Thursday, August 03, 2006

Iraq's view on Iraq

In the two posts preceding this one, I've laid out the U.S. view on Iraq (cautionary) and the British view (pessimistic). The public Iraqi view is the only one I consider outright delusional.

The Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, speaking before the soccer-field killings, predicted that “God willing, by the end of this year we will bring an end to terrorism.” At a news conference with senior military and Interior Ministry officials, he defended Iraqi forces against accusations of atrocities and said they would assume control of the country from American troops this year.

“Iraqi security forces are doing their duty, but we still expect more of them,” Mr. Talabani said.

Mr. Talabani, a Kurd, provided no details to support his claim that Iraqi forces would soon provide security for the entire country. American military officials here did not immediately respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment on his timetable.

Talabani's purpose seems clear: to try to shore up confidence in the central government, and position such support as the quickest way to get American troops out of Iraq. But saying the situation is improving when, at least in the short term, it clearly isn't doesn't help his credibility. He comes off as engaging in wishful thinking while attempting to ride the whirlwind.

I hope he's right. I fear he's not.

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