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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oil Production In Iraq Is Lower Than Before the War; Unemployment High.

"Despite improvements, Iraq's economy and its infrastructure remain in
shambles. Oil production, the most important source of income, has
decreased from a high of 2.5 million barrels a day in September 2004 to
less than 2 million barrels a day, primarily because of terrorist
attacks and deteriorating infrastructure. That's less than before the
war... Security problems have hamstrung efforts to rebuild the
electrical system, oil industry and other infrastructure. About $3
billion of the $13.5 billion in foreign pledges to Iraq has been spent.
In any case, the pledged amount is far short of the $27 billion that
the World Bank says Iraq needs for infrastructure. ...Unemployment
estimates range from 27 percent to 40 percent... Economic growth is
projected at 3.7 percent this year, which isn't good enough in a poor
country with high unemployment."
[Knight Ridder, Miami Herald, 12/4/05]

Bush's "Strategy" For Iraq Rolls Back Expectations.
"On Iraq's economic future," the public document that the White House
released last week, "says reconstruction of a country battered by war
and starved by a dictatorship and international economic sanctions is
key to winning over Iraq's 25 million people to the U.S. vision of a
new Iraq. But in a striking rollback from an earlier, more optimistic
position, the administration says Iraq has the 'potential' to become
prosperous and self-sustaining -- without specifying a time frame..."
[Washington Post, 12/1/05]
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: OT THE NOT SO REAL DEAL ON IRAQ -- DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN SHAMBLES

Same Miami Herald article, near the end,
cherry picked:


Posted on Sun, Dec. 04, 2005



R E L A T E D C O N T E N T

Chuck Kennedy, Knight Ridder Tribune
President George W. Bush speaks about the war in Iraq at the U.S. Naval
Academy in Annapolis, Md.





U.S. has a long way to go to achieve objectives in Iraq

By RON HUTCHESON

Knight Ridder Newspapers



WASHINGTON — President Bush has laid out his markers for victory in Iraq,
which raises an obvious question: How's it going over there?


The short answer: It's a mess. But that doesn't mean the effort is doomed
to failure.


There are signs of progress amid the carnage, but for every step forward,
there seems at least one step back, and the future is murky. Even some of
the most pessimistic analysts admit that things still could work out. And
most optimists acknowledge the risk of failure.


Here's a snapshot of conditions in the three broad areas that Bush
outlined in Wednesday's speech at the U.S. Naval Academy and in his
accompanying 35-page "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." Indicators
in all three areas - political reform, security and economic
reconstruction - show a mixed picture, at best.


POLITICAL REFORM:


National and provincial elections set for Dec. 15 will be a crucial test
of Iraq's ability to form the kind of "free, representative government"
that Bush envisions and that would mark a first in the Arab Middle East.


"All of the key political issues are now on the table," national security
specialist Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International
Studies wrote in a Nov. 29 analysis. "If this political process fails,
there may be civil war or the country may be divided."


A key unanswered question is whether Sunni Muslim Arabs - the privileged
group in Saddam Hussein's regime and the backbone of the current
insurgency - will vote and join the political process. Another is whether
Iraq's majority Shiite Muslims will offer Sunnis an incentive to stay on
board, mainly by cutting them into the stream of Iraq's oil wealth, which
is under Shiite and Kurdish lands.




Most Sunnis sat out the first round of parliamentary elections last
January, when 8.5 million Iraqis turned out to select a temporary
government dominated by rival Shiites and Kurds.


Sunni participation improved in October, when 10 million Iraqis approved a
new constitution, but many went to the polls to torpedo the political
framework and they failed. The hope now is that promises of a meaningful
role in the new permanent government will lure them into politics and away
from the insurgency.


Right now, there are only 17 Sunni Arabs in the 275-member National
Assembly. That's about 6 percent, well below their 20 percent share of the
population.




Tensions between Sunnis and Shiites are high, aggravated again last month
by the discovery of an interrogation facility in the Interior Ministry.
Evidence indicates that Shiite guards from an Iranian-backed militia
routinely abused and sometimes tortured Sunni prisoners.




The discovery came amid other evidence of Shiite death squads and
intimidation directed at Sunnis. Sunni bomb attacks have killed thousands
of Shiites.




The real challenge may come after the elections, when the winners will
have to establish a government that satisfies all the major groups.
Encouraging signs - the emergence of competing political parties, the
rapid growth of independent media outlets and the robust public debate -
mean little if Iraqis can't bridge their ethnic and religious differences.



SECURITY:


U.S. troops have made significant progress in training Iraqi security
forces, but the Iraqis are far from ready to take over. Their performance
is uneven, their loyalties are questionable and they remain heavily
dependent on American troops.


