The co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group plan a media blitz to get the word out about their call for a “new approach” to get U.S. troops out of Iraq.
Read the report at www.usip.org/isg
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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh.); House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.); Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.); Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean; Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.); Sen. John McCain (R-Az.)
Durbin Reacts to Iraq Study Group Report
Calls for President to Begin Redeployment of American Troops in January,
[Washington, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today issued the
following statement after meeting with members of the bipartisan Iraq
Study Group (ISG). The ISG released its report following the
Congressional leadership briefing:
“The members of the Iraq Study Group have performed a great service for
our nation. Their report paints a grim assessment of the situation in
Iraq. This report states the obvious truth: We need new leadership and
a new level of candor with the Iraqis.”
“On Election Day, November 7, the American people called overwhelmingly
for change. Today, the Iraq Study Group joined their call for change and
redeployment of American soldiers out of Iraq by March, 2008. Now the
responsibility for change in Iraq moves to the Commander in Chief,
“We owe it to 140,000 American troops in Iraq and to their families to
initiate redeployment as soon as possible. It is time for our troops to
begin coming home and for the Iraqis to stand and defend their own
“I believe the clearest way to make this report a reality is
to begin redeployment of our troops out of Iraq in January, 2007.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today issued
the following statement on the Iraq Study Group (ISG) recommendations:
“The American people are understandably concerned about our mission in a
post-Saddam Iraq. There have been many tough days since Iraq’s liberation
and transition to a sovereign democracy, and there will be more ahead. But
our goal has been and must continue to be victory over Iraq’s terrorist
elements and their supporters – plain and simple. While advancing freedom
and building democracies in a part of the world that has known nothing but
tyranny is a difficult task, we have no choice but to win. We will not
accomplish victory by setting arbitrary deadlines or negotiating with
“The recommendations from the Iraq Study Group offer a constructive review
of the current situation in Iraq. There are also other ongoing reviews that
will make recommendations and provide counsel to the Administration for
moving forward. The American people rightly expect progress in Iraq, and
all of these assessments should be given the due respect and consideration
they deserve. But we must not retreat from our obligations to help
stabilize Iraq, nor should we give in to the notion that it is in our
interests to strike deals with our enemies.
“I was pleased that the ISG agreed with the President and congressional
Republicans that arbitrary deadlines or premature withdrawals would embolden
every terrorist in every corner of the world. Setting an arbitrary date for
defeat is not in the security interests of the American people. Rooting out
the terrorist elements in Iraq, and helping the Iraqis stabilize their
democracy, will be another blow to the threat posed by radical terrorism to
the U.S. and our allies around the globe.”
Pelosi Statement on Iraq Study Group Report
Washington, D.C. – Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi released the following
statement this morning on the report issued today by the Iraq Study Group:
“The bipartisan Iraq Study Group has concluded that the President’s Iraq
policy has failed and must be changed. As the November elections clearly
demonstrated, that is an assessment shared by the American people.
“Months ago, House and Senate Democratic leaders suggested to the President
that he implement one of the Study Group’s chief recommendations – to change
the primary mission of U.S. troops in Iraq from combat to training and
support, which would enable the redeployment of U.S. forces to begin. Now
that the Study Group has endorsed this proposal, I hope that the President
will recognize that he must take our policy in Iraq in a new direction.
“If the President is serious about the need for change in Iraq, he will find
Democrats ready to work with him in a bipartisan fashion to find a way to
end the war as quickly as possible. We are committed to ensuring that the
ideas of the Iraq Study Group, as well as the ideas of other thoughtful
people inside and outside of government, are given full consideration in
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REID: THE IRAQ STUDY GROUP MAKES CLEAR THE PRESIDENT MUST CHANGE COURSE
Washington, DC-Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today released
the following statement on the new report by the Iraq Study Group.
“The Iraq Study Group has done a tremendous and historic service to the
American people and to the troops serving in harm’s way in Iraq. Their
report underscores the message the American people sent one month ago:
there must be change in Iraq, and there is no time to lose. It is time
for the Iraqis to build and secure their nation, and it is time for
American combat troops to be redeployed.
“Each day the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate. Yesterday,
Defense Secretary Nominee Robert Gates said ‘we’re not winning.’ Today,
the Iraq Study Group said Iraq is ‘grave and deteriorating.’ Like the
Iraq Study Group, I urge the President to change course. He will find
Congress ready and willing to work with him. The Senate will do its part
next year and conduct strong oversight to ensure the President carries
out an effective change in policy. Our troops in Iraq, including
hundreds of Nevadans, have sacrificed so much. It is time for President
Bush to reward their effort by bringing the country together around a
new way forward.”
Bayh Statement on Baker-Hamilton Report
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Evan Bayh today released the
following statement on the Baker-Hamilton report on Iraq.
“Today’s report offers the kind of changes we need to
improve the current situation in Iraq, but the final answer rests with
President Bush and whether or not he will take the advice he’s been
offered. The Administration’s continued insistence to stay the course
has produced few results in the past three years and is weakening our
overall national security. We need to try a different approach, one
that puts pressure on the Iraqi people to make the tough decisions that
only they can make if they are to succeed. The Baker-Hamilton
Commission accomplishes this through a number of steps, including its
recommendations for troop withdrawals, which sends a concrete signal to
the Iraqis that we will not remain there indefinitely.
“This report represents a bipartisan consensus that we need to change
directions regarding Iraq. The President is changing his Secretary of
Defense, but this report now raises the most important question: is the
President willing to change his mind?”
SCHAKOWSKY RESPONDS TO IRAQ STUDY GROUP REPORT
“U.S. MUST BEGIN WITHDRAWING TROOPS FROM IRAQ NOW”
WASHINGