Reading General Jones
“Some in the media have been remarkably quick to report on leaked copies of reports about Iraq before the average person has a chance to read them,” writes AEI’s Frederick Kagan in today’s WeeklyStandard.com. “There is a reason, apart from the usual journalistic desire to be first with a story. The reports often don’t say what the reporters want them to.”
Former USMC Commandant James Jones delivers his report to Congress today, and given Jones’ stature, it is an important part of the pre-Petraeus report infromation flow. A copy was leaked to Politico.com, and anti-war spinners are busy trying to get the public to believe that the Jones report is full of bad news. It isn’t. It is full of very good news, as well as of candid assessments of areas of concern. For a complete summary, read Kagan’s analysis, but the two key findings are these:
- Finding 12: The Iraqi Army has become more effective in supporting Coalition-led counterinsurgency operations from the start of Iraqi and Coalition surge operations in early 2007. The reliability of Iraqi Army units continues to improve, and some units now are an integral part of the Coalition team for counterinsurgency operations. The overall rate of progress of the Army is uneven. Some units perform better than others; but there is rising confidence that progress is being made at a rate that will enable Iraqi Army tactical formations and units gradually to assume a greater leadership role in counterinsurgency operations in the next 12 to 18 months. However, they will continue to rely on Coalition support, including logistics, intelligence, fire support, equipment, training and leadership development for the foreseeable future.
- Finding 13: Iraqi Special Operations Forces are the most capable element of the Iraqi armed forces and are well-trained in both individual and collective skills. They are currently capable of leading counterterrorism operations, but they continue to require Coalition support. They remain dependent on the Coalition for many combat enablers, especially airlift, close air support, and targeting intelligence.
The future of an Iraq that is multi-ethnic and multi-party and an American ally depends upon the ISF. The ability of the ISF to keep al Qaeda and radical Shia elements suppressed depends on the ISF Special Forces. The Jones report makes clear that both the ISF and its Special Forces are improving and will continue to do so with Coalition assistance. Truly only fools and knaves would urge an American retreat now.
Fools, knaves, or those for whom domestic politics matter most.
BTW: When Chuck Schumer slandered the American military yesterday, he also slandered every Iraqi who has fought in al-Anbar who wasn’t from al-Anbar.