Monday, June 28, 2004

The U.S.-led CPA did not adequately prepare for the transfer of power in Iraq

Why you're right:

1. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) failed to adequately train Iraqi security forces. The CPA set a goal of training a 35,000 person Iraqi army. But, according to the most recent data available, only 7,116 have been fully or partially trained. Only 32% of the Iraqi police force have been fully or partially trained. U.S. officials concede that overall Iraqi security forces are "inadequately trained and poorly led." (Brookings, USA Today)

2. The U.S. has not efficiently distributed funding for Iraqi reconstruction. Of the $18.6 billion that Congress allocated to reconstruction in September 2003, only $400 million had been spent by June. Meanwhile, 10 companies that have been awarded contracts have been fined over $300 million since 2000 for bid rigging, fraud, delivery of faulty military parts and environmental damage. (Christian Science Monitor, AP)

3. The CPA undermined the legitimacy of the new government. In order to assure Iraqis, President Bush insisted that top officials in the interim government would be appointed by U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. But, according to the New York Times, the new interim prime minister – Iyad Allawi – was presented Brahimi by the United States as "'a fait accompli' after President Bush's envoy to Iraq, Robert D. Blackwill, 'railroaded' the Governing Council into coalescing around him." Brahimi was "deeply troubled by Dr. Allawi's ties to the C.I.A. and by the likelihood that Iraqis would regard him as too close to the United States." (New York Times)

Why they're wrong:

The transfer of sovereignty to Iraq is worth celebrating. But one shouldn't equate the former act with strategic success. Violence still plagues Iraq in part because of our failure to build a stable physical and bureaucratic infrastructure. Recognizing that isn't unpatriotic. It's essential to solving Iraq's problems in the future.

A better idea:

American Progress' new plan – "Iraq After June 30: A Strategy for Progress." (Link)