18 March 2007

Iraq v2.0

Iraq 1.0 (March 19, 2003 - April 14, 2003): The "Regime Change" phase. That was our successful invasion of Iraq. Oh, for those glory days.

Iraq 1.1 (April 8, 2003 - May 11, 2003): The "Garner" phase. Major combat is over. Garner wasn't in Baghdad more than a month.

Iraq 1.2 (May 12, 2003 - June 28, 2004): The "Bremer" phase. Commence the insurgency. Saddam's sons killed, Saddam captured. We've got the Baathist bull by the horn and the jihadi tiger by the tail now. Muqtada al-Sadr goes on a rampage. Abu Ghraib.

Iraq 1.3 (June 29, 2004 - June 20, 2005): The "Negroponte" phase. More of the same, but more of it. And not in a good way. The insurgency's been effective in keeping 100,000-150,000 US troops deployed in Iraq. Call-ups, Stop-Loss, and rotations to support that are taking their toll. Wounded and fatalities are building up. The rate of wounded and killed is not high compared to history, but the intensity of the war may be similar to Vietnam.

Iraq 1.4 (June 21, 2005 - February 9, 2007): The "Khalilzad/Casey" phase. Civil War, or not. There were warnings in 2004. There were concerns in 2005 about the growing sectarian violence. In 2006, John Burns returned from Iraq and gave his (in)famous interview on Bill Maher's Real Time. By the end of 2006, especially after the Democrats took control of the House and Senate in the November elections, the "Civil War" debate seemed academic, semantic and moot. "Stay the Course" became "Surge" and Presidential candidates lined up for 2008.

Is it time for Iraq 2.0, the "Khalilzad/Petraeus" "Crocker/Petraeus" phase? I hope so. I'm ready for some good news in Iraq. Even the "So Far So Good" news. I'm ready for Phase 4: Doing it. I'm not looking for sudden success, just steady progress. The kind of progress that justifies answering the question, "If you knew then what you know now, ..." with, "Ask me again in 20 years."

Previous: Iraq v1.4

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