Taking Five Years to Smell the Coffee
For U.S., The Goal Is Now 'Iraqi Solutions' Approach Acknowledges Benchmarks Aren't Met
By Thomas E. Ricks and Karen DeYoung Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, January 10, 2008; A01
In the year since President Bush announced he was changing course in Iraq with a troop "surge" and a new strategy, U.S. military and diplomatic officials have begun their own quiet policy shift. After countless unsuccessful efforts to push Iraqis toward various political, economic and security goals, they have decided to let the Iraqis figure some things out themselves.
From Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to Army privates and aid workers, officials are expressing their willingness to stand back and help Iraqis develop their own answers. "We try to come up with Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems," said Stephen Fakan, the leader of a provincial reconstruction team with U.S. troops in Fallujah.
In many cases -- particularly on the political front -- Iraqi solutions bear little rese…