“Philippines and South Africa in the early 1900s to Malaya in the 1950s, El Salvador in the 1980s, and Northern Ireland in the 1990s.”
Boot mentions five cases. In four of them, the outside power was also the government. This meant that the outside, European or western power ran the politics. This is not the case in Iraq. The fundamental problem in Iraq is political.
“Sectarian murders are down two-thirds since January, though deaths from spectacular suicide bombings remain high.”
This is likely the result not of the surge but of a political decision by Shia leaders to curtail killing. Did the surge affect this political decision? If so, how? Can we sustain that effect?
“The army is the most effective and nonsectarian institution in Iraq. Although it has its share of woes, its combat performance has been improving, and it is less corrupt than the police.”
The historical evidence suggests that an Army can be good at dealing either with external enemies or internal enemies but not both. If the Army in fact substitutes for the police, then it will cease to be an Army. Is there any evidence that the U.S. military can train an effective police force?
“American advisers may unwittingly hold back the Iraqis in some instances by insisting they conform to the extraordinarily stringent standards of the U.S. armed forces--rules that, in terms of ethical conduct, are probably a good deal stricter than those previously employed by any army sent to quell any major insurgency in the long history of warfare.”
The abused prisoner in the case that Boot mentions apparently was a terrorist. How did the Iraqis know that before they abused him? Will they know that in all cases? If not, then abusing people to discover who the terrorists are is unlikely to build support for the new government. Will the abuse be handed out fairly or on a sectarian basis?