Metrics and Narratives

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Gen. Petraeus is scheduled to report progress (or lack thereof) to the 110th (Copperhead) Congress on September 15. The basis of his report will be a set of benchmarks thoughtfully provided by the Copperheads themselves with an eye towards using them as pillars in their "all is lost, flee for your lives" narrative which is supposed to carry them to "victory" in '08. Unfortunately (from the Copperhead perspective) the initial report is not wholly negative enough to support the defeat narrative:
On the 18 Congressional benchmarks concerning the Iraqi Government:

1. The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward forming a Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) and then completing the constitutional review.
2. The Government of Iraq has not made satisfactory progress toward enacting and implementing legislation on de-Ba’athification reform.
3. The current status is unsatisfactory, but it is too early to tell whether the Government of Iraq will enact and implement legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources to all Iraqis.
4. The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions.
5. The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward establishing an Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) Commission. The Government of Iraq has not made satisfactory progress toward establishing a provincial elections law. The Government of Iraq has not made satisfactory progress toward establishing provincial council authorities. The Government of Iraq has not made satisfactory progress toward establishing a date for provincial elections.
6. The prerequisites for a successful general amnesty are not present; however, in the current security environment, it is not clear that such action should be a near-term Iraqi goal.
7. The prerequisites for a successful militia disarmament program are not present.
8. The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward establishing supporting political, media, economic, and services committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan.
9. The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations.
10. The Government of Iraq has not made satisfactory progress toward 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. The Government of Iraq has not at this time made satisfactory progress in ensuring that Iraqi Security Forces are providing even-handed enforcement of the law; however, there has been significant progress in achieving increased even-handedness through the use of coalition partnering and embedded-transition teams with Iraqi Security Force units.
12. The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress in ensuring the Baghdad Security Plan does not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of their sectarian or political affiliations.
13. The Government of Iraq ‑‑ with substantial Coalition assistance ‑‑ has made satisfactory progress toward reducing sectarian violence but has shown unsatisfactory progress towards eliminating militia control of local security.
14. The Government of Iraq -- with substantial Coalition assistance -- has made satisfactory progress toward establishing the planned JSSs (Joint Security Stations) in Baghdad.
15. The Iraqi Government has made unsatisfactory progress toward increasing the number of Iraqi Security Forces units capable of operating independently.
16. The Government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward ensuring that the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.
17. The Iraqi Government is making satisfactory progress in allocating funds to ministries and provinces, but even if the full $10 billion capital budget is allocated, spending units will not be able to spend all these funds by the end of 2007.
18. The Government of Iraq has made unsatisfactory progress in ensuring that Iraq’s political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the ISF (Iraqi Security Force).


The score is 8 satisfactories, 1 split and 9 unsatisfactories. There is only a very small chance that any 'satisfactory' ratings will slip into the 'unsatisfactory' column prior to September 15 and a very good chance that items 2,3,5,10,11,15 and 18 can be moved to the 'satisfactory' column by the 15th, leaving only items 6 and 7 in the unsatisfactory column.

This potential for success provides some explanation for the histrionics occuring in the Senate at the moment. The Copperheads have staked their fortunes on defeat, just as they did in 1863-1864. They have nothing to show for their first seven months in the majority, other than the lowest approval rating attained by any Congress in the last 34 years and they are desperately trying to establish the defeat narrative prior to heading off for the summer break in the hope that the media will sustain them until Gen. Petraeus grabs the spotlight in September.

Bill Roggio and Michael Yon continue to provide an alternative view to that of the Copperhead press and this TIME report concerning Gen. Pace's view is a small crack in the MSM's defeatist monolith.

There is no question that US forces will begin to withdraw from Iraq next spring. The Iraqis continue to increase both the quantity and quality of their security forces and they have the income stream to maintain force levels until the internal threat is subdued. The key to Iraq's immediate future lies in passage and implementation of the oil revenue act. We might hope that the Iraqis would fight for freedom but we can rest assured that they (at least the sheiks) will fight for their share of a revenue stream. The present and immediate past proves that point.


UPDATE: Another Voice From the Field

7 comments:

vnjagvet said...

We'll see how they handle this.

Even without reading between the MSM's lines, progress appears to be proceeding apace.

And from whay I read from Yon and Roggio, the progress is considerable.

Maybe we are finally breaking out of the hedgerows. Or marching from Atlanta to the Sea.

At least there have not been any Okinawas, Iwo Jimas, Antietams, Gettysburgs or Cold Harbors -- or even Tets.

Skookumchuk said...

This theater of the long war is going better than I would have thought, even given the fact that all - or almost all - my news has come from those with boots on the ground, like Yon, and thus I am exposed to positive developments every now and then. What it must be like to subsist on an MSM diet I can't begin to imagine.

Though there is still a long way to go, in Iraq and globally.

At least there have not been any Okinawas...

Not yet and we must pause and be grateful for that. If there are "battles" with massive casualties, they will probably first happen to our civilians here at home. After that, all bets are off.

Skookumchuk said...

The link to Commentary reminds me what a great magazine it is - I subscribed many years ago only to let it lapse and just started up again.

Rick Ballard said...

"We'll see how they handle this."

Denial, fits, tantrums - you know, the usual. The underlying metric, which the Copperheads were just a little too dumb to really catch onto, was the pace of training for the Iraqi units and the fact that they were approaching critical mass in quantity, if not in quality.

Just as it was the Union's ability to continue to levy forces at 300K per pop after the Confederates had both dropped and raised their age limits to 16-50, without appreciable impact, that allowed Sherman to reduce Atlanta and begin his torchlight stroll to Savannah, so it may well be that the Iraqi's continuing to raise division after division will be the true knockout punch for the terrorists. I believe the Iraqis have just raised their force levels to 11 division with two more planned and funded.

All that is really needed is passage of the oil revenue bill to guarantee that US forces will be cut by two-thirds by next spring.

Barry Dauphin said...

So, how much of the Democrats cut & run rhetoric is an attempt to get out ahead of the future troop reductions and paint that as a failure rather than a success? They know troop reductions will come about and they desire to make it seems as much tail between legs as possible and destroy any opportunity for Bush & Co to say we can lower our levels because of accomplishments. Are the Dems basically fighting to frame the meaning of troop reductions?

Skookumchuk said...

Are the Dems basically fighting to frame the meaning of troop reductions?

Yes.

Luther McLeod said...

A thought I saw somewhere sees the Dem's as wanting pullout before 08 so that the inevitable carnage to follow will impact for political fodder in 08. What times these are that I can't dismiss that as just crazy talk.