Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Quantifiable Results

I need some help. I need for someone to tell me what is so wrong with setting up demonstrable criteria to gauge if a program is successful or not? Either something is working or it isn’t. Would we just accept the findings concerning some new drug based on the claims of the maker without any verifiable proof that it works? Oooops, forget that one.

How can we as the American public know what progress is being made in Iraq without some type of measurement. Are we to rely on just the word of this administration and its apologists? What a minute isn’t this the same administration that said Iraq was a part of the 9/11 attack, that there was going to be a smoking gun “mushroom cloud, and that there is no scientific basis for global warming? Oh yeah, I can see how we can just take their word for it.

News flash, there will be no military victory in Iraq. There will be no treaty signed or surrender to accept. Those who believe there will be are not living in reality. We need to develop some definable and verifiable criteria to gauge our continued presence in Iraq. There needs to be security and political objectives that are transparent. Not the kind we have now that no one is really sure what they are. All parties involved need to publicly acknowledge they understand the benchmarks and accept their ability to reach them at their appointed time. These vague and ambiguous goals must no longer be allowed to determine our presence in Iraq.

Along with these benchmarks there must be consequences to inaction. Currently the Iraqi government, the militias, and the insurgents know that they have Mr. Bush over a barrel. He can no longer pressure any of these groups to do anything. They know that he is committed to this war and our presence there and that is why no one is taking him seriously. Mr. Bush can no longer deliver in Iraq; he no longer has any leverage to pressure them with. The only pressure that can be exerted must come from us the American public. We must become mobilized behind a workable strategy to begin our disengagement from Iraq. We must have standards that are either being met or they are not. If not, here will be our response, end of story. This situation is no longer about America or Iraqi freedom; it is now about Mr. Bush and history. He has proven that he has no objectivity to the issues on the ground. He and Mr. Cheney have created this “Neverland” where all news is good news and anyone with the nerve to introduce reality is to be unmercifully bludgeoned.

The reason that the supporters of this debacle refuse to publically state any benchmarks they claim to have is not because it aids the enemy, but because the Iraqi government cannot or will not deliver on them. The current Iraqi government are the ones playing the waiting game; while our troops are there they are consolidating their power and carving up their sections of a soon to be divided Iraq. This government does not appear to be directed by an overriding desire to create a new Iraq for all Iraqis, but instead are too enmeshed in sectarian and clan loyalties to overcome the tremendous problems that they face. Tribal interests have outweighed national interests. As with any recently freed people there is a tremendous amount of distrust and seeking of self-interest. Unless they are forced by circumstances or political expediency they are in no hurry to seek unification. The Shia finally have the political, social, and material advantage they have been denied for years and the Kurds believe they have a chance at creating the nation of Kurdistan which they have sought for centuries. Neither group has much incentive to resolve this impasse or to extend the olive branch. Unless we hold their feet to the fire there will be no political resolution.

Therefore we need to negotiate achievable goals between all parties that are verifiable and transparent. These goals should be tied to economic as well as security incentives. There has been too much strife and mistrust for us to expect these groups to be able to come to some sort of equitable arrangement. To expect these groups to display altruistic motives at this stage would be irrational on our part. It is time to pull back the generals and insert the diplomats into this quagmire to negotiate the best terms for the Iraqi people that we can. We are no longer in control of this situation and anyone who thinks that we are is displaying that American arrogance we are so known for throughout the world.

“To prove something, first measure it”

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