Monday, October 10, 2005

Iraqis' Broken Dreams

Kanan Makiya was one of the most influential advocates of invading Iraq and creating a democracy there, so his sober reassessment of the prospects is telling. A piece in Newsday also samples the disillusionment of some of the war exponents, including Makiya.

Meanwhile, Senator Carl Levin, co-chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and a leading Democratic voice, argues that if the US is going to influence the trajectory of events in Iraq the Administration should stop talking about open-ended troop commitments and condition the continued presence of U.S. forces on the behavior of the leading sectarian voices.

The administration has been sending the opposite messages with repeated statements that we will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed. We should not mislead the Iraqis into thinking they have unlimited time to reach a settlement. As long as they think that way, they are less likely to make the necessary compromises. Gen. Casey acknowledged that that message is not being communicated forcefully to Iraqis.

And as we speak more realistically to the Iraqis, the administration needs to speak honestly with the American people. Exaggerating our progress in defeating the insurgency or in standing up an Iraqi army is painting the same kind of dangerous rosy scenario the administration utilized before attacking Iraq.

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