Earlier this afternoon, I attended an AEI panel on Frederick Kagan's new report on
Kagan opened up by declaring that "the civil war in Iraq is over," because the surge succeeded in quelling sectarian violence and now the Iraqi public is increasingly focused on preventing an uptick in violence. Attacks that would have triggered a wave of tit for tat in 2006, are now being met with restraint on both sides.
While Al Qaeda in
Kagan argued that though the prevailing narrative is that the Iraqi government has failed to meet the benchmarks set by Congress, by his count, the Iraqis have actually met 12 of 18 benchmarks, while making progress on 5 others.
Looking to troop withdrawals, Kagan said that a drawdown of troops to 15 brigades from the current 20 would still allow us to complete our mission successfully, but anything below 15 would put our mission in jeopardy.
O'Hanlon said that supporters of the surge had been "vindicated" by the success of the strategy, but that we are by no means out of the woods in
He also blasted the idea of a counterterrorism strategy that would have
Pollack chimed in to say that it was "remarkable" to him as a military analyst that the surge has worked exactly as it was intended to. A year ago, he would have given very low odds to a best case scenario in
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