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Four Courses of Action Condemned by Iraq War Study Group

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Updated December 07, 2006
The Iraq War Study Group (IWSG) issued its 142-page final report, "The Way Forward: A New Approach," on December 6, 2006.

In its Report, the IWSG thoughtfully crafted 79 sequential recommendations for U.S. forces in Iraq to "evolve to one of supporting the Iraqi army," and to withdraw U.S. troops not involved with Iraq security by 2008.

After in-depth study and for reasons outlined in their Report, the distinguished, bipartisan IWSG firmly ruled out 4 courses of U.S. action for the Iraq War:

1. Staying the present course - President Bush has long promulgated that the U.S. will eventually "win" if it just sticks with the Bush plan, no matter how long it takes or how much death and annihilation it causes.

Commented James A. Baker III, co-chairman of the IWSG, "We do not recommend a stay-the-course solution; in our opinion, that approach is no longer viable."

2. Immediate full withdrawal - On November 17, 2005, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) created a White House furor when he demanded that the U.S.:

* Immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces...
* Create a quick reaction force in the region
* Create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines
* Diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

The IWSG concluded that a "premature American departure from Iraq would almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence... and could eventually require the United States to return."

3. More troops for Iraq - Republican 2008 presidential contender Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) believes that the answer to squelch the civil war in Iraq is "Another 20,000 troops in Iraq, but that means expanding the Army and the Marine Corps."

The IWSG observed that "Sustained increases in U.S. troop levels would not solve the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq."

4. Dividing Iraq into 3 separate ethnic regions - In a May 1, 2006 New York Times op-ed, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), incoming Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged that Iraq be divided into 3 separate regions, Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni, with a central government in Baghdad.

Wrote Sen. Biden, "Decentralization is hardly as radical as it may seem: the Iraqi Constitution, in fact, already provides for a federal structure and a procedure for provinces to combine into regional governments."

The IWSG disagrees, writing in its Report that "The costs associated with devolving Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions with loose central control would be too high."

IWSG Final Report Recommendation

The Iraq War Study Group Report summarizes, "...the primary mission of U.S. troops should evolve to one of supporting the Iraqi army.

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 United States must not make open-ended commitments to keep large numbers of troops deployed in Iraq."

And the IWSG's distinguished 10 members... 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats... unanimously approved "every word" of its Report, which strongly recommends that most U.S. troops leave Iraq by 2008.

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