A month ago today, Gen. David Petraeus sounded relatively optimistic about political progress in Iraq: “The passage of the three laws today showed that the Iraqi leaders are now taking advantage of the opportunity that coalition and Iraqi troopers fought so hard to provide.”
That was then; this is now.
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.
Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that “no one” in the U.S. and Iraqi governments “feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation,” or in the provision of basic public services.
Well, I’m not sure if I’d say “no one” feels encouraged by the steps (or lack thereof) towards political reconciliation. John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Bill Kristol, and most of the Bush administration seem to tell us all the time that Iraq is nothing but a big helping of “progress.”
I don’t doubt that this will sound like a broken record to anyone who keeps up even passively with current events, but the entire point of the surge was to give Iraqis “breathing room,” which they would then use to make political progress and achieve some semblance of reconciliation. This, regrettably, hasn’t happened.
If there hasn’t been “sufficient progress” in these areas, and this is so obvious that “no one” should argue differently, then ... wait for it ... the surge hasn’t succeeded as a policy.