Thursday, November 30, 2006

Iraq Study Group favors conditional redeployment

The Washington Post:
The Iraq Study Group, which wrapped up eight months of deliberations yesterday, has reached a consensus and will call for a major withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, shifting the U.S. role from combat to support and advising, according to a source familiar with the deliberations.

But the recommendation includes a series of conditions and qualifications that would govern any drawdown of forces, the source said. "It describes a process by which combat brigades could be pulled out, but there wasn't a specific timetable on it," he said. The source demanded anonymity because members of the bipartisan panel have been pledged to secrecy until the report is officially issued Dec. 6.


Some people knowledgeable about the group's deliberations said it might be possible in a year or two to halve the U.S. military presence, to about 70,000 troops. Earlier reports that said that the group simply had decided to call for withdrawing combat forces from Iraq were "garbled," the source familiar with the panel's recommendations added. "It wasn't as specific as that, and it was a lot more conditional," he said. He declined to discuss those conditions.
The New York Times:
The report, unanimously approved by the 10-member panel, led by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, is to be delivered to President Bush next week. It is a compromise between distinct paths that the group has debated since March, avoiding a specific timetable, which has been opposed by Mr. Bush, but making it clear that the American troop commitment should not be open-ended. The recommendations of the group, formed at the request of members of Congress, are nonbinding.

A person who participated in the commission’s debate said that unless the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki believed that Mr. Bush was under pressure to pull back troops in the near future, “there will be zero sense of urgency to reach the political settlement that needs to be reached.”

The report recommends that Mr. Bush make it clear that he intends to start the withdrawal relatively soon, and people familiar with the debate over the final language said the implicit message was that the process should begin sometime next year.
More than a year ago, John Murtha called for a redeployment in short order, with a quick reaction force in the region and Marines over the "horizon".

Is this the right policy for right now? I ask this question because there has been a consistent inability to actually understand what is going on in Iraq. I think the Iraq Study Group's recommendations, as they seem in this latest set of reporting, would have been smart policy in late 2005.

Conditional redepolyment sounds like a compromise based on foreign policy theory and not what is actually happening in Iraq.


Blogger Praguetwin said...

I'm waiting with baited breath. Now that they have officially reached a consensous, I wonder why they aren't releasing it until the 6th.

Oh yea, Bush is in Jordan. Probably for the best.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Good post.

Let’s see how Tel-Aviv’s amen corner reacts…

Bush’s latest declarations in Amman don’t bode well for the future.

And I thought pilgrimage to the river Jordan could heal the blind and the retard!

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Conditional redepolyment sounds like a compromise based on foreign policy theory and not what is actually happening in Iraq."

Couldn't agree more. In this regard,the group seems to have its collective head wrapped more around the political implications of their decisions rather than the real world consequences. And we wondered why Vernon Jordan and Sandra Day O'Conner were part of the group.

Perhaps it is almost fortunate then that Bush appears ready to ignore their recommendations come Dec. 6. He is already preparing the public by downplaying the importance of the group, and yesterday publicly announcing that US forces would "stay in Iraq to get the job done, so long as the government wants us there." Let's not forget that he has put together his own little study group that will surely support whatever direction Bush decides to go.

The real shame is that Bush also seems poised to ignore the Group's other major recommendation: working with Iraq's neighbor's to help stabilize the country. Whether Bush likes it or not, these countries are inextricably tied to the conflict in Iraq, and as such any meaningful peace in Iraq will need to involve them. As you know Bush and Cheney are adamantly opposed to speaking with Iran and Syria, the most crucial would-be partners. (interesting to note that Cheney did favor talks with Iran back when he was running Haliburton.) Really thought the nomination of Gates demonstrated a willingness on the part of Bush to engage countries like Iran. Guess not.

By the way, really have enjoyed reading your blog. Found it linked from the Iraq Insider. cheers.

3:50 PM  

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