IRAQ PROGRESS REPORT

Michael Barone reports some encouraging developments in Iraq,

Talking to Chalabi afterward, I got a far more optimistic picture of Iraq than has been painted in most of the press. The north and the south are calm; opposition to the United States in Baghdad and the Sunni triangle to the north is limited. There are no clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims or between Kurds and other Iraqis. Meetings of the organizing council have been harmonious and productive. Much of the negative press, Chalabi argues, is due to translators who have their own anti-American agendas and give American and other reporters their version of what is going on rather than what the Iraqis being interviewed are saying.

Further, he lists numerous accomplishments:

  • The formation of an Iraqi national army has begun.
  • 30,000 Iraqi police have been hired.
  • An Iraqi civil defense corps is being formed.
  • Coalition forces have captured or killed 38 of Iraq’s 55 most wanted.
  • Thousands of lower-level Baath Party loyalists have been rounded up or otherwise dealt with.
  • The Iraqi Central Bank has been made independent.
  • Iraq has returned to the world oil market. All of Iraq’s universities have reopened.
  • Power and water are, in most places, at prewar levels, and we’re making progress in Baghdad.
  • The food redistribution system has been restarted.
  • Nearly all of Iraq’s 240 hospitals and 1,200 clinics are open.
  • Over 100 newspapers have begun publishing.
  • In all major cities and in 85 percent of the towns, municipal councils have been formed of Iraqis.
  • Ambassador Bremer has helped establish a new National Governing Council. It has begun exercising executive authority, appointing ministers, preparing the way for a new national constitution.
  • There’s obviously still a whole lot to be done, but this is a reasonable start.

    FILED UNDER: Iraq War
    James Joyner
    About James Joyner
    James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

    Comments

    1. Steven says:

      Especially considering it has been, what, about three months since we took control?

    2. Norbizness says:

      The second half of the Barone column, where it lists accomplishments… fair enough.

      However, the phrase that permeates the first half of the article: “According to Chalabi…” and “talking to Chalabi afterward…” pretty much disqualifies that column as being anything other than a puff piece for Chalabi heading up a provisional government. Hasn’t that guy ruined enough reporters’ (e.g. Judith Miller) lives with his fairy tales?

    3. James Joyner says:

      You make a fair point. Chalabi definitely has an agenda.

    4. John says:

      I don’t know… Maybe it’s just me, but he doesn’t sound like the most reliable source about anything in Iraq (Miller, etc.). Of course, what he says could very well be true. But I’d want a corroborating source to confirm it. If he’s the only source, telling the “contrarian truth”, then I think we can safely say we’ve already seen how this movie ends.

    5. Paul says:

      While the above points about Chalabi are well taken, that list his hardly his.

      It is basically the same list Cheney and Bremer are reading… Unless…. It’s a conspiracy!

      Quick… Call the BBC.

      Paul