The Center for Naval Analyses has just released a report on "Managing Civil Strife and Avoiding Civil War in Iraq." A senior military analyst emailed me his take after reviewing the report:
There are two interesting things about this report, in my view. First, although the panelists identified the power vacuum [see here for more on the roots of this vacuum) as the greatest factor contributing to the rise of militias on both sides, they assume, apparently without much discussion, that the US can do nothing to fill this vacuum. Second, they focus almost entirely on recommending solutions that rely on improvements in things we have the least control and leverage over. . . .
The discussion about what to do in Iraq is spinning off into never-never land as people focus ever more on irrelevant theories and propose solutions that can't be implemented. . . .
This piece by Dexter Filkins in today's New York Times seems to confirm much of the above.
Typical. It's just what you'd expect from an institution which is headed by a self-described "Carter Democrat," and the staff of which comprises too many political non-scientists, whose idea of finding the truth is to convene "balanced" panels of bloviators. Yet one more bit wasteful exercise in self-aggrandizement, at the taxpayers' expense.
P.S. The first link in the block quotation takes you to the home page of the Center's parent organization, The CNA Corporation. The conference report in question is here.