Of the 120 army and police battalions that have undergone training, only
40 are good enough to take the lead in joint operations with U.S. troops.
Only one is considered good enough to operate with complete independence.





American officials have declined to provide details on the ethnic makeup
of security forces, but many units are either all Shiites or all Kurds. In
addition, heavily armed sectarian militias wield considerable influence.




Bush pointed out that Iraqis have taken over security in some parts of
country. What he didn't say is that some cities, including Najaf and
Karbala, have been turned over to Shiite militias.


"Under the guise of providing general security for various areas of Iraq
they are, in fact, settling old scores," said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.




While most of the violence in Iraq is limited to four of the country's 18
provinces, the hotspots encompass about 42 percent of the population. Six
other provinces have experienced attacks in recent months.




The ability of terrorists and insurgents to strike seemingly at will
heightens the sense of insecurity. Insurgents are killing Iraqi security
forces at a rate of 214 a month, up from 160 a month in the last half of
2004. Islamic extremists continue to flock to Iraq through Syria and Iran.
Eight-four American troops died in Iraq in November, 72 of them from enemy
attacks.




Violence is expected to spike before the Dec. 15 elections. Ten Marines
died in a single blast Thursday.


On a more positive note, there are signs that Iraqis are fed up with
foreign fighters.


U.S. officials say tips about suspected terrorist activity have increased
steadily, from about 500 a month in March to 4,700 in November. One recent
tip led to a terrorist bomb factory stocked with about a dozen 500-pound
bombs and 4,000 pounds of explosives.


Still, the insurgency appears to be as strong as ever. Estimates of
insurgent strength - somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 in a nation of 27
million - haven't changed in well over a year.




"The success and cohesion of the Iraqi force-development effort is no more
certain than Iraqi political success," Cordesman concluded. "Both have to
make significant progress by the summer of 2006 if the coalition is to
have a reason to stay."


ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION:


**Despite improvements, Iraq's economy and its infrastructure remain in
shambles.


Oil production, the most important source of income, has decreased from a
high of 2.5 million barrels a day in September 2004 to less than 2 million
barrels a day, primarily because of terrorist attacks and deteriorating
infrastructure. That's less than before the war.**


Gas lines, unheard-of before the war, are back in Baghdad after
disappearing for a while. Efforts to establish the rule of law are
colliding with corruption and lawlessness.


**Security problems have hamstrung efforts to rebuild the electrical
system, oil industry and other infrastructure. Only about $3 billion of
the $13.5 billion in foreign pledges to Iraq has been spent. In any case,
the pledged amount is far short of the $27 billion that the World Bank
says Iraq needs for infrastructure.**




Electricity generation is essentially back to prewar levels, but
persistent blackouts have become a major source of frustration. The demand
for power is up, driven by a spurt in sales of air conditioners and other
electrical devices.


**Unemployment estimates range from 27 percent to 40 percent. The
inflation rate is about 20 percent, down from 32 percent last year and
roughly the same as the prewar level. Economic growth is projected at 3.7
percent this year, which isn't good enough in a poor country with high
unemployment.**




On the bright side is a brisk consumer economy. Before the war, fewer than
900,000 Iraqis had telephones. Cellular phones were unavailable. Now there
are more than 4.5 million phones, including some 3 million cell phones.
Internet subscriptions have jumped from 4,500 before the U.S. invasion to
more than 147,000.




Nearly 90 companies have registered with the new stock market since it
opened in April 2004.


U.S. officials say 30,000 new businesses have opened, although countless
others in troubled areas have closed.


Knight Ridder correspondent Nancy A. Youssef contributed to this report.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: OT THE NOT SO REAL DEAL ON IRAQ -- DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN SHAMBLES

hbuck wrote:
> Same Miami Herald article, near the end,
> cherry picked:
>


blah blah blah moron. Stop posting messages. Your drivel gives me a
headache.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: OT THE NOT SO REAL DEAL ON IRAQ -- DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN SHAMBLES

The entire Washington Post article:


U.S. Directive Prioritizes Post-Conflict Stability

By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 1, 2005; Page A21

A broad Pentagon directive issued this week orders the U.S. military to be
sure, the next time it goes to war, to prepare more thoroughly for picking
up the pieces afterward.

More than a year in the making, the directive represents an ambitious
attempt to bring about a fundamental, permanent widening in what U.S.
troops are trained and equipped to do. Accustomed to focusing primarily on
combat operations, U.S. forces under the new order must now give
post-conflict stability operations similar priority, which means they must
be ready in foreign countries to carry out such tasks as developing
political institutions, establishing judicial systems and reviving
economic activities.


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"Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission that the Department
of Defense shall be prepared to conduct and support," the directive says.
"They shall be given priority comparable to combat operations and be
explicitly addressed and integrated across all" Pentagon activities.

