W Andrew Terrill, Strategic Studies Institute | May 8, 2009
Retaining the Iraqi army in 2003 and less punitive measures against former Ba'ath party members would have allowed the earlier withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. ++ This "alienated Iraq's Sunni Arabs and opened the door for a strong al-Qaeda presence in Iraq". ++ Treatment of Sunnis as potential enemies by the Iraqi government would be a further mistake. ++ As a result the Sunnis could "choose the path of resistance and insurgency". ++ The US should encourage the Iraqi government to be more inclusive toward Sunnis.