I read the National Strategy For Victory In Iraq (NSVI) three times. Finally, it hit me; this thing is the strawman for an advertising campaign designed to sell a product that does nothing and nobody is buying. It reads like something produced by a grade 9 civics class during an afternoon spare. It was clearly intended for the US domestic market because nobody outside the US would even think of buying it. (Document here, courtesy of Washington Note). (PDF).
The entire document is easily deconstructed and Think Progress has done a good job of exposing a body with no bones.
Bush claims that this is the unclassified version of the plan which the administration has been using all along. Umm... I don't think so. Maybe for the past 7 days, but there are references to problems and objectives which didn't exist prior to 2003 and indeed are new this year.
As a plan, the NSVI is sorely lacking. It is filled with motherhood statements and platitudes but no concrete support for objectives. It is a poorly written business plan with no numbers whatsoever. The various quotes peppered throughout the document give one the feeling of having picked up an americanized version of the Quotations of Chairman Mao Tse Tung. If these are the basis for a strategy then there is no strategy at all.
The truth is, this 35 page "strategy" was produced as a result of a group brainstorming session carried out between the November 17th John Murtha proposal and whatever day NSVI went to print. If there was any plan prior to that, a summary would have appeared long before this very amateur production.
There is a moment of comedy in NSVI. The Consequences of Failure, a term normally reserved for the performance standards of individuals, is a side-splitting piece of work.
The reiteration in writing that Iraq is the central front in the War on Terrorism should give other countries a moment of pause. NATO is involved in the War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and rejects the assumption that Iraq is a front in that struggle. In fact, Iraq was terrorist free until the US invaded it. If Iraq has become a terrorist battlefront, it is the Bush administration's own doing.
As Think Progress notes, there are contradictory statements, a failure to set standards for accountability, a dismissal of actual conditions and failure to address key objectives. In other words, it says nothing at all. There is no fall-back position and there are no alternative objectives. Simply the statement that Failure is not an option. (The Bushies DO love their movies!)
Bush's statement today was just as vague.
Before our mission in Iraq is accomplished, there will be tough days ahead.
A far cry from his "Mission Accomplished" speech after his visit to USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003.
In fact with the NSVI and Bush's speech today, America and the world can expect a long stay in Iraq.... a very long stay. And the bodies will keep piling up.