Saturday, August 20, 2011

Unfinished Business - An American Strategy for Iraq Moving Forward

Unfinished Business: An American Strategy for Iraq Moving ' Forward is the product of a remarkable transformation. Not the transformation of Iraq, but the transformation of the views of analysts in the United States who work on Iraq. During the spring of 2010, in the midst of Iraq's post-election wrangling, the six members of this group met on several occasions at small dinners and other meetings related to Iraq. Over the course of those gatherings we realized that although many of us had once differed vociferously in our views regarding American policy toward Iraq, our disagreements had abated rather dramatically. Indeed, there seemed to be a surprising convergence in our thinking despite our widely differing political backgrounds. In response, during the late summer and early fall of 2010, Kenneth Pollack of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution convened the group formally as a working group on Iraq. Unfortunately, Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute was asked to come to Afghanistan by General Stanley McChrystal to help the U.S. military with that mission. As a result, Fred had to follow our activities remotely, via emails, written notes from the sessions, and the odd face-to-face meeting whenever he was in town.