New Kagan Iraq Report Is a Must Read

Fred Kagan and the Associated Press both offer new, important looks at Iraq.

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There are some must reads on Iraq out recently. First is Fred Kagan's "Iraq: The Way Ahead," Part IV, executive summary (full text in pdf) published by the American Enterprise Institute, at which I'm a resident fellow. Kagan was one of those who advocated the surge strategy that has proved so successful over the past year. His take:

The United States now has the opportunity to achieve its fundamental objectives in Iraq through the establishment of a peaceful, stable, secular, democratic state and a reliable ally in the struggle against both Sunni and Shiite terrorism. Such an accomplishment would allow the United States to begin to reorient its position in the Middle East from one that relies on antidemocratic states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia to one based on a strong democratic partner whose citizens have explicitly rejected al Qaeda and terrorism in general.

Kagan notes that the political benchmarks set by Congress (which he thinks are not the best measurement of political progress) have mostly been met. The Democratic presidential candidates and many Democrats in Congress like to pretend that nothing has changed for the better in Iraq since November 2006. This report makes it clear that they're wrong.

Second, the Associated Press writes that the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq reports "significant progress in security." Democratic senators have demanded that the NIE be declassified or that a declassification be made public; I'm not sure that would serve their purpose.