The revised policy follows widespread criticism that the Pentagon
neglected to plan sufficiently for the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq
invasion. Not only did conditions in the country turn out worse than
anticipated -- in the form of a fierce insurgency and mammoth
reconstruction challenges -- but early Pentagon hopes of being able to
hand off a large share of responsibility to U.S. and foreign civilian
organizations and to Iraqis proved overly optimistic.

As a result, the U.S. military in Iraq has been badly stressed to come up
with the skills, equipment and troops to ensure security and begin
rebuilding the country. The difficult experience has driven home the
lesson that U.S. forces cannot always depend on others to step forward and
help manage stability tasks.

"Many stability operations are best performed by indigenous, foreign or
U.S. civilian professionals," the directive says, reflecting the
Pentagon's sentiment still that it need not always lead in this area.
"Nonetheless, U.S. military forces shall be prepared to perform all tasks
necessary to establish or maintain order when civilians cannot do so."

The 11-page directive, signed Monday by acting Deputy Defense Secretary
Gordon R. England, assigns long lists of specific responsibilities to the
Pentagon's various civilian branches, military services and regional
commands.

For instance, it instructs the Pentagon's undersecretary for personnel to
develop methods for recruiting people for stability operations and to
bolster instruction in foreign languages and cultures. It orders the
undersecretary for intelligence to ensure that "suitable" information for
stability operations is available. And it directs the undersecretary for
policy to create a "stability operations center" and submit a semiannual
report to the secretary of defense.

These and other measures appear to go a long way toward addressing
shortfalls highlighted in a critical study last year of the Pentagon's
approach to stability operations. The study, done by the Defense Science
Board, a Pentagon advisory panel, concluded that though U.S. forces are
good at winning conventional battles, they have tended to give short
shrift to managing the aftermath.

One of the reasons for this, experts inside and outside the Pentagon said,
has been the assumption among military planners that U.S. forces could win
wars quickly, then withdraw from combat zones.

"In the 1990s, the talk, every time we were going to deploy something,
was, 'What's the exit strategy?' " said Andrew F. Krepinevich, executive
director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The focus
in war games, he recalled, was: "How do we get forces to places quickly?
It was assumed they wouldn't be there long."

But the Iraq conflict has made clear that a rapid exit is not always
possible. Warning that Iraq may not prove an exception, the Defense
Science Board recommended that stability operations be made an explicit
mission of the Defense Department and treated with the same seriousness as
combat operations. That led Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to order
the directive, senior aides said.

Craig Fields, who co-chaired the study, expressed satisfaction yesterday
with the directive, an unsigned draft of which was reported on last week
in the New York Times. "It covers a lot of ground, and it's in the right
direction," he said.

At the same time, Fields noted that the release of the directive is only
the start of change. Acting on it, he predicted, will "take a lot of
effort over a long time."

Some defense scholars have urged the Pentagon to create constabulary units
and other specialized forces to handle stability operations, saying that
such troops could be kept abroad longer and provide skills not easily
developed in conventional troops. But military commanders have considered
the idea impractical, and Pentagon officials involved in drafting the new
directive rejected it.

"As we looked at that question," said Jeffrey "Jeb" Nadaner, the deputy
assistant secretary for stability operations, "we felt it was better to
have the skills across the force."

Nadaner said the biggest sticking point during drafting of the document
came in deciding who should monitor compliance. One option still being
given serious consideration as recently as a few months ago involved
putting a large committee in charge. But that was ruled out as too
cumbersome, and the job ultimately went to the Pentagon's policy office.

"The idea is to get information frequently and directly to the secretary
of defense so he could track the progress of change," Nadaner said. "If
it's going through a big committee, there could be a lot of processing and
a lot of delay."

Asked how much instituting the directive will cost, Nadaner said: "It
shouldn't cost a whole lot, in the sense that it's not about the
procurement of major weapons systems, which generally are your most costly
things. It's about reshaping a lot of current activities."
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: OT THE NOT SO REAL DEAL ON IRAQ -- DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN SHAMBLES

The entire Washington Post article:

President's 'Strategy for Victory' Does Not Address Problems

By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 1, 2005; A21



President Bush's "strategy for victory" catalogues progress in Iraq over
the past 32 months, but also omits or glosses over complications, problems
and uncertainties in the most ambitious U.S. military intervention since
Vietnam.

Analysts agreed with Bush that a politically motivated withdrawal could
embolden extremists to believe the United States will "cut and run in the
face of adversity"-- and risk the implosion of a strategic oil-rich
country. But they disagreed with key assessments made by the
administration on Iraq's military, on how important the U.S. mission in
Iraq is to promoting democracy in the broader Middle East, and how much of
Iraq has been rebuilt.

