Talabani is cranky!
The Iraq Study Group report lays a great deal of the blame for the insurgency at the feet of the current Iraqi government, saying over and over again that the leadership is focused on purely sectarian concerns and that without an embrace of the Sunnis, there will be no successful end to the insurgency in Iraq.
"He singled out the report's call for the approval of a de-Baathification law that could allow thousands of officials from Saddam Hussein's ousted Baath party to return to their jobs."
Not, of course, that some of those officials are also the best educated folks in the country.
"The Kurdish leader also criticized the call for increasing the number of U.S. troops embedded to train Iraqis from 3,000 to 4,000 currently to 10,000 to 20,000."
"'It is not respecting the desire of the Iraqi people to control its army and to be able to rearm and train Iraqi forces under the leadership of the Iraqi government,' he said."
Grow up. If your army didn't suck rocks through bendy straws, we'd already have left. If your sovreignty was held up by anything but American rifles, you wouldn't be so pissy about the suggestion that we pack up and leave.
The Iraqi Army is the closest thing to a bright spot we have, but they need a lot of help. Money, equipment, and leadership are all lacking. If the Iraqi government could provide the leadership that they needed, they would have done so.
The United States armed forces have done things in Iraq that are nothing short of amazing. There is, however, a sharp limit to what we can achieve without the Iraqis themselves.
We could (theoretically) shoot this country up to the point that everyone would be beaten down into submission. As step one, we'd have to throw the press out of the country for a year or two. And when we were done tearing this country apart brick by brick, it would take 20 years for Iraq to recover enough for self-government. We'd have to maintain direct rule of Iraq for at least that long, like we're some sort of 19th century Englishmen.
Assuming there is not support for this course of action (I think that's a safe assumption) then the process of standing up an indigenous government protected by an indigenous army and police force requires that these indigs actually take some responsibility.
The Iraqi government is reacting strongly to the idea that the United States is going to present them with two unpalatable options, as the Iraq Study Group suggests.
1) Actually start ruling your country in a non-sectarian manner,
2) Do without the American money, equipment, and troops which are protecting your regime right now.
Both of these are uncomfortable choices for the Kurds and Shia to make. But they are the only choices which are in America's best interests.
The United States has bought at immense cost in blood and treasure and given to the Iraqi people a republic, if they can keep it. Without the military operations as they have been conducted in the past four years, no positive future was possible for Iraq. We bought them breathing space and held their country together long enough to begin establishing what they need to hold it themselves.
The Iraq Study Group suggests it is time to take the training wheels off. We'll keep a hand on the back of the bike seat, at least at first. But training wheels aren't intended to be permanent.
The ISG suggests withdrawing most of the American forces and leaving enough for four missions.
1) Continue to fight al-Qaeda with Special Operations forces. That's pretty much self-explanatory.
2) Advise the Iraqi Army. Covered above.
3) Be 'on call' to support the Iraqi government if the situation suddenly worsens.
4) Deter Iran and Syria from interfering. That would be one of those 'disincentive' things I discussed earlier.
Missions 3 and 4 don't require three division HQs and 140,000 troops spread out over the entire country. Hell, we could probably perform those missions with three brigades parked in Kuwait.
That's what we are going to look like by the beginning of 2009 regardless due to American political situation. We need to start transitioning to that stance soon as a gradual process, or we will be leaving the Iraqis in a lurch.