Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have dominated headlines lately because of their prolonged fight for the nomination of the Democrat Party. Both of them have downplayed progress in Iraq as a part of their justification for rapid troop withdrawals should either of them become president.
In particular, the candidates have stated that though there has been military progress in Iraq, the Iraqis have yet to make any political progress towards reconciliation of the various interests in Iraq. Absent such progress, both Obama and Clinton have pledged a rapid end to the war.
In today’s New York Times, fellows and associates from the Brookings Institution (a left-leaning foreign policy think-tank) declare that there has been more political progress in Iraq than Democrat candidates have acknowledged. They conclude:
“It is far too soon to predict that Iraq is headed for stability or sectarian reconciliation. But it is also clear that those who assert that its politics are totally broken have not kept up with the news.”
What is the upshot of this independent analysis? The “surge” has been a great military success and at least a modest political success. There is much more work to be done in Iraq, and a stable democratic Iraq is still possible if America has the will to see it through.