not quite, according to new york times columnist tom friedman:
the next six months in iraq — which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there — are the most important six months in u.s. foreign policy in a long, long time.
what i absolutely don't understand is just at the moment when we finally have a un-approved iraqi-caretaker government made up of — i know a lot of these guys — reasonably decent people and more than reasonably decent people, everyone wants to declare it's over. i don't get it. it might be over in a week, it might be over in a month, it might be over in six months, but what's the rush? can we let this play out, please?
what we're gonna find out, bob, in the next six to nine months is whether we have liberated a country or uncorked a civil war.
improv time is over. this is crunch time. iraq will be won or lost in the next few months. but it won't be won with high rhetoric. it will be won on the ground in a war over the last mile.
i think we're in the end game now. ... i think we're in a six-month window here where it's going to become very clear and this is all going to pre-empt i think the next congressional election—that's my own feeling— let alone the presidential one.
maybe the cynical europeans were right. maybe this neighborhood is just beyond transformation. that will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the sunnis in iraq intend to be. if they come around, a decent outcome in iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. if they won't, then we are wasting our time.
we've teed up this situation for iraqis, and i think the next six months really are going to determine whether this country is going to collapse into three parts or more or whether it's going to come together.
we're at the beginning of, i think, the decisive, i would say, six months in iraq, ok, because i feel like this election — you know, i felt from the beginning iraq was going to be ultimately, charlie, what iraqis make of it.
— pbs charlie rose show, december 20, 2005
the only thing i am certain of is that in the wake of this election, iraq will be what iraqis make of it — and the next six months will tell us a lot. i remain guardedly hopeful.
i think that we're going to know after six to nine months whether this project has any chance of succeeding. in which case, i think the american people as a whole will want to play it out or whether it really is a fool's errand.
— oprah winfrey show, january 23, 2006
i think we're in the end game there, in the next three to six months, bob. we've got for the first time an iraqi government elected on the basis of an iraqi constitution. either they're going to produce the kind of inclusive consensual government that we aspire to in the near term, in which case america will stick with it, or they're not, in which case i think the bottom's going to fall out.
— cbs, january 31, 2006
i think we are in the end game. the next six to nine months are going to tell whether we can produce a decent outcome in iraq.
— msnbc today show, march 2, 2006
can iraqis get this government together? if they do, i think the american public will continue to want to support the effort there to try to produce a decent, stable iraq. but if they don't, then i think the bottom is going to fall out of public support here for the whole iraq endeavor. so one way or another, i think we're in the end game in the sense it's going to be decided in the next weeks or months whether there's an iraq there worth investing in. and that is something only iraqis can tell us.
well, i think that we're going to find out, chris, in the next year to six months — probably sooner — whether a decent outcome is possible there, and i think we're going to have to just let this play out.
yes, folks, you've heard tom's song before. it's sung to the tune of "turn, turn, turn".
(hat tip to the media researchniks at f.a.i.r.)