I think one of the first mistakes the Administration made after deposing Saddam was to not pay enough attention to getting the Iraqi infrastructure up and running.
Moving half the Army Corps of Engineers, the SeaBees, and an equal number of private contractors into a city like Basra, fixing every damn utility (even with an upgrade), then moving to the next city up the Tigris. Rinse and repeat until some better use for the engineers and construction people comes up (say like a hurricane hitting NOLA).
I don’t think it’s too late to do a program like this, though it’s certainly more dangerous with factions seeking actively to prevent any progress.But by setting up cities and villages that are worth protecting and in which the residents have vested interests–and jobs–I think things would have (and still could) get better, quicker.
An approach to achieving victory in Anbar province so simple a child could understand it. The developer of this presentation was Capt. Travis Patriquin. He was killed by an IED last Wednesday:
The creator of this PowerPoint presentation, “How to Win in Al Anbar,” was Capt. Travis Patriquin.
But Patriquin will not see victory in Iraq. He was killed by the same improvised explosive device that killed Maj. Megan McClung of the Marine Corps last Wednesday.
Patriquin had fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. A gifted officer, he spoke numerous languages, including Arabic.
Hat tip: ABC News