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Looking Back at the President's 'Surge'

Despite the Bravery of Our Soldiers, One Year Later, Iraqi Government Still Failing to Take Responsibility for Their Country

'I think we do have a very serious political crisis in this country. We need to do a lot better in terms of bringing about the political environment that can sustain these security gains...Iraq is in need of an exceptionally qualified, capable government. My government, the government of which I am part of, leaves a lot to be desired. A country like Iraq cannot be run like this.'
- Barham Salih, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister [NPR, 1/9/08]

One year ago, President Bush announced his plan to escalate the war in Iraq and send tens of thousands of additional troops into combat to give the Iraqi government 'the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas.'[1/10/07]  Unfortunately, the Iraqi government has failed to take advantage of the reduced levels of violence achieved as a result of the additional American troops sent into Iraq.

Iraqi Government Fails to Make Political Progress
Iraqi Parliament Passed National Oil and Gas Law: No
Iraqi Parliament Passed De-Baathification Law: No
Iraqi Government Held Provincial Elections: No

  • 'Government corruption is a major problem, and benchmark laws on de-Baathification, oil and provincial powers have stalled over lack of consensus on what kind of country Iraq should be. There is no agreement on what Americans might call state's rights. The absence of these laws means it's not clear what levels of government are responsible for what. And as long as these laws are not passed, it is unlikely there will be local elections...'[NPR, 1/9/08]

  • The Defense Department describes the Iraqi Army as suffering from problems including 'corruption and lack of professionalism, sectarian bias, leader shortfalls, logistics deficiencies and dependence on Coalition forces for many combat support functions.' [12/14/07]

  • There is no progress on political reconciliation between Shiites and Sunnis in the Iraqi government. According to U.S. military officials, 'the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite-dominated government [is] the key threat facing the U.S. effort in Iraq, rather than al-Qaeda terrorists, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias.' [Washington Post, 11/15/07]

  • Last month, Ali Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesman, predicted Iraq would need foreign troops to defend and protect it for the next decade. 'For 10 years our army will not be able to defend Iraq.' [Los Angeles Times, 1/7/08]

  • According to Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group, 'The surge [of US troops] was designed to create space to make political deals and to restabilize Iraq. It was also hoped that this process would enhance a sense of national unity. However, contrary to US objectives, a number of deals made at the local level led to increased fragmentation, not national unity.' [Christian Science Monitor, 1/8/08]


The Iraq War by the Numbers

  • The Iraq war has already been going on for almost five years - longer than U.S. participation in World War II, World War I, the Korean War, or the Civil War.

  • 3,912 brave U.S. troops have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 - 901 over the past year, making it the worst year for American military in Iraq. [Department of Defense, 1/9/08; icasualties.org, 1/9/08]

  • Nearly 29,000 soldiers have been wounded in Iraq since the war began - 12,918 suffering injuries so serious they were prevented them from returning to duty. [Department of Defense, 1/9/08]

  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that, under the President's policies, the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could total $2.4 trillion through the next decade.

  • The war increasingly strains our military - now creating the worst crisis in U.S. troop readiness and our ability to respond to new threats since Vietnam.

  • 'Nearly half of U.S. diplomats unwilling to volunteer to work in Iraq say one reason for their refusal is they don't agree with Bush administration's policies in the country.' [AP, 1/8/08]