Independent Institute
Prelude to the Iraq Study Group
Thu Dec 7, 2006 15:35

Prelude to the Iraq Study Group

Two new op-eds from the Independent Institute size up the likely recommendations of the Iraq Study Group to be released later this week. In "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," Charles Pena, the latest addition to the Center on Peace & Liberty, examines three options: "go home," "go big," and "go long" (i.e., first increase U.S. troop levels, then scale them back). Also, Pena argues that none of these options will significantly curb the sectarian violence pulling Iraq apart.

"The proposed 'go long' troop increase is insufficient to mount a serious counterinsurgency military effort," writes Pena. "But it is more than enough to give Iraqis greater reason to chafe under the yoke of foreign occupation to fuel, rather than dissipate, the insurgency and for Muslims to increase the call for jihad to expel the infidel. The result will be to make an already ugly situation even uglier."

In "The Coming Clash Over Iraq Policy," Ivan Eland, director of the Center on Peace & Liberty,examines a range of criticism of Bush's steadfastness. They range from that of outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who recommends that we lower our expectations for Iraq, to that of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has said that if the U.S. doesn't send more troops, it would be immoral to continue to risk the lives of the troops currently stationed there. In addition, more criticism would likely come from politicians running for election in 2008.

"The Democrats are also rhetorically pressuring the president to leave," writes Eland, "but may secretly hope that he stays, thus insuring their electoral sweep in 2008. If they are smart, the Democrats will give the president just enough rope to figuratively hang himself. They will provide all the funding he wants so that he can't say that they 'lost Iraq' -- as Henry Kissinger and the Republicans did when the Democratic Congress cut off funding for the Vietnam War. But the Democrats will continue pushing to withdraw, thus highlighting an alternative to their Republican colleagues, who will be again tied to the cement overshoes of war."

"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," by Charles Pena (11/27/06)
"Lo bueno, lo malo, y lo feo"

"The Coming Clash Over Iraq Policy," by Ivan Eland (12/4/06)
"El enfrentamiento sobre la política de Irak que se viene"

THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland

"The Way Out of Iraq: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government," by Ivan Eland

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, Director)


Iraq Study Group’s Timetable for Withdrawal Inadequate
Senior Fellow Ivan Eland Available for Interviews on Iraq Study Group Report

“The Congressional Republicans and Democrats who will likely embrace the Iraq Study Group’s Report, will resemble passengers on a sinking ship clutching life preservers,” said Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in Washington, D.C.

Eland, who is also a former Investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, and Evaluator–in–Charge (national security and intelligence) for the U.S. General Accounting Office, is based out of Washington, D.C. and is available for interviews about the Iraq Study Group's Report.

“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, combat terrorism, stabilize a critical region of the world and protect America's credibility, interests and values,” stated a letter from James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.).

What are Those Policies?

“The group report blames the Iraqis for the current chaos, and is not radical enough in its course correction to have any hope of saving the rapidly deteriorating situation,” said Eland.

Given President Bush's rigid adherence to the disastrous status quo, as demonstrated by his recent comments and his attempts to marginalize the study group’s report, the report offers the safety of a sinking ship.

“Both the administration's current policy and the study group’s recommendations do not recognize that Iraq is already effectively partitioned, with many militias controlling vast areas,” said Eland, who for years has been a leading advocate of partitioning. “Both also fail to alleviate the main causes of violence in Iraq: the U.S. occupation and the fight over a centralized government, its power to oppress groups that don't control it, and the oil resources that it controls," said Eland.

“The U.S. needs to threaten to withdraw all forces from the country rapidly, thus threatening to pull out the last remaining pillar under the Shi’ite/Kurdish regime, to spur the groups to share oil or oil revenues with the Sunnis.

“Such sharing is needed to get the Sunnis to agree to decentralize Iraqi governance—either granting Iraqi groups autonomy in their regions, or partitioning the country. A decentralized Iraq will greatly diminish Sunni/Shi’ite violence, because a weak or nonexistent central government is much less likely to oppress a group or groups that don't control it.

“A U.S. withdrawal would take the fire out of the Sunni insurgency. A similar autonomy/oil–sharing agreement recently ended the bloody Sudanese civil war.”

Dr. Eland is available for interviews. Please call or e-mail:
East Coast: Callie Rucker Oettinger, 703/451-2476,
West Coast: Pat Rose, 510/632-1366,   

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