction assistance to push for action without once again taking over.

A pessimistic new National Intelligence Estimate released Friday described the Iraqi government as “hard-pressed” to achieve sectarian reconciliation, even in the unlikely event that violence diminishes. Without directly mentioning Maliki, it noted that “the absence of unifying leaders among the Arab Sunni or Shia with the capacity to speak for or exert control over their confessional groups limits prospects.”

Several senior officials involved in formulating the political and economic aspects of the administration’s strategy, along with a number of informed outsiders, agreed to discuss its assumptions and risks on the condition that they not be identified by name. Other sources refused to be even anonymously quoted, describing the administration as standing on the brink of an intricate combination of maneuvers whose outcome is far from assured.

The foundation of the strategy is not new — U.S. policy since the March 2003 invasion has been to use American military might, money and know-how to foster a peaceful Iraq with a unified government and a solid economy. The strategy incorporates major elements of last year’s “clear, hold and build” plan, whose “hold and build” parts never got off the ground.

Several sources expressed concern that the administration, by publicly rejecting a “containment” option — withdrawing U.S. troops to Iraqi borders to avoid sectarian fighting while preventing outside arms and personnel from entering the country — has not left itself a fall-back plan in the event of failure.

Read the rest here.

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