Consensus Iraq Policy Materializing?

Christopher Alleva
A bipartisan consensus on Iraq has seemed unattainable for several years now.  Miraculously,  the American Enterprise Institute's surge planner, Fred Kagan may have just done it with the presentation his report, "Iraq the Way Ahead Phase IV." One indicator that we may be lurching toward consensus that the presentation was made with the Brookings Institute's Michael O' Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack joining Kagan on the panel.

The panel was unanimous  in their assessment of the surge's success. O'Hanlon and Pollack largely concurred with Kagan's report (pdf version here).

Essentially, the report discusses the security situation and the consequence of drawing forces down. The surge forces amounted to 5 brigade combat teams totaling 20,000 troops.

Kagan conceded that the mission could be completed without these five brigades but he suggested that our ability to consolidate our gains and take advantage of opportunities, particulary in southern Iraq would be more limited. O'Hanlon and Pollack generally agreed with this assessment.

All three agreed that a precipitous withdrawl was not in the nation's interest. Pollack was especially concerned saying that there is no other plan that has any chance of working except the surge. He scoffed at the idea of the "over the horizon" counter-insurgency plan, i.e. the Murtha plan to "redeploy"  to Okinawa citing how completely unworkable it would be.

Frederick Kagan has done outstanding work, first as a key architect of the surge plan and now developing a strategy and detailed plans for the next phase of the war. He has delivered a blueprint that advances the debate by showing a path to the endgame all while bringing along influential military thinkers like O'Hanlon and Pollack from the other side of the political ailse.

O'Hanlon and Pollack deserve special recognition for contributing to this effort in the face of fierce criticism from certain planks of their party. They exemplify the tradition that politics ends at the water's edge.  

This briefing was well attended, including Thomas Ricks, military reporter for the Washington Post and Time Magazine's Joe Klein. The coverage of this session will make an interesting test for the media.  
A bipartisan consensus on Iraq has seemed unattainable for several years now.  Miraculously,  the American Enterprise Institute's surge planner, Fred Kagan may have just done it with the presentation his report, "Iraq the Way Ahead Phase IV." One indicator that we may be lurching toward consensus that the presentation was made with the Brookings Institute's Michael O' Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack joining Kagan on the panel.

The panel was unanimous  in their assessment of the surge's success. O'Hanlon and Pollack largely concurred with Kagan's report (pdf version here).

Essentially, the report discusses the security situation and the consequence of drawing forces down. The surge forces amounted to 5 brigade combat teams totaling 20,000 troops.

Kagan conceded that the mission could be completed without these five brigades but he suggested that our ability to consolidate our gains and take advantage of opportunities, particulary in southern Iraq would be more limited. O'Hanlon and Pollack generally agreed with this assessment.

All three agreed that a precipitous withdrawl was not in the nation's interest. Pollack was especially concerned saying that there is no other plan that has any chance of working except the surge. He scoffed at the idea of the "over the horizon" counter-insurgency plan, i.e. the Murtha plan to "redeploy"  to Okinawa citing how completely unworkable it would be.

Frederick Kagan has done outstanding work, first as a key architect of the surge plan and now developing a strategy and detailed plans for the next phase of the war. He has delivered a blueprint that advances the debate by showing a path to the endgame all while bringing along influential military thinkers like O'Hanlon and Pollack from the other side of the political ailse.

O'Hanlon and Pollack deserve special recognition for contributing to this effort in the face of fierce criticism from certain planks of their party. They exemplify the tradition that politics ends at the water's edge.  

This briefing was well attended, including Thomas Ricks, military reporter for the Washington Post and Time Magazine's Joe Klein. The coverage of this session will make an interesting test for the media.