Wednesday, December 06, 2006
What Would Bush Do?
The Iraq Study Group (ISG)
Despite the growing opposition to continuing our military presence in Iraq, the president keeps talking about no withdrawal until a victory. Perhaps only he knows what that "victory" means. A few days before he resigned, a leaked memo from former Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted failure of the Bush Administration's policy and Robert Gates, whose appointment as defense secretary was confirmed yesterday, made no bones about it.
Ultimately, the president will not be able to maintain his position about a victory. But he is living up to his record. He was wrong to begin the war; he is wrong about when and how to end it. Like Nero, who fiddled while Rome was burning, Bush keeps on singing the same old song.
Excerpts from The Washington Post:
Iraq Panel Warns of Looming 'Catastrophe'
Circumstances in Iraq are "grave and deteriorating," with a potential government collapse and a "humanitarian catastrophe" if the U.S. does not change course and seek a broader diplomatic solution to the problems that have wracked the country since the U.S. invaded, according to a bipartisan panel that sent its findings to President Bush and Congress today.
In what amounts to the most extensive independent assessment of the nearly four-year-old conflict that has claimed the lives of 2,800 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis, the Iraq Study Group painted a bleak picture of a nation that risks a "slide toward chaos" without new efforts to reconcile its feuding religious and ethnic minorities.Despite a laundry list of recommendations meant to encourage regional diplomacy and lead to a draw down of U.S. forces over the next year, the panel acknowledged that stability in the country may be impossible to achieve any time soon.
Two days before he resigned from the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sent to the White House a classified memo recommending "a major adjustment" in Iraq strategy and acknowledging slow progress there.
"Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough," Rumsfeld wrote in the Nov. 6 memo.
Robert M. Gates was unanimously approved by a Senate committee yesterday to become President Bush's new defense secretary, after a day-long confirmation hearing in which he bluntly stated that the United States is not winning the war in Iraq.
Gates also told the panel that "it's too soon to tell" whether the Bush administration made the right decision in launching the invasion in March 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein.
In confirmation hearings that left both Democrats and Republicans praising his candor, Gates warned that the war risks provoking a "regional conflagration" in the Middle East unless a new strategy can arrest Iraq's slide toward chaos