One year ago this week, President Bush outlined a new strategy for Iraq.Let me begin this fisking of NPR's fisk and point out that they still call this a 'so-called surge'. In fact, NPR still calls it the 'so-called War on Terror'. Perhaps I should start calling them 'so-called NPR'.
In a nationally-televised speech from the White House, Bush unveiled the so-called "surge" in U.S. troops — and more American economic aid. Bush said the government of Prime Minister Nuri al Malaki pledged to do more to heal his country's divisions.
Since then, some of what Bush envisioned has been accomplished, and some remains to be done.
What Bush did in his speech was to lay out his strategic vision and goals for this operation. I'm sure Bush has also communicated these goals and strategic vision to those who will be implementing the tactics to support them, namely, General Patraeus, Ryan Crocker and Condaleeza Rice. Bowman then goes on to compare the results of these tactics to the strategy. This comparison is almost useless.
So, the president sent in 30,000 more American troops, most of them to Baghdad. And he said the Iraqis would boost their own troop levels.
But a year later, the number of Iraqi brigades has dropped in Baghdad from 18 to 15. Some of the units have been sent by the Iraqi government to other hotspots. Many National Police units are still linked with Shiite death squads.
What Bowman doesn't report on is the actual need for Iraqi brigades in Baghdad. If Baghdad doesn't need all 18 brigades, what does he think we should do with those un-needed troops, leave them there so 'President Bowman' can make a case that he was correct in a speech 1 year ago? Unknowingly, Bowman makes another unintended point: Violence in Baghdad has been reduced significantly while there is also a reduction in Police Brigades. This is true progress.
Here is another example of why leading by committee will never work, although I'm sure Bowman had a different point to make:
So, the Washington panel made a recommendation, but the commanders in Iraq chose to follow other recommendations. There is no mention of these other panels. You see, in so-called NPR's world, any DC panel's recommendation must be followed or else. Forget about the fact that these same Iraqi police are stepping up to reduce violence and becoming much more effective. Don't let results get in the way of the story line.
"They have a lot of very, very serious issues within the National Police," former Washington D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey said on NBC's "Meet the Press." He was on a high level panel looking at the Iraqi security forces. In September, the panel recommended disbanding the National Police.
"They need to be refocused because currently they are not performing at an effective level, and if what you want is a police force rooted in democratic principles, the National Police missed the mark," he said then.
American commanders in Baghdad refused to disband the National Police. They instead chose to retrain them and to replace corrupt commanders.
Bowman goes on to show how on the political side, progress is much slower. We already know this, after all, democracy is not a fast process. By definition, it is a slow process because in a democracy, there must be debate, influencing an argument to get support because there is not one person making grand decisions. Go ask Nancy and Harry who can't get any of their legislative priorities passed, and their priorities aren't as grand as oil sharing, or constitutional issues associated with a start-up country. The only thing Bush can be accused of here is perhaps setting the time frame too aggressive.
Here is my analogy: We are the home team and it is the bottom of the fourth with the score 7-0 in our favor. The 3rd inning took 1 hour due to all of the scoring we did and the pitching changes the other team had to do. So, according to so-called NPR and the democratic party, we should walk off of the field and forfeit the game.