Thursday, November 30, 2006

A successful strategy has to be one that is driven by the Iraqis

A successful strategy has to be one that is driven by the Iraqis.

Those words succinctly convey my position on how to cope with the "civil quagmire" in Iraq, except that they aren't my words at all, but those of an anonymous "senior administration official" quoted in an article in the New York Times by Michael Gordon entitled "Bush Adviser’s Memo Cites Doubts About Iraqi Leader" which discusses the classified Hadley memo and its ramifications for Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki.

The article concludes:

The administration appears to have already begun carrying out some of the steps recommended in the document. Among them were a trip over the weekend by Vice President Dick Cheney to Saudi Arabia as part of an effort to seek help from Sunni Arab powers in encouraging Sunni groups in Iraq to seek a political compromise with Mr. Maliki.

The senior administration official who agreed to discuss the memo would do so only on condition of anonymity. The official said some of the steps projected in the document were being carried out.

The official also stressed that the administration retains confidence in the Iraqi leader. “What we are seeing is that he had the right intentions and is willing to act,” the senior official said. “Our own review has opened a consultative process on where Maliki wants to take the government. A successful strategy has to be one that is driven by the Iraqis.”

Alas, simply because a senior advisor makes a recommendation doesn't mean that President Bush will "make it so." The "leaking" of the memo may simply have been an intentional trial balloon to allow the administration to play both sides of the issue and then consolidate on the side that seems to garner the most interest and support.

-- Jack Krupansky


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