America and its allies face many risks and problems in Iraq, but it is all too easy to snatch defeat from the jaws of uncertainty.
How quickly that will take place, and to what level it will reduce the cost and size of the U.S. presence, is something that has got to be determined by actual success, not some kind of calendar.
They have begun to realize that when you focus only on the U.S. it gives the impression that the U.S. doesn't care about Iraqis. In these kinds of political battles you need to count your allies, not just yourself.
It may well be more of a prelude to civil war than a step forward. Rather than an inclusive document, it is more a recipe for separation based on Shiite and Kurdish privilege.
The problem is people don't live on economic statistics.
There is no security, even in relatively safe areas. In some provinces, you have 40 percent unemployment which means effectively nobody cares whether somebody in Baghdad is making a great deal of money.
Yes, we have learned from the last two years and, yes, there are signs of real progress, but I don't see the kind of definitive trends that would allow you to say victory is assured.
If you pull out troops too quickly now, and you see the situation in Iraq collapse before the midterm elections, the impact is going to be far more serious than if you keep the troops in at reasonable levels.
The decline in the readiness of Iraqi forces described in (the) testimony is a major reversal for the United States. We expected to be far better off today, not only in terms of the highest readiness category, but the second.(category of readiness).
How much of the battle space can the Iraqi forces take over, and who is actually doing the fighting - those are the key measurements. The measure cannot be the elimination of the insurgency, as desirable as that would be. You cannot eliminate all of the bombings.
They're pretty much the same results that have been going on since 2003, so it's consistent with a lot of the attitudes that exist. We're not seen as liberators by the Sunnis, but what else is new?