SOTU: Bush’s ‘Strategy’ For Iraq Failing On All Three Fronts

Bush said: “First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased, and the insurgency marginalized. Second, we are continuing reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom. Third, we are striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. Iraqis are showing their courage every day, and we are proud to be their allies in the cause of freedom.”

FACT — VERY LITTLE PROGRESS ON SECURITY FRONT: Since the March 2003 invasion, 2,242 U.S. troops have died and more than 16,000 have been injured. More than 500 Iraqis have died since the December 15 elections. While the administration claims that Iraqi security forces are taking the lead, more than 130,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq. (Question: If the Iraqi security forces are so competent why can’t any U.S. troops go home?) [, 1/30/05; AP, 1/13/06]

FACT — VERY LITTLE PROGRESS ON ECONOMIC FRONT: A new study shows that one-fifth of the Iraqi population lives in poverty, up since the 2003 invasion. Reconstruction efforts are floundering. According to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “American-financed reconstruction programs in Iraq will not complete scores of projects that were promised to help rebuild the country.” [AFP, 1/25/06; NYT, 1/27/06]

FACT — LITTLE PROGRESS ON POLITICAL FRONT: Despite recent elections, the political situation is highly unstable. Shiites are threatening to unite with Kurds and exclude Sunnis from political power. The New York Times reports “[a]nything short of a unity government, Iraqi and American officials here say, would be tantamount to disaster, with the Sunnis the most likely losers. Leaving them out of the government could very well prompt them to turn away from democratic politics again, and give the insurgency a fresh shot of energy.” [NYT, 1/22/06]