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Iraq Study Group Report Released

December 6, 2006

Please forgive this departure from the content of my regularly scheduled posts, but I felt it was of overriding importance to make note of the just released report on Iraq by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. I even created a new "National Interest"  blog category for this post, that's how important I feel this is right now.

The full report is now available for download, and the findings are refreshingly candid and unblinking -- It is an honest attempt to tell it like it is, and to not hide behind doubletalk and tired propaganda.

The key problems in Iraq, according to the report are as follows:
• The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating
• A slide toward chaos could topple Iraqi government and trigger humanitarian catastrophe
• Sectarian conflict is principal challenge to stability
• Iraqi elected government not adequately advancing national reconciliation, providing basic security or essential services

The report's key recommendations are also well considered:
• Change diplomatic and military missions
• Engage Iran and Syria to address border, insurgency and reconciliation issues
• Renew commitment to comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace and provide additional support to Afghanistan as part of regional approach
• Evolve U.S. military role to support Iraqi Army units as Iraq moves to take responsibility for security sooner
• Move all U.S. combat brigades not needed for protection out of Iraq by first quarter of 2008
• Make no open-ended commitment to Iraq to keep large numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq
• Improve Iraq's criminal justice system, oil sector, U.S. reconstruction efforts
• Implement recommendations in coordinated fashion

Now that the report is out, the real challenges are still before us -- namely, effectively implementing the recommendations above and others contained in the full report. However, I believe this is a good start to establishing a national consensus about the Iraq situation and the specific actions we as a country need to take there and elsewhere in the Middle East.

It is my hope that this will help us to take the right path that will ultimately lead to a successful conclusion of hostilities and allow us to bring our brave troops home.

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