July 15, 2007

Of strategies means and devices

It is often touted that the Bush Administration did not have a strategy for victory in place following the end of military hostilities in Iraq. In reality, this was not the case. According to a document released by President Bush in November 2005 entitled “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq”, “victory” has short term, medium term, and long-term definitions.

In fact, as one can see from the longer-term goal, the bar was raised so high that the administration almost set itself up for failure.

What has been missing all along is the micro details, the "how to' if you will. Understandably, any strategic and tactical plans as required to achieve such a plan would be nigh impossible to formulate with any accuracy in advance. Given the complexity of the Iraqi political and cultural landscape it would seem plausible to expect a continuously evolving plan which was always going to test the patience of an electorate, its leaders and particularly opponents of the war.

For all the talk about how hopelessly entrenched the U.S. is becoming in Iraq its no Vietnam, not in a numbers sense. The recent surge has lifted the number of U.S. personal to some 160,000. By 1966 there were 375,000 Americans in Vietnam and by 1968 there were half a million!

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OUR NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR VICTORY IN IRAQ:

Helping the Iraqi People Defeat the Terrorists and Build an Inclusive Democratic State

VICTORY IN IRAQ DEFINED


As the central front in the global war on terror, success in Iraq is an essential element in the long war against the ideology that breeds international terrorism. Unlike past wars, however, victory in Iraq will not come in the form of an enemy's surrender, or be signaled by a single particular event -- there will be no Battleship Missouri, no Appomattox. The ultimate victory will be achieved in stages, and we expect:

In the short term
An Iraq that is making steady progress in fighting terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency, meeting political milestones; building democratic institutions; standing up robust security forces to gather intelligence, destroy terrorist networks, and maintain security; and tackling key economic reforms to lay the foundation for a sound economy.

In the medium term
An Iraq that is in the lead defeating terrorists and insurgents and providing its own security, with a constitutional, elected government in place, providing an inspiring example to reformers in the region, and well on its way to achieving its economic potential.

In the longer term
An Iraq that has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency. An Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country. An Iraq that is a partner in the global war on terror and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, integrated into the international community, an engine for regional economic growth, and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.

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The entire document can be viewed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/iraq_strategy_nov2005.html

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