Iraq Invasion Anniversary Countdown: Conservatives Jump the Gun, Again

There is no coincidence in the convergence on Baghdad today of Vice President Cheney and Senators Joseph Leiberman (I-CT), John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Two days before the five-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, these principal proponents of the invasion and this year’s “surge” strategy are desperately eager to persuade the American people that everything is now going according to conservative plans.

In fact, by any measure success in Iraq remains highly uncertain after five long years of see-saw stability in the country. The most recent cause for concern, noted ABC News in their first report on the five-year anniversary of the invasion on Sunday night, is the U.S. re-armed Sunni militia units, or Awakening forces in Anbar province and in and around Baghdad. The broadcaster’s correspondent in Baghdad warned these forces could turn on the United States if they do not gain political power commensurate with their new-found military muscle.

Indeed, we at the Center for American Progress have detailed the problematic decision by the U.S. military to arm Sunni militias for the fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq. The justifiable fear is that we have re-armed many former Sunni insurgents for a wider civil war against the Shi’a-led coalition government now struggling to govern the country.

When the American people this week re-examine the false reasons why we invaded Iraq five years ago and the many mistakes made by the Bush administration after that initial (and colossal) blunder, they should then ask those conservatives so eager to claim victory today in Baghdad exactly what they think will happen if our current Sunni allies turn on our brave men and women in uniform. With their claims of success for their surge strategy, they are once again jumping the gun by claiming victory before the contest is anywhere near over.

Brian Katulis is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the Center’s most recent report on the implications of the Sunni Awakening to U.S. national security.

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