The Washington Post revealed this morning that “the Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction.” While the article does a nice job of summarizing the continuing reconstruction challenges and the unmet promises made by President Bush, it fails to ask one key question: What does this new information mean for our strategy in Iraq?
The Post story neglected to mention Bush’s “National Strategy for Victory In Iraq,” which was released just one month ago. Recall, in that document, the White House stated that our “strategy for victory is clear.” It involved a three-track strategy: the political track, the security track, and the economic track. Here’s what the document said about the “economic track”:
“¢ The Economic Track involves setting the foundation for a sound and self-sustaining economy by helping the Iraqi government:
– Restore Iraq’s infrastructure to meet increasing demand and the needs of a growing economy;
– Reform Iraq’s economy, which in the past has been shaped by war, dictatorship, and sanctions, so that it can be self-sustaining in the future; and
– Build the capacity of Iraqi institutions to maintain infrastructure, rejoin the international economic community, and improve the general welfare of all Iraqis.
The Bush administration has seemingly decided to drop the economic track of its strategy all together, particularly if foreign donors and the fledgling Iraqi government do not pick up the tab for the “tens of billions of dollars of work yet to be done merely to bring reliable electricity, water and other services to Iraq’s 26 million people.” If the Bush administration is abandoning its own strategy, it appears to be embracing that of Rep. John Murtha.
Here’s the argument Murtha made for redeployment in Iraq: “Electricity and oil production are below pre-war levels”¦ Despite the addition of MORE troops, MORE equipment and MORE money, Iraq and the region have become LESS stable over time”¦ My plan calls for a more rapid turnover of Iraq to the Iraqi people.” Isn’t this exactly what the Bush team is now claiming to do? And if so, isn’t this an acknowledgment that their strategy for Iraq is failing, not succeeding?