The inimitable Spencer Ackerman reports on a hearing yesterday in which actual, flesh and blood Iraqi politicians testified about the surge, the Awakening, the drop in violence, and their desire to see an end to the American occupation. An excerpt:
Increasing the number of forces didn’t affect the level of violence in Iraq. Because the war there is a war against gangs and they are like ghosts. They hit and run. What led to the reduction of terrorist acts and violence are the forces of the Awakening. They are from the tribes of the area where terrorists are more [in number]. And those forces managed to eliminate the other party, the terrorists, because they know them and know the tactics. We suggested that a long time ago for our government and the American government but nobody listened.
I believe the reduction in the level of violence is due mainly to the efforts of the volunteers. The thing that will reduce the violence more is not military force but having realistic solutions to convince others to join the political process. I believe the best method to achieve that is a real national reconciliation. We need real reconciliation, not only slogans as is being done now. And reconcilition should involve all the Iraqis, whether they are involved right now in the political process or not. …
That requires changing the constitution. [We should] do away with federalism based on sectarianism and groups, but if we have to have federalism it has to be geographic federalism and we need new, transparent and fair elections. And we have to do away with quotas and have to be based on nationalis[m] and get back those refugees in Jordan and other countries that total 4,600,000 and we have to get them back and compensate them for their suffering. The prisoners, whether in Iraq jails or American jails, have to be released. If we really achieved those points we would have law and order in the country even without the presence of any military forces and American troops can withdraw.