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Achieving Victory in Iraq

A Center for Threat Awareness Report

By ThreatsWatch | January 4, 2007

As the President of the United States prepares to announce a new plan and change of direction for US operations in Iraq, the Center for Threat Awareness has produced a report, Achieving Victory in Iraq, complete with forty recommendations. While the report offers a comprehensive review of the situation in Iraq it is chiefly in response to the December 2006 Iraq Study Group report. In many instances, we agree with the Iraq Study Group, primarily in their assessment of the situation in Iraq. While we do not disagree with every recommendation they have made – as reflected in our report – we clearly see a fundamentally different set of guiding principles and objectives.

The decision to take on the task of creating Achieving Victory In Iraq was inspired also in part by our perception of a lack of a comprehensive alternative response to its various observations and recommendations. While there was no small amount of public commentary and criticism of the Iraq Study Group, much of the criticism – right as it may or may not have been – lacked an alternative recommendation on specifically challenged points. Further, we believed that there were no in-depth comprehensive alternatives offered to the body of work as a whole.

Finding ourselves – authors Marvin Hutchens, Steve Schippert and Michael Tanji – in regular and detailed conversations regarding point by point agreement or disagreement and not satisfied with criticism without alternative, we determined that we should offer sensible and reasoned recommendations. Likewise, believing that there is value to the American public in a formal and comprehensive response, we took the initiative and began the process of organizing and formalizing a full set of recommendations.

Our approach, perspective and resulting recommendations are distinctly and unapologetically forward-leaning in comparison to that of the Iraq Study Group. Perhaps that is most evident in the opening paragraph to Section II: Achieving Victory: Securing Peace and Stability in Iraq.

"We do not seek progress, managed or contained violence, equilibrium or the status quo in Iraq. Our aim is victory. We must defeat our enemies and the enemies of a strong and unified Iraq on the battlefields and in the streets of Iraq in order to free the Iraqi people and government of the concerns that prevent them from addressing issues of national reconciliation and recovery."

We openly recognize that the Center for Threat Awareness report, Achieving Victory in Iraq, is not without weaknesses. We do not pretend to be – nor do we seek to be perceived as – experts in areas where we have insufficient expertise. We have acknowledged this openly in the document and avoided relevant areas for this reason, seeking to preserve our integrity rather than inflate our perceived expertise. Yet, we believe that when guided by principle, the expertise required to determine our nations policies are more availed than is commonly accepted.

As well, we have stated in our Letter From the Authors, as concerned citizens, we would have preferred to have had more time and greater resources to devote to the examination of these issues.

We hope that the produced report can be seen for both its value in contributing to understanding and forming effective policy that overtly seeks victory in Iraq and in the greater conflict. We also hope that it can serve as an example of what can be accomplished by concerned citizens – outside the Pentagon and removed from Washington – when we take the initiative to contribute to our nation's war effort. In this regard, we welcome your feedback, other similar efforts and look forward to the discussion leading up to and following the President's upcoming announcement.

To read the report in full click here.

UPDATE: For those having trouble accessing the PDF by the link above - please try here.


Listed below are links that reference Achieving Victory in Iraq:

» A Stab at Victory in Iraq from Haft of the Spear
I mentioned several weeks ago that I was working on something on the QT. Well, it is done. It has been a long time since I have had to do a joint project and unlike the ones I used to [Read More]


Much of this should seem to be common sense to anyone who views the conflict in Iraq as important. Most of those items, in turn, should have been done in early 2004 when it was clear that the insurgency was not going to be a short-term phenomenon.

Naturally, some items would not meet with acclaim from those who think that the US doesn't need to do anything more for Iraq. I am of the opinion that the US has not met its responsibilities and as such should do its best. The recommendations laid out here are a superb representation of what that 'best' means.

Well done.

It appears you fellows have all graduated from the Michael Ledeen School of Middle East Diplomacy----constant and never-ending war against the Qur'an thumping, Sharia loving Islamo-fanatics.

However, they offer their maniacal martyrs and jumping jihads a place in Seventh Heaven with 72 virgins----what do you guys offer me??

All joking aside, how many Iraqis are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your end?

Remember the 80/10/10 rule. 80% of a country's population doesn't care what kind of government they have as long as they live in peace. The other 10 percenters are active and on opposite sides----just like Iraq!

P.S. When I click on the link to get the full report I get an error message----maybe you could forward the report to my email address.

First, apologies regarding difficulties some have had viewing the PDF through the original link. Not all browser configurations seem to be set up to view without error. Note that we have provided a second direct option for those experiencing troubles.

