Today in Benchmarking

In the latest of the National Security Network’s efforts to measure progress toward the various benchmarks in Iraq, we see that nothing of note has happened on constitution reform and that nothing is likely to happen given how difficult the process for amending the Iraqi constitution is.

This is the crux of the matter for evaluating America’s recent successes in collaborating with tribal leaders in Anbar province. The leaders in question were the insurgency — and were collaborating with Al-Qaeda in Iraq — just last year because they found both the US occupation and the Iraqi constitution intolerable. There’s no sign that they’ve begun to find these things any less intolerable today. Weapons and training we provide these tribal groups are all-but-certain to be turned against the Iraq government down the road — and against us if we’re still in Iraq, still supporting that government. Which isn’t to say that finding local people interested in fighting al-Qaeda is a bad idea. Instead, it’s to say that we ought to do our best to get out of the way.