Benchmarks vs. Reality

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, Said in an interview with the New York Times’s John Burns,

“You could not achieve any of them, and still have a situation where arguably the country is moving in the right direction. And conversely, I think you could achieve them all and still not be heading towards stability, security and overall success in Iraq.”

Excellent points. And Mr. Crocker is a 36-year veteran of the “Striped Pants Brigade” (the Foreign Service) and has served in 7 administrations; not exactly the description of a partisan hack.

I do wonder though, how many people actually know what the “benchmarks” are that Iraq’s government is being held to. Here’s the list:

  1. Forming a Constitutional Review Committee and then completing the constitutional review.
  2. Enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification.
  3. Enacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of petroleum resources of the people of Iraq without regard to the sect or ethnicity of recipients, and enacting and implementing legislation to ensure that the energy resources of Iraq benefit Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Kurds, and other Iraqi citizens in an equitable manner.
  4. Enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions.
  5. Enacting and implementing legislation establishing an Independent High Electoral Commission, provincial elections law, provincial council authorities, and a date for provincial elections.
  6. Enacting and implementing legislation addressing amnesty.
  7. Enacting and implementing legislation establishing a strong militia disarmament program to ensure that such security forces are accountable only to the central government and loyal to the Constitution of Iraq.
  8. Establishing supporting political, media, economic, and services committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan.
  9. Providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations.
  10. Providing Iraqi commanders with all authorities to execute this plan and to make tactical and operational decisions, in consultation with U.S commanders, without political intervention, to include the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias.
  11. Ensuring that the Iraqi Security Forces are providing even handed enforcement of the law.
  12. Ensuring that, according to President Bush, Prime Minister Maliki said “the Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of their sectarian or political affiliation”.
  13. Reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and eliminating militia control of local security.
  14. Establishing all of the planned joint security stations in neighborhoods across Baghdad.
  15. Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces units capable of operating independently.
  16. Ensuring that the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.
  17. Allocating and spending $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis.
  18. Ensuring that Iraq’s political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces.

Take a good look at these. Some are, arguably, impossible to verify one way or the other (jaut about any that start with “Ensuring.”) And what’s with number 12? He said, he said? Come on. All any White Flagger has to do is say, “no they didn’t,” in regard to any of these and… what? Who has the burden of proof here?

Enacting legislation…, yeah. Like our Congress does? What foreign government is going to hold our national survival feet to the fire over, say, comprehensive border security? This strikes two ways in my mind, either they just pass something in order to check our arbitrary boxes (making them a puppet of the Democrat controlled Congress as opposed to the usual Copperhead charge of the Republican administration), or they don’t, wishing to pass something of some quality. Every one of these is a complex area that will take considerable negotiation and thought. The simple solutions to them are the fastest routes to disaster.

We want to demand that they accomplish in a few months and with no opportunity for historical trial what no other nation on Earth has managed to do in less than 20 years; to form a working, equitable government, and from an historical moment of chaos to boot. The Iraqi’s aren’t dragging their feet. If anything, I’m sure they are stunned, not only by the magnitude of what they are being asked to accomplish with no time to do it, but at the staggering arrogance of a foreign legislature demanding that they do it with national survial as the cost.

Arrogance. Hypocricy. Charlatans. Tyrrants. Congress.

UPDATE: Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton said this:

“The interim report from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker offers a mixed assessment, but provides little reason to think that we will see significant progress on critical benchmarks relating to Iraqi political progress and national reconciliation in the upcoming September assessment or in the foreseeable future.”

No kidding, Mr Chairman? You are certain that there is little to expect, because the deck was stacked against the people of Iraq and you have already made up your mind. Nothing that either the General or the Ambassador could have said would have altered this statement.

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