Anthony Cordesman, a military expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, traveled to Iraq recently with Michael O’Hanlon and Ken Pollack. In a write-up of his impressions from the visit, Cordesman says he takes issue with the Brookings analysts:
It is scarcely surprising that my perceptions of a recent trip to Iraq are different from that of two of my traveling companions and those of several other recent think tank travelers to the country.
From my perspective, the US now has only uncertain, high risk options in Iraq. It cannot dictate Iraq’s future, only influence it, and this presents serious problems at a time when the Iraqi political process has failed to move forward in reaching either a new consensus or some form of peaceful coexistence. It is Iraqis that will shape Iraq’s ability or inability to rise above its current sectarian and ethnic conflicts, to redefine Iraq’s politics and methods of governance, establish some level of stability and security, and move towards a path of economic recovery and development.
Read Cordesman’s full report here.