Reed Gives Bush Administration Failing Grades on Iraq

Today I joined with the Center for American Progress in releasing a report card that graded the Bush Administration's Iraq policy on four key areas:

*        Security and Stability: F
*        Governance and Democracy: C+
*        Economic Reconstruction: D-
*        Iraq's Impact on U.S. National Security: F

This report card is a sobering report.  Too often this Administration has dealt in slogans and glib assumptions.  This is an accurate assessment of where we are and what we must do to really make progress.

SECURITY AND STABILITY WAS GIVEN AN F.

The situation in Baghdad is still very violent.  There are significant problems with an ineffective police force, growing militias and the Facilities Protection Services - each ministry has their own security force.  This is a group of armed paramilitaries that each ministry maintains.  The Prime Minister of Iraq cited the Facilities Protection Service as a greater threat to the stability of Iraq than some of the insurgent groups and militias.  We heard constant complaints from our American military commanders about the Facilities Protection Services.  This is a problem, along with the militias, that the Prime Minister and his government must address immediately and directly or they will receive another F in the next report.

GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY WAS GIVEN A C+

There is a difference between having an election and having a government.  The ministries do not function.  They have limited capabilities.  Without ministerial capacity there is an inability to provide security and basic services to the people of Iraq.

ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION WAS GIVEN A D-

One of the repeated comments of our military commanders was that the real essence of this struggle is not simply military, it is providing the economic opportunity, the sense of hope that is so vital to extinguish this anger and frustration that is fueling the insurgency. Unless we can produce tangible benefits in the daily life of average Iraqis, our military efforts will buy time, but not success.

IRAQ'S IMPACT ON U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY WAS GIVEN AN F

As you look around the globe at an Iran that has become much more adventurous and you also frankly question a government, like the government in Iraq, who has personal and political ties to Tehran.  No one is suggesting they are stooges of the Iranian government, but there is a sympathy and political realities that they face that emboldens countries like Iran and others to take actions that are detrimental to stability through the Middle East.

We have seen a resurgence of violence in Afghanistan.  We have seen the saber rattling of North Korea.  And we also understand that this effort is putting a huge stress on our military forces, particularly our Army. There is about a $17 billion shortfall already this year for repairing and replacing equipment committed to this battle, and that grows each year.  We are in danger of seeing our flexibility limited and our Army constrained over many years ahead because of our operations in Iraq.