A rough week for the Bush Administration
Last week John Bolton, US Ambassador to the UN, appointed initially by the president during a congressional recess, was forced to step down because the current Congress has repeatedly refused to confirm the undiplomatic and overly aggressive man to the position. During the confirmation hearings for the new Secretary of Defense the White House encountered a very different problem: Robert Gates acknowledged that we aren’t ‘winning’ in Iraq. You can read some of what he said about Iraq here, but it seems he will be taking a very different approach to Iraq than Rumsfeld.
Then, yesterday, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group released its findings from 9 months of study. The report, while bleak on the situation in Iraq, does not offer the radical change in policy needed to stop the violence. One of the key recommendations made by the Iraq Study Group, to involve Iran and Syria in talks to help stabilize Iraq, has already been ruled out by Bush.
The rest of the report is really too little too late, its seems as if Group wanted to gently break the news to George Bush that we are not winning in Iraq and the same tactics will not change the outcome; though they prescribe exactly that. The report is a bipartisan compromise, which relies on the political will to enact it, but this compromise can’t undo what has been done and has little sense of urgency when it comes to the cost of human lives that are lost each day because of this war. It recommends a gradual withdraw of U.S. troops as the Iraqis ‘stand up,’ which our presence actually prevents, with no solid timelines or practical goals; basically it means ‘stay the course’ until we get it right. You can read some reactions from different parts of the peace movement here. What we really need now is radically different action to end this war – withdraw U.S. troops, stop undermining the Iraqi Government and allow the Iraqi people to rebuild their country and create peace. We can’t force peace in Iraq, but we can stop being the catalyst for violence.
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