The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq’s borders from external threat until at least 2018....
suggested a longer commitment than either government had previously indicated....
“According to our calculations and our timelines, we think that from the first quarter of 2009 until 2012 we will be able to take full control of the internal affairs of the country,” Mr. Qadir said in an interview on Monday, conducted in Arabic through an interpreter.
“In regard to the borders, regarding protection from any external threats, our calculation appears that we are not going to be able to answer to any external threats until 2018 to 2020,” he added.
Iraqi internal security has been greatly enhanced in the past year due to the empowering of the Sunni Arab insurgency as quasi-legitimate actors, but I think the Defense Minister is waiting for the US to play the local heavy and crush his party's opponents in order to define internal security. This is supportive of the 'enabling' argument of US forces in that they allow decisions to be deferred.
But I remember back in my first blogging days the breathless announcement that Iraq and Baghdad would be secured by the first quarter of 2005. That was in 2003. Iraqi security on terms favorable to the Maliki government and US objectives are about as obtainable as reliable, commercial nuclear fusion has been --- just a couple more years fellows.
If the US maintains 100,000 or more soldiers in Iraq for the next decade, that is at least $2,000,000,000,000 in direct expenditures, tactical nuclear weapons as a problem component of the actual strategic reserve opportunity cost, and the continuing gradual defeat of our strategic objectives in Afghanistan. I don't think this is worth it, especially when you consider the 200 billion dollars per year is more than the maximal marginal sustainable policy money. If we want to do anything at home with Iraq being a money suck, we can not.