There really are thousands of them and the Iraq Reconstruction Report has provided a consistant means of assessing measurable progress in realizing objective successes that may have a lasting impact on Iraq. Every project run by the Corps and/or the ground commanders brings Iraqis into contact with a system that actually functions. Quite a few of the CERP projects are actually of the rent a sheik variety but they're still important because some of the money spent does dribble down to the workers, providing them for a reason to not participate in planting IEDS.
It's good to see that the school construction and reconstruction projects will be the first to be completed at 100%. There have to be tens of thousands of teachers who will bear some very good will towards Americans for putting schools first and some of that good will is going to be transmitted to the students and their families.
While I don't believe that actual democracy is possible under a constitution that elevates sharia to the position of primacy, I do believe that Iraq has the potential to be a model for the ME.
It would be shameful to abandon the Iraqis to AQ and its allies in the Democratic party. I don't think much of the Petraeus surge and I hope that the President demands more from him than he offered last week. I've found Alaa at The Mesopotamian to be the most consistant of the Iraqi bloggers and the linked post presents a more rational view of a strategic rather than tactical focus than does the Petraeus 'surge without end'. The only clear addition that I would make to Alaa's ideas is that turnover of specific areas would occur 'ready or not'. The IP and the IA have the manpower advantage to take and hold any area in Iraq - if they have to.
Updike: the trivial and the profound
30 minutes ago