Monday, September 25, 2006

Show Us Progress Or The Door

Car DoorThe options in Iraq are not just "Cut and Run" or "Stay and Pay" (or was that "Stay and Pray"). We need to get out of Iraq as soon as we can consistent with our responsibility to provide Iraq with the tools to build a functioning democracy and civil society.

The Bush Administration seemed to have had success with a technique I thought would not work. I was wrong. Unfortunately, they have forgotten their own successes. That tool was deadlines. We set deadlines for all sorts of tasks: provisional governments, elections, a constitution and to the credit of the Iraqis, they met those deadlines. Sometimes it took a little longer than planned, but they got there.

Why did we stop setting deadlines? Both for the Iraqis and ourselves. These deadlines should be large political goals, like, amend the constitution as promised and create a document that all Iraqis will want to support. Or decreasing sectarian violence as measured by number of murders. They could be more modest goals: Increase the availability of electricity, clean water and sewers by some metric.

It is clear that we have done about as much as we can to give the Iraqis the tools they need to make a country of their choosing. This administration can't give us a clear definition of "winning", so how about some goals and metrics that we expect the Iraqis to meet? If they can't make progress on basic issues they must confront to succeed, we leave.

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