On the one year anniversary of President Bush’s State of the Union address justifying his "New Way Forward" in Iraq, it is clear that the surge has failed to meet its objectives. One year ago, the president pledged that “America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced." Despite the fact that the Iraqi government has only met three of the 18 benchmarks laid out last year, an end to U.S. military and financial commitment is nowhere in sight.
The purpose of the surge was to provide the “breathing space” for political reconciliation to occur. Yet over one year later, political progress has been scant, and what progress has been made is not durable. The Iraqis have not made the difficult political compromises necessary for national reconciliation, and an indefinite U.S. presence in the region will not inspire them to do so. Despite the best efforts of our military men and women in creating a temporary lull in violence, substantial advancement toward a sustainable and independent Iraq has not been made.
In order to motivate Iraq’s political leaders, the United States must set a date certain for withdrawal. Only then will the Iraqis make the difficult political compromises necessary for national reconciliation. While redeploying our forces over the next 10-12 months, the United States must initiate a diplomatic surge to ensure that all of Iraq’s neighbors are involved constructively in Iraq’s future. Only by implementing a Strategic Reset in Iraq will the United States be able to take control of its own national security interests in the country and the greater Middle East................
Government Benchmarks: 2 of 8 Accomplished
6. Address amnesty. Unmet
Security Benchmarks: 1 of 8 Accomplished
7. Disarm militias. Unmet
13. Reduce sectarian violence. Partial