Meet The Latest Soon-To-Be-Disproved Prediction
Remember how 2006 in Iraq was supposed to be the “year of the police“? That, if I recall, turned out great. Well, 2009, according to the general in charge of training Iraqi security forces will be the not-to-be-missed box-office-smash deadline for when the corruption/incompetence-plagued Iraqi military and police will be ready to take over. Reports The Washington Post:
Iraq’s army and police will be fully manned and operational by mid-2009, possibly as early as April, the top U.S. general in charge of building Iraqi security forces said yesterday, signaling the prospect that Iraqi forces could assume primary combat responsibilities in the country while U.S. troops shift to a supporting role.
Asked when Iraqi ground forces could handle security so U.S. troops would not have to, Lt. Gen. James Dubik told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the strength of Iraq’s ground forces had grown significantly. “The ground forces will mostly be done by middle of next year; their divisions, brigades and battalions are on a good timeline,” Dubik said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. “Could be as early as April. Could be as late as August,” said Dubik, who until last week led the effort to train Iraqi forces.
Perhaps by some unforeseen miracle that prediction, unlike all previous ones for the past five years, will be vindicated, but chances are it won’t be. So here’s the challenge for the domestic political debate: do you get cynical? Dubik is basically following George Aiken’s famous advice on Vietnam: *Declare victory and go home. *Does Barack Obama make Dubik his Petraeus — trotting him out to say “The general said we can turn it over to the Iraqis in a year; I say we trust the general”?