Thursday, November 01, 2007

Iraq: U.S. strategy lacks clear purpose, scope, roles, and performance measures

While there has been a decrease in violence in Iraq during the past few weeks progress on political goals and reconstruction has been stalled by weaknesses in U.S. strategy and the ineffectiveness of the government in Baghdad according to a report issued by the General Accounting Office (GAO) to congress. We were told the whole purpose of the “surge” was to buy time for the political work to get done to resolve Iraq’s multiple internal conflicts. While the soldiers have done their part the political leaders in Washington and Baghdad have not done their’s.

According to the GAO report’s summary:
Since GAO last reported in September 2007, on the status of the 18 Iraqi benchmarks, the number of enemy attacks in Iraq has declined. While political reconciliation will take time, Iraq has not yet advanced key legislation on equitably sharing oil revenues and holding provincial elections. In addition, sectarian influences within Iraqi ministries continue while militia influences divide the loyalties of Iraqi security forces.

U.S. efforts lack strategies with clear purpose, scope, roles, and performance measures. The U.S. strategy for victory in Iraq partially identified the agencies responsible for implementing key aspects of the strategy and does not fully address how the United States would integrate its goals with those of the Iraqis and the international community. U.S. efforts to develop Iraqi ministry capability lack an overall strategy, no lead agency provides overall direction and U.S. priorities have been subject to numerous changes. The weaknesses in U.S. strategic planning are compounded by the Iraqi government’s lack of integrated planning in its critical energy sector.
I have to agree with Democracy Arsenal that this administration owes the 165,000 American troops serving in Iraq (not to mention the American and Iraqi people) to come up with a workable strategy.

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