White House: Document spells out Iraq strategy
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an effort to address criticism that the United States has no clear plan for winning the war in Iraq, the White House Wednesday released a 35-page document that it says maps out the national plan for achieving victory.
"National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," a National Security Council document, attempts to define what victory in Iraq means in the short term, the medium term and the long term.
The strategy for victory is to pursue it along three tracks: political, security and economic, the report said. That breaks down into eight prongs, including defeating the terrorists and neutralizing the insurgency; helping Iraq strengthen its economy; and increasing international support for Iraq.
"With resolve, victory will be achieved, although not by a date certain," the report said. "No war has ever been won on a timetable and neither will this one."
"We expect, but cannot guarantee, that our force posture will change over the next year, as the political process advances and Iraqi security forces grow and gain experience," the report said. "Our mission in Iraq is to win the war. Our troops will return home when that mission is complete."
The declassified version released by the White House is part of a much longer and more comprehensive report.
Victory in Iraq is vital to the United States, and will make America safer, stronger and more certain of its future as well as helping the country win the war on terror, the document said.
Failure in Iraq, the report said, would mean Iraq would become a safe haven for terrorists and a source of instability for the Middle East.
It also would mean the terrorists had "won a decisive victory over the United States, vindicating their tactics of beheadings, suicide bombings and ruthless intimidation of civilians, inviting more deadly attacks against Americans and other free people across the globe."
The published plan said progress has been made in Iraq, but challenges remain.
"It is not realistic to expect a fully functioning democracy, able to defeat its enemies and peacefully reconcile generational grievances, to be in place less than three years after Saddam was finally removed from power."
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