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

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:


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

Brookings Iraq Index, 7/26/2007:



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:



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:



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:


Ryan Powers