I read the Iraq Study Group Report this morning. Gotta love the job search hurry up and wait process!
The report was a scalding indictment of the failings of the Bush Adminsitration. While the President and GOPers alike, continue to stress the importance of fighting Al-Quaida, the report clearly states the vast majority of violence in Iraq is sectarian in nature, not insurgent related. It estimated Al-Quaida's stregnth in Iraq at 1,300. Unfortunately, 1,300 more than pre-invasion.
Diplomacy is a key aspect of the report. Diplomacy is the key area of failure for the Bush Adminstration, and it has nothing to do with the abilities of Secretary of State Rice. Almost 3 years after the "Mission Accomplished" skit, the stability of Iraq is in an even worse state. Sectarian violence has risen.
More important though, is the stability of the Middle East. It's important for more than its natual resources though.
This morning, President Bush gave a passionate speech about Iran, and the possibility that Iran could have a nuclear weapon soon. Sound familiar?
Stability is key. Engaging Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Iran in these discussions is vital. Shunning some of these nations from time to time and threatening possible military action in these areas does nothing.
"The Iraqi Government cannot succeed in governing, defending, and sustaining itself by relying on the US military and economic support alone. Broader international support is needed."
They call for the use of a support group. Perhaps they will use the disdain for American imperialist foreign policy as their crutch.
"Hi everyone, I'm Iran and I am sick of the neo-colonial exploits of the United States."
Hi Iran, so am I.
"Internal Approach" measures include:
The President stating that the United States does not seek permanent bases in Iraq but would do so at the request of the Iraqi government, just as it would for any other nation state.
The President states that we (he) do not seek control of Iraq's oil.
Recommendation 26 bugs the hell out of me. "Constitutional review". What? It was approved on October 15, 2005. Furthermore, the Iraqi government created a committee to review it in September of 2006. I know the need to constantly review processes and attempt to make thngs better, but the Constitution is a governing document. It defines a nation, provides identity.
"The Army is considering breaking its compact with National Guard and Reserve that limits the number of years these citizen soliders can be deployed." Of course they are. They are running out of Active Duty units to send over there again...and again...and again. The long term implications on our National Guard and reserves will be significant.
Keep in mind that just yesterday, we learned that 600 Minnesota National Guard members will go to Afghanistan. A sense of urgency is even greater.
These recommendations are just that. Troubling for me is the audacity that we, our government and these so called experts, seem to know more about how to help the Iraqi people than the Iraqi people. Our President created the majority of this mess in Iraq. It's clear on a global level. The denial is also clear, as the Iran rhetoric used by the President this morning shows.
Solution? Gradual re-deployment, no US Troops in Iraq after 2007, create a sense of urgency in the Iraqi government to prepare for the future in collaboration with other Arab nations assisting in regional stability. Complex? Oh yeah.
Some pundits ask "Do you want your son or daughter to be the last one killed in Iraq?"
They discount Vietnam references and utilize them when they can make their argument more personal, not stronger.
I just want my friends to come back from Iraq safe...