Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Iraq Study Group Presents Its Report

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The Baker-Hamilton Commission- The Iraq Study Group, Has Presented Its Report. The 142 Page Document Offers 79 Recommendations For Improving the Situation in Iraq.

Report from ABC News

Report from the BBC

The Group dropped a bomb and shattered all of the previous Bush administration claims and delusions about Iraq.... (that things have been going well there, the media has been making things up, that their plan has been working, and that the U.S. should stay the course). That has been a bunch of nonsense all along.

This is a day of reckoning for the Bush administration. They must let go of the fantasy that they have been living in since March of 2003 (when the U.S. invaded Iraq). This is official confirmation coming from within the U.S. establishment that says that the White House policy regarding Iraq has failed.

"The Situation in Iraq is Grave and Deteriorating"

"Staying the course, no longer viable"

This situation is so much more complicated than the Iraq Study Group makes it out to be. With all of the religious divisions, Muslim radicalism, economic problems, political factions, historical context, U.S. soldiers not knowing who the enemy is, a weak host government, a lack of international support, etc.... this is probably the most complicated wartime situation that the U.S. has ever been in. BUT, this is a start.... hopefully the start of a new approach.

Also, they did not provide a timetable.... a timetable (in any enterprise) is key for any strategic plan. That's Management 101. How long is all of this supposed to take? You have to have time limits of some kind.... But benchmarks may be enough.

Also.... I think there will be troops in Iraq for many many years. I'm still wondering when they will finally level with the American people and tell them the truth. They keep getting Americans hopes up about a troop withdrawal. True, there will be a reduction of U.S. troops.... but there will have to be troops (10,000-30,000) in Iraq for many many years...perhaps decades (If they indeed want some kind of success there). This will be needed to sustain and equip any kind of Iraqi military that somehow rises from the dust of all this mess.

Some of the main recommendations are:

1. Engage in robust regional diplomacy with Iraqs neighbors, including Iran and Syria, with the hopes of reducing the violence and increasing stability.

2. Increase the number of embedded U.S. trainers for the Iraqi military and speed up the training of Iraqi security forces.

3. Put pressure on Iraqs political leaders to take responsibility for improving the situation and taking charge of their own future.

4. Deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is one of the main underlying and festering conflicts fueling Jihadist movements throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Even if all of the recommendations are accepted and implemented by the Bush administration, there is no guarantee that the mission in Iraq will be successful.


Many of the recommendations are not new. Others, including myself, have made many of these recommendations before. But there are a few new ideas that are mentioned in the report.

Watch Video of the Full Press Conference

Hear audio with analysis from public radio program On Point. (choose audio option from top of page)



Congress responds to the Iraq Study Group Report

The Bush administration is considering response to Iraq Study Group Report. A major speech is coming soon within the next few days or weeks, with the possible theme of "A New Way Forward".



View & Download Full Report

This is my apple
(3 Sources Provided for Download. Download in pdf format)

Download #1 USA Today

Download #2 U.S. Institute of Peace

Download #3 Baker Institute


Previous Blog Entries on the Iraq Study Group

Iraq study group to suggest diplomacy with Iraqs neighbors

Baker does not see "victory" in Iraq

Additional articles

Report from the BBC

Report from The Voice Of America News

Important Links

The U.S. Institute of Peace

The Baker Institute


Ashok said...

my views on the Iraq Study Group report are posted at

Brian said...

Interesting points in your blog entry. I agree that the U.S. should increase the training the Iraqi security forces. The U.S. should have increased this a long time ago...(I mentioned 3 times the rate that they are doing this currently).

I also agree that there is no safety there...and without the safety, not much can get done. I read an article a few weeks ago that stated that several hundred thousand Iraqis have fled Iraq, and have gone to neighboring countries.

I also agree that there is a problem of trust. We have not given the Iraqi people enough reason to trust us. Most of the people in the Middle East believe that the U.S. was mostly interested in oil (which is largely true). The ISG touches on this issue somewhat.
This is why Iraqis have to take over their own that the world can see that Iraqis are in control...and the U.S. is not dictating things there. But i'm not 100% sure that this is what the U.S. administration really wants. I don't think they truly want a sovereign Iraq.... they want an Iraq that they have some influence over.

I also think that there may not have been enough input from people like yourself who have been there and lived there.

But hopefully this new report will be the start of a new policy.

Good points...

the next few months will be interesting.