Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ISG:The Way Forward: A New Approach

The bipartisan 'Iraq Study Group' has released its report. Just a year ago it may have been called 'cut and run', but today, I would call it common sense. Some details via CNN:
"It's clear the Iraqi government will need U.S. assistance for some time to come, especially in carrying out new security responsibilities. Yet the U.S. must not make open-ended commitments to keep large numbers of troops deployed in Iraq."
Other items of significance:

-- move most U.S. troops out of combat roles by early 2008 transitioning into more of a supporting roll

-- encourages the administration to explore fresh diplomatic options to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

-- recommends direct talks between the United States and Iran, as well as Syria. The President has been chilly to this idea.

-- "Iraq's neighbors and key states in and outside the region should form a support group" to help Iraq achieve long-term security and political reconciliation -- "neither of which it can sustain on its own,"

The report concludes with comments addressing the new majority in congress, and the potential conflicts that will exists with a President of another party:
"What we recommend demands a tremendous amount of political will and cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government," the report says. "Success depends on unity of the American people at a time of political polarization."

The report concludes: "Foreign policy is doomed to failure -- as is any action in Iraq -- if not supported by broad, sustained consensus."
There are other reports out there, and I am sure the polipundits will cherry pick what they want to believe out of the report that supports their predetermined conclusions. But the bipartisan ISG, co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton, just may have the most credibility.

A PDF of the report will be available at their website during this morning's 10:00 AM CST Press conference. Some reading material for my lunch break.


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