GAO: Attacks in Iraq Should Be Reported to Congress and American Public
by Jim Kouri, CPP
In January 2007, President George W. Bush stated that the high levels of violence in Iraq had overwhelmed the political gains that the Iraqis had made and required a new US strategy for stabilizing the country.
The new strategy recognized that until the Iraqi people have a basic measure of security, they would not be able to make significant and sustainable political and economic progress.
To help Iraqi leaders provide security for their population, the United States deployed about 30,000 additional troops to Iraq during the spring of 2007, bringing the total number of U.S. military personnel up to about 160,000 as of mid-June 2007.
Enemy-initiated attacks data are a key indicator of progress in improving Iraq's security situation, an important condition that, according to the administration, must be met before the United States can reduce its military presence in Iraq.
While attacks data alone may not provide a complete picture of Iraq's security situation, the Department of Defense and Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) officials state that the data provide a reasonably sound depiction of general security trends in the country.
Since 2004, the Government Accountability Office has periodically provided this information to Congress in classified and unclassified briefings, reports, and testimonies. In response to GAO's requests, various DOD components -- most recently the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) -- have assisted GAO in publicly reporting trends in the security situation by declassifying the attacks data on a monthly basis.
In the GAO report on the status of the achievement of Iraqi benchmarks, analysts provided attacks data through July 31, 2007 The DOD report provides data through August 31, 2007.
Overall security conditions in Iraq have deteriorated and grown more complex, since May 2003, as evidenced by the increased numbers of attacks and the Sunni-Shi'a sectarian strife that followed the February 2006 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. Enemy-initiated attacks against the coalition and its Iraqi partners increased through October 2006 and have remained at high levels since that time.
These attacks have increased around major religious and political events, including Ramadan and elections. Coalition forces are still the primary target of attacks, but the number of attacks on Iraqi security forces and civilians also has increased since 2003.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.