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Old 07-27-2007, 12:26 AM   #1
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Default Understand IRAQ: The ISG Report

Finally, I got around to pouring over the “Iraq Study Group Report” over the last couple days and broke it down piece by piece (as a senior political science student I’m embarrassed to say I only just now got to it—as my general focus tends to be US-Asian relations). I must say, I’ve never been so impressed by such a short document. The IRG lays out, very clearly, a assessment of the current situation and an intelligent roadmap for a better Iraq, a more stabile Middle East and improved relations with the U.S. and the international community.

Not surprisingly, not only did the Bush Administration ignore the report—but they went against the recommendation entirely by supporting an unsustainable troop surge. The Republican lemmings running for the presidency, of course, supported the surge without question---and the Democrats maintained their short-sighted “hasty withdrawal” plan to appease fed-up constituents (which, despite praise from certain candidates is what I see as more likely). Finally a plan for a stable Iraq outside of “staying the course”, and it falls on deaf ears. Granted, while the President was forced to tone down his simplified, fiercely optimistic rhetoric—his actions are just as careless.

I’ve found that most people aren't aware of the fact that the Iraqis are fighting each other more than they’re attacking our troops. The Sunni-Shia wedge is growing, the Kurds in the north want further isolation, and the leaders are becoming less and less interested in “Iraq”, and more interested in their sectarian identities. The report is quite clear on the fact that the country needs nationalism, it needs a unified reconciliation. Before we blew the head off the shake, nobody in the Bush administration thought to think about the fact that Saddam Hussein was the undesirable glue holding those pieces together. We dissolved the Republican Army and sent jobless soldiers home with their weapons in droves, and then supported a “De-Baathification” campaign that ultimately removed a third of the population from the democratic table.

Do yourself a favor and read the Iraq Study Report. Do you know what I want in 2008? A candidate ready to listen to these recommendations, to use diplomacy, gather international support and slowly bring our troops home in a way that doesn’t send Iraq and the region into utter chaos.

Unfortunately, it’s more likely that warnings of the ISG Report for doing the wrong thing will be what comes of this. Iraq will crumble into civil war and Iran will be more powerful as a result. If only we could have seen Greg Stillson before we elected him.
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Understand IRAQ: The ISG Report

This strikes me as a report that will most likely be published in no more than 20 years. Not knowing enough about political science, or even about general world issues, I think I'd be lost on it right now. I like your synopsis though.

> the leaders are becoming less and less interested in “Iraq”, and more
> interested in their sectarian identities. ... Saddam Hussein was the
> undesirable glue holding those pieces together.

I think that I agree with you here, even though I don't know that much about the situation. It seems to me that without this one dictator looking over everything, the smaller sects are more free to make decisions on their own, and, almost naturally, they would not agree with each other.

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