"Currently, Coalition COIN [counter-insurgency] efforts continue to
struggle because of the
limited availability of civil reconstruction and governance expertise,
primarily a State Department role or mission," the report said.
The report was released in February 2009 amid plans by the new
administration of President Barack Obama to accelerate a U.S. troop
withdrawal from Iraq. Officials said several leading commanders, including
Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus, have warned Obama that a rapid
withdrawal could destabilize Iraq.
"A stable Iraq with a capable and legitimate government, able to
self-rule and defend its borders and interior, is of mutual interest to many
Middle Eastern countries as well as the world's major powers," the report
said. "This mutual interest can be leveraged to assure commitments by other
nations to support continued stability in Iraq until the country can emerge
as a stabilizer in the Middle East, capable of offsetting a rogue state such
as Iran or capable of dealing with newly emerging non-state threats."
The report said the United States should reduce its "overt military
presence" in the Middle East. But Drinkwine, regarded as a leading
counter-insurgency expert, said Washington must "stay very connected."
"We must drop the democracy dialogue and then gain better footing to
communicate strategically with multiple target audiences," the report said.