Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How Are We Measuring Progress in Iraq?

'Bench marks'? 'Quantitative metrics'? 'Key indicators'? 'Body-counts'? 'Kill ratios'? Passage of 'hydrocarbons bill'? Elections?

General Petraeus recycles back the Friedman unit!!Gen. David Petraeus appeared on NBC this morning and rebutted the declarations of mission accomplished:
We think we won’t know that we’ve reached a turning point until we’re six months past it. We have repeatedly said that there is no lights at the end of the tunnel that we’re seeing. We’re certainly not dancing in the end zone or anything like that.
The careful reader will recall that it was Thom Friedman, intrepid optimist, NYT columnist and Iraquagmire cheerleader who inadvertently gave birth to the 6-month interval as a definitive measure of progress. His repetitive invoking of overlapping 6-months periods constitutes one of many false prophecies which have coaxed my fellow Americans through this costly, bloody, and unremitting occupation for the last five years. My guess is that Friedman is not especially proud of his namesake, the Friedman Units. Nevertheless, they have broken his credibility as an Iraq pundit, and he has had to own them. As Craig Unger has chronicled in his book, Fall of the House of Bush, for years Friedman has been promising his faithful readers their deliverance just around the next corner. Starting in the NYT (28-Sep-05):
Maybe the cynical Europeans were right. Maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won't, then we are wasting our time.
Face The Nation (18-Dec-05):
We teed up this situation for Iraqis, and I think the next six months really are going to determine whether this country is going to collapse into three parts or more or whether it's going to come together.
Charlie Rose (20-Dec-05):
We are at the beginning of - I think - the decisive - I would say - six months in Iraq, okay, because I feel this election - you know, I felt from the beginning Iraq was going to be ultimately, Charlie, what Iraqis make of it.
NYT (21-Dec-05):
The only thing I am certain of is that in the wake of this election, Iraq will be what Iraqis make of it - and the next six months will tell us a lot. I remain guardedly hopeful.
Oprah Winfrey Show (23-Jan-06):
I think we're going to know after six to nine months whether this project has any chance of succeeding. In which case, I think the American people as a whole will want to play it out or whether it really is a fool's errand.
CBS (31-Jan-06):
I think we're in the end game here, in the next three to six months, Bob. We've got for the first time and Iraqi government elected on the basis of an Iraqi constitution. Either they're going to produce the kind of inclusive consensual government that we aspire to in the near term, in which case America will stick to it, or they're not, in which case I think the bottom's going to fall out.
Today-NBC (2-Mar-06) :
I think we are in the end game. The next six to nine months are going to tell whether we can produce a decent outcome in Iraq.
CNN (23-Apr-06):
Can Iraqis ever get this government together? If they do, I think the American public will continue to want to support the effort there to try to produce a decent stable Iraq. But if they don't, then I think the bottom is going to fall out of public support here for the whole Iraq endeavor. So one way or another, I think we're in the end game in the sense it's going to be decided in the next weeks or months whether there's an Iraq there worth investing in. And that is something only Iraqis can tell us.
Hardball-NSNBC (11-May-06):
Well, I think we're going to find out, Chris, in the next year to six months - probably sooner - whether a decent outcome is possible there, and I think we're just going to have to let this play out.
Friedman may have experience an epiphany in his A Time for Plan B NYT (4-Aug-06):
It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war.
Friedman senses himself exhausted and over extended (like our troops). It's time to call in fresh false prophets. Enter General Petraeus and Senator McCain.

9 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Bob Keller said...

You have clearly found failure at every turn.

1/22/2008 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

Petreaus? He's guaranteed a safe exit from Iraq. He's got his ticket to Brussels already punched. He's going to be NATO's boss. He doesn't give a shit. Iraq may be FUBAR, but the General is singing FIGMO!

1/22/2008 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

as we say, ain't over till it's over.

boris, is that right? Patreaus is headed here?

1/23/2008 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger Indicted Plagiarist said...

The Center for Public Integrity has published a study finding that:

'President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war. '

1/23/2008 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Pink Liberty said...

So the official case for staying longer is so that we can see later if we're finished now?!

1/23/2008 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Commander Zaius said...

Progress for Bush is just getting his ass out of the White House before the house of cards of Iraq falls apart. Yes, moving troops out into the countryside taking a cop-on-the-street approach can help but unless I've missed something the Iraqi politicians have yet to address important matters that the Shites, Sunnis, and Kurds must settle to bring any resolution to the situation. This is a nice time bomb for the next president.

Petreaus moving to Brussels? Makes sense in a way.

1/23/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Beach Bum,

Couldn't agree with you more:

"This is a nice time bomb for the next president."

1/24/2008 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Sapo said...

Time to dredge up the Iraq perpetual calendar once more.

1/25/2008 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Sapo said...

If we stopped the money spigot, it would mean the end of such statements.

With the economy going into recession, the country is going to rapidly lose patience with an army that assumes it can interminably suck the treasury dry, no questions asked.

1/25/2008 06:41:00 PM  

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