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Cordesman on Iraq: "Major Progress in Every Area"

10:47 AM, Feb 15, 2008 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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Regular readers will recall the dustup caused by the O'Hanlon/Pollack op-ed in the New York Times last July. Eager to cast doubt on the optimistic findings and views expressed by O'Hanlon and Pollack, many liberals pointed to the less-positive view expressed by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who had joined O'Hanlon and Pollack on their Iraq trip.

Cordesman has been to Iraq again, and his findings are worthy of attention:

No one can spend some 10 days visiting the battlefields in Iraq without seeing major progress in every area. A combination of the surge, improved win and hold tactics, the tribal uprising in Anbar and other provinces, the Sadr ceasefire, and major advances in the use of IS&R have transformed the battle against Al Qaida in Iraq. If the US provides sustained support to the Iraqi government -- in security, governance, and development -- there is now a very real chance that Iraq will emerge as a secure and stable state...

...and it is clear that Iraq can only succeed with years of additional US support in security, governance, and development. The progress in 2008 and 2009 cannot be decisive or irreversible. It will take strong US involvement throughout the life of the next Administration to succeed, and it may well take US aid through 2016.

One liberal blogger asked last August whether Cordesman's contrary views on Iraq would get the same attention as those of O'Hanlon and Pollack. An appropriate question today is whether liberal bloggers will give Cordesman's current assessment as much attention as they did his last.