Little is new in the 35-page document, titled "National Strategy for
Victory in Iraq," which covers three broad fronts: security, political
development and economic issues. The interpretation it yields depends
heavily on viewing the glass half-full rather than half-empty -- and doing
so in defiance of daily suicide bombings, abductions or deaths. Unspoken is
the critical element of the timing of the strategy's release.

"There's a lot that the administration's critics won't disagree with, but
it's late," said Robert Malley, director of the International Crisis Group
Middle East program. "I don't think the president has the luxury of time to
implement a sound policy, both because of the stress on the military but
also because of the problem of the trust of the American public and
political elite."

On security, Bush said more than 120 Army and police battalions are in the
field -- about a third "in the lead" -- in a huge leap from 18 months ago,
when the Pentagon junked its initial approach to training and started
over.

But the rising numbers mask lingering Iraqi weaknesses and have not curbed
insurgent attacks. "There's been an increase in the number of Iraqis in
training, but more Americans are dying and violence is increasing," said
Lawrence Korb, a Reagan administration Pentagon official now at the Center
for American Progress.

Bush noted that Iraqis are now in charge of tough areas in Baghdad -- but
failed to mention that the capital is still far from safe, with many major
streets vulnerable to attack. He praised the Iraqis' combat performance in
the recent Tall Afar offensive -- but left out that Iraqi logistics were
in shambles and that each platoon of 20 was led by a U.S. Special Forces
officer.

Bush yesterday described his strategy as "clear, hold and build." But in
practice, the military has come under fire for too much emphasis on
chasing insurgents around the country and not enough on securing areas
that have been cleared of enemy fighters. U.S. and Iraqi troops have often
had to return to fight in towns where they had fought before.

Military commanders have acknowledged lacking sufficient forces to hold
some towns previously cleared of insurgents. But they say that situation
is rapidly improving as the ranks of Iraqi forces grow.

On the political front, the new strategy document says staying the course
in Iraq is the key to the fate of the greater Middle East. If the United
States left before the mission was finished, it said, "Middle East
reformers would never again fully trust American assurances of support for
democracy and pluralism in the region -- a historic opportunity. . .
forever lost."

But a new public opinion poll to be released tomorrow finds that 77
percent of those surveyed in six countries -- Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon,
Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all U.S. allies -- say
Iraqis are worse off than before the war began in 2003.

On democracy, 58 percent believe the U.S. intervention has produced less
democracy in the region, said Shibley Telhami, author of the annual
survey, a joint effort by the University of Maryland's Anwar Sadat chair
for peace and development, and Zogby International. Almost 70 percent said
they do not believe democracy was the real U.S. goal in toppling Saddam
Hussein.

"So the consequences of the war are all negative from their point of
view," Telhami said.

Bush's emphasis on military strategy also "violates" the first rule of
counterinsurgency, which is politics first, said Brookings Institution
analyst Michael O'Hanlon. "I didn't see much effort to improve the
constitution, where things like equitable oil revenues are critical and
are not yet in the constitution or assured. . . . The president seems to
dwell on the technical military training issue, which is important but is
not enough to constitute the core of a strategy."

On Iraq's economic future, the document says reconstruction of a country
battered by war and starved by a dictatorship and international economic
sanctions is key to winning over Iraq's 25 million people to the U.S.
vision of a new Iraq.

But in a striking rollback from an earlier, more optimistic position, the
administration says Iraq has the "potential" to become prosperous and
self-sustaining -- without specifying a time frame. In 2003, Deputy
Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said Iraq's oil revenues "could bring
between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three
years. . . . We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own
reconstruction, and relatively soon," he told a House committee.

Oil production is slightly down from a year ago, the new strategy
acknowledges.

On issues that affect daily life, unemployment is 25 percent to 40
percent, while the average amount of electricity output is lower than in
October 2003 because insurgents have been able to repeatedly destroy
cables and distribution stations, according to the International Crisis
Group.

"If you don't have sufficient security to find out what the reconstruction
needs are and deploy security teams to protect engineers, you can't do the
work to rebuild the country," said International Crisis Group Vice
President Mark Schneider.

Bush's strategy report cites International Monetary Fund figures that
Iraq's per capita gross domestic product rose to $942 in 2004 and is
expected to rise to more than $1,000 this year.

But in its September World Economic Outlook, the IMF also notes that
Iraq's new government "faces daunting medium-term challenges, including
advancing the reconstruction of the country's infrastructure, reducing
macroeconomic instability and developing the institutions that can support
a market-based economy."

Staff writers Bradley Graham in Washington and Jonathan Finer in Baghdad
contributed to this report .

© 2005 The Washington Post Company
 
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