From conjecturer’s blog:
Unless the Iraqi government takes advantage of the “breathing space” that U.S. forces are providing, Mullen said, “no amount of troops in no amount of time will make much of a difference.”
Testifying alongside Mullen was Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, 57, the nominee to become vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He heads the U.S. Strategic Command.
In written responses to committee questions, Mullen warned that “there is no purely military solution in Iraq” and that the country’s politicians “need to view politics and democracy as more than just majority rule, winner-take-all, or a zero-sum game.” Absent that, he said, the United States will be forced to reevaluate its strategy.
Given that the military is now saying military successes alone will not do anything to help Iraq, I’m curious as to what the war supporters will do: the Iraqi government is on vacation, they have not met a single benchmark we’ve set, and Maliki is simply not interested in any kind of conciliation or compromise government. Indeed, the government has failed. The military itself is doing its job and carrying out a belatedly appropriate strategy; but to repeat my refrain on Afghanistan: security without development is void. “Securing” an area, when there is no functioning government, is useless, and only gives the locals there false hope while endangering anyone who helps us.