This brief book-form report offers 79 recommendations for how to move forwards toward a better tomorrow in Iraq. It is notable that it makes almost no attempt to look at the errors and misjudgments of the past, let alone the lies and deliberate obfuscations. It makes me think of a theoretical scenario in which a person had been charged with murder, a commission had been set up to look at the event in question, and the commission reported only on how to keep the accused from murdering again, with no mention of the first killing. I was surprised to learn that a considerable problem in Iraq is violence by the criminal element. I liked one line in particular. It was that if New Jersey were occupied by a foreign power, Tony Soprano would be an insurgent leader. There were few surprises in the report, at least to the reader who attends to the news. It calls for engaging with Syria and Iran and makes a point of citing the Israeli-Palestinian problem as a serious source of regional difficulty. Note is also taken that as bad as things are with the volume of daily attacks, many incidents are left out of the tally.
p 95 – A roadside bomb or rocket or mortar attack that doesn’t hurt U.S. personnel doesn’t count. For example, one day in July 2006, there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 act of violence. I also learned that there is significant tension even within the Shia militias. Incidents are cited in which the Badr militia came to blows with the Mahdi Army.