Friday, December 08, 2006

Reactions to the Iraq Study Group Report

Iraq Study Group: Change Iraq strategy now Dec. 6, 2006:

In a highly anticipated report being released Wednesday, the Iraq Study Group will call for a dramatic shift in war policy by urging the Bush administration to set a target of moving most U.S. troops out of their combat roles by early 2008, according to two sources who have seen the executive summary of the report.

The bipartisan panel, however, will stop short of a specific timetable for withdrawal.

"The primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq should evolve into one of supporting the Iraqi Army," says the report.

It adds: "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."

Sources familiar with the report, which will be presented to President Bush at the White House early Wednesday morning, said it also prods the administration to launch a new diplomatic initiative to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The report contends the United States "cannot achieve its goals in the Mideast" unless it embarks on a "renewed and sustained commitment to a comprehensive peace plan on all fronts," according to the sources who have seen the report.

As part of this initiative, the panel calls for direct talks between the United States and Iran, as well as Syria, a move the Bush administration has repeatedly resisted.

The Iraq Study group report will be downloadable at the following websites:


  • The Iraq Study Group's self-contradiction, by Donald Sensing. Winds of Change Dec. 7, 2006:
    . . . on the one hand, the ISG says the US is facing a real crisis in Iraq and that time is short to change direction. Then, on the other, the ISG offers recommendations that even it (unanimously) says is "not likely to happen quickly." The ISG wants to start withdrawing US combat units from Iraq by 2008, but did it stop to think that it's highly unlikely for any of its regional initiatives and conferences even to be scheduled by then? The wheels of the gods and diplomats grind exceedingly slow, something James Baker should have remembered. Syria and Iraq have no obvious incentive to engage with us at all, a fact that Messrs. Baker and Hamilton tacitly admitted. To imagine that Assad and Ahmandinejad will jump at the chance to assist the US in achieving its goals in Iraq is the triumph of hope over experience. If anything, they'll see the report as a sign of the slackening of American will and pretend to engage while making sure that the "peace process" drags on interminably. (We do, after all, have a track record of being victiom of that tactic, just recall the Paris peace talks with Hanoi, in which the North Vietnamese delegation spent most of a year doing nothing but arguing about the shape and height of the negotiation table.)
  • Assessment of the Iraq Study Group Report, by Marc Schulman on Lebanon. American Future Dec. 6, 2006.
  • We've Been Talking: It's a myth that the U.S. hasn't already engaged Syria and Iran, by Joel Himelfarb. The Wall Street Journal Dec. 6, 2006:
    Based on the historical record, the advocates of U.S. engagement with these regimes are delusional. The record, from Carter to Bush II, strongly suggests that neither regime has any interest in cooperating with us in Iraq, and are more likely than not to view the Carter-Brzezinski-Hagel approach as a demonstration of American weakness.
  • Will Iraq Study Group’s Plan Work on the Battlefield?, by Michael R. Gordon. New York Times Dec. 7, 2008.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gold Star Families Travel to Iraq

The Gold Star Families Iraq Survey Group has released a new report, "A Brighter Future for Iraq," to help enhance the debate and discussions concerning the United States’ commitment to achieve success with the mission of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The authors of this report have all traveled to Iraq since the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Seven of the individuals are known as “Gold Star Families” as they have lost a son in the war effort. Two of the individuals, Gold Star Father Joe Johnson and Marine Reservist John Ubaldi, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom themselves. Additionally, group member Melanie Morgan led a delegation to Iraq in 2005 where she had the opportunity to speak with both U.S. and Iraqi military leaders.

It is not by accident that the majority of this group is comprised of men and women who lost their child in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are presenting their findings and recommendations to ensure that the United States adopts a policy in Iraq that will enhance American security that their children fought to preserve. Their children believed in the importance of the mission in Iraq, and so too do these parents.

-- Source: Move America Forward carries the report of the "Gold Star Families"

Bill Roggio on "The Military and the Media"

In nearly every conversation, the soldiers, Marines and contractors expressed they were upset with the coverage of the war in Iraq in general, and the public perception of the daily situation on the ground. The felt the media was there to sensationalize the news, and several stated some reporters were only interested in “blood and guts.” They freely admitted the obstacles in front of them in Iraq. Most recognized that while we are winning the war on the battlefield, albeit with difficulties in some areas, we are losing the information war. They felt the media had abandoned them.

During each conversation, I was left in the awkward situation of having to explain that while, yes, I am wearing a press badge, I'm not 'one of them.' I used descriptions like 'independent journalist' or 'blogger' in an attempt to separate myself from the pack.

What a terrible situation to be in, having to defend yourself because of your profession. I've always said that the hardest thing about embedding (besides leaving my family) is wearing the badge that says 'PRESS.' That hasn't changed. I hide the badge whenever I can get away with it.

-- "The Military and the Media"