Second, thanks to all who have provided and continue to provide constructive feedback, as it is important to us going forward.

Third, perhaps the reason it appears that we may have "graduated from the Michael Ledeen School of Middle East Diplomacy" is because we - like Dr. Ledeen - recognize that since the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran's leadership has been at war with the United States (among others). There's neither much diplomacy in their constant offensive in all its forms, nor much diplomacy in the solution that will bring it to an end. This is not to be confused with a call for a ground invasion.

But rather, imagine if the United States put the full weight of its economic might behind the opposition groups within Iran and their dissidents scattered throughout Europe and North America.

How different would the face of this epic conflict be if the mullah regime were overthrown from within and the jihadiyun's chief state sponsor of their terrorist activities no longer in the business of exporting arms, expert trainers, operatives and cash?

All analysis - be it of Iraq, Somalia or nearly any other theater - finds paths back to the mullahcracy in Tehran, the epicenter of terrorism.

Bravest Advice:

BEFORE President Bush had tomorrow night's speech about Iraq crafted, it might have helped a bunch to listen to Danny Swift.

Danny is no politician - just a New York City firefighter who had the living daylights blown out of him before losing two comrades, including Chris Engledrum, and saving two others outside Baghdad on Nov 29, 2004.

"I hope there is a change in strategy, a big, big change in strategy," said Danny, who has been back at Ladder 43's firehouse for 10 months after recovering from shrapnel wounds.

"For a start, let's forget cut and run - but also let's have the best military in the world allowed to perform like the best military in the world," he told me yesterday.

"Twenty-thousand ex- tra troops won't make a dent under the disheveled and disorganized practice of the rules of engagement, which are a joke....

"You have to let the military do their job."

Are you listening, President Bush?

steve.dunleavy at nypost dot com

Here I go again, but the lesson of Vietnam is clear: A U.S.-led war cannot be won or sustained without the support of the American people. By failing to learn that lesson, President Bush has not only put Iraq at risk, but American leadership in the world and the stability of the entire Middle East. And as you adroitly mentioned in your report and as assuredly as night follows day; when there is political gain to be made from dissent so it will be. However, a change in party doesn’t necessarily mean a withdrawal----dissent is just a means to an end. Remember President Nixon with his secret plan to end the Vietnam War. With Nixon and Dr. Strangelove----oops Kissinger it still took 6 years while trying to squeeze out a way to prevail. Unfortunately dissent at home has one major drawback----it encourages the enemy.

But on the bright side it looks like you guys are up three; US intervention in Somalia; a troop increase in Iraq (albeit just a token) and a potential for operations against outside provocateurs namely Iran and Syria. Iran is already fighting a proxy war against US troops in Iraq!

As for your AVI report, I am sure the President Bush would have preferred your report over the ISG’s!----wait a minute - based on what Bush has said I think he has read it!!!

I’m not as much a dove as I seem----just playing the Devil’s Advocate. I believe if you go to war, fight the freakin’ think and don’t nickel and dime it----the faster the victory the less the vindictiveness.


If anyone has read your regular comments in here, it would be quite difficult for them to perceive you a dove, myself included. We both want to win - in Iraq and elsewhere - and the debate that comes forth is the proper debate: One about how to achieve this, not whether.

And that is the stark difference between the debated points you and I have had at times in here and the dissent you speak of in our current body politic. You said "a change in party doesn’t necessarily mean a withdrawal----dissent is just a means to an end."

The manner and tenor in which the current 'dissent' is being manifested, it is distinctly not about how to win or succeed, but rather without question simply whether we should make any effort.

Frustrated men like me feel we have to inexplicably argue daily in defense of defense, and that reality in itself is something our fathers and grandfathers before us would cringe at.

Simply stated, however, the political and media 'opposition' at current customarily over-reach and overestimate their 'mandate.' For the American people are not angry or fatigued with Iraq because they disagree in principle, but rather because they percieve we are not winning.

It's no more complicated than that.

Those in the political arean who are accutely aware of this fact are the ones most deeply invested in our withdrawal and failure in Iraq.

For if the perceptible tide turns, their electoral fortunes are lost.

And so the question remains: Will any political oppostion leader choose what's right for America and in her best interest and propose a solution that leads to victory rather than withdrawal and defeat?

Other than Joe Lieberman, it's slim pickins at the opposition principle farm.

They will insist on riding the wave they created which swept them into power.

That is a sad state of American political affairs.

Our children will pay the price for our self-indulgence.