Bicycle Diaries: What goes around comes around

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6.12.06

What goes around comes around

The situation in Iraq
is grave and deteriorating...


The United States Institute for Peace has posted The Iraq Study Group's report as a pdf file and as a web-based document. Not surprisngly, blogosphere is heating up.

And here is an alternative plan by Lt. Gen. Jay Garner. When it comes to Iraq, he has been there, done that for 15 years, so he might be worth listening to. For his part, President Bush has offered to take the ISG recommendations very seriously.

Here are are some excerpts.
Introduction
If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian catastrophe...

Our recommended course has shortcomings, but we firmly believe that it includes the best strategies and tactics to positively influence the outcome in Iraq and the region.

External Approach
The United States should immediately launch a new diplomatic offensive to build an international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region... Iraq's neighbours and key states in and outside the region should form a support group to reinforce security and national reconciliation within Iraq...

The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict and regional instability.

There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts... This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon and Palestinians (those who accept Israel's right to exist), and Syria...

The United States should provide additional political, economic, and military support for Afghanistan, including resources that might become available as combat forces are moved out of Iraq.

Internal Approach
The primary mission of US forces in Iraq should evolve to one of supporting the Iraqi army...

By the first quarter of 2008, subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq...

The United States must not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq.

Letter from Co-chairs
All options have not been exhausted. We believe it is still possible to pursue different policies that can give Iraq an opportunity for a better future...

Our report makes it clear that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people also must act to achieve a stable and hopeful future.

What we recommend in this report demands a tremendous amount of political will and co-operation by the executive and legislative branches of the US government...

Success depends on the unity of the American people in a time of political polarisation...

US foreign policy is doomed to failure - as is any course of action in Iraq - if it is not supported by a broad, sustained consensus. The aim of our report is to move our country toward such a consensus.

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