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O’Hanlon Contradicts His Own Research To Portray Surge As Successful

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"O’Hanlon Contradicts His Own Research To Portray Surge As Successful"

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In today’s New York Times, Brookings analysts Michael O’Hanlon and Ken Pollack argue that “the administration’s critics seem unaware of the significant changes taking place” as a result of the President’s surge strategy in Iraq.

Just last week — on July 26 — O’Hanlon published a starkly different assessment of the conditions in Iraq. In an updated edition of the Brookings Institute Iraq Index, he wrote:

With what promised to be a pivotal summer now more than half over, the situation in Iraq remains tenuous at best. …

[V]iolence nationwide has failed to improve measurably over the past 2-plus months, with a resilient enemy increasingly turning its focus to softer targets outside the scope of the surge. …

In assessing the overall sentiment of the Iraqi people recently, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker summed it up in one word: fear. …

Politically, there has yet to be significant progress in the legislation of any of the critical benchmark laws. …[I]t is difficult to see how any measurable political progress will take place before the all-important September update from Ambassador Crocker and commanding General David Petraeus.

Economically, “stagnation” continues to be the key word.

O’Hanlon’s most recent Iraq Index update conflicts with today’s op-ed in several other key areas:

CIVILIAN DEATH RATES

O’Hanlon: “Civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began.”

Brookings Iraq Index, 7/26/2007:

civilian_deaths.gif

VIOLENCE ACROSS IRAQ

O’Hanlon: “[A]nother critical effect: no more whack-a-mole, with insurgents popping back up after the Americans leave.”

Brookings Iraq Index, 7/26/2007:

attacks.gif

WELL-BEING OF THE TROOPS

O’Hanlon: “Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor.”

Brookings Iraq Index, 7/26/2007:

elec.gif

ELECTRICITY

O’Hanlon: “Army and Marine units were…working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people.”

Brookings Iraq Index, 7/26/2007:

elec.gif

Ryan Powers

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