Ok, lets be absolutely square about this whole bull crap benchmark business, it's foolishness! The concept itself is based on the belief that there is some remote possibility of the security situation in Iraq improving. Obviously in order to meet such benchmarks as effective oil revenue sharing legislation, provincial elections, and reversing the draconian de-baathification laws which the US leaders created, the security situation would need to improve exponentially. What good are new laws created by a Government which has no power to enforce them.
The current Iraqi Parliament members would be in grave danger should they even leave the Green Zone without a major security contingent. Can any sane person have faith that a Government of people who can't even set foot on the land of their own country without being assassinated have the political will or authority to effect the course of their society? This is clearly a show for those still gullible enough to believe that the Iraqi debacle was not lost long ago. Earth to the GOP faithful, this game is over. Whatever losing in Iraq means, we have been successful at it. Benchmarks are irrelevant if they involve political or security related progress. There will be none of that in the foreseeable future.
Likely, the endgame will involve some form of interpreting the current situation in a way that demonstrates progress, then precipitously withdrawing as quickly as possible. An indication of that was when the President recently stated:
“Success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives.”
As absurd as that definition of success may seem, it clearly shows that the plan for creating a secular democracy in Iraq has been abandoned. The only hope for an exit is to redefine victory to mean whatever we need it to, and be gone before the 2008 election.
Benchmarks for success in a country that has done nothing but deteriorate in every way over the last four years should be interpreted as justifications for an exit. We destroyed a country and now its time to blame the pitifully impotent Iraqi Government and leave them to oversee a failed state. The truth is, it wasn't the Iraqi Parliament who destroyed the societal structure which maintained order in Iraq, it was the Bush Administration. How can we reasonably expect them to repair the infrastructure and defeat the Insurgents when we can do neither?
We are in the unique position of facing catastrophe regardless of whether we stay or leave. We've opened Pandora's box and there is no way to close it. Years from now we will look back in horror at the recklessness in which we exercised this military and political campaign.
As we talk about benchmarks, the Insurgents build more car bombs. I think their strategy will prove infinitely more effective in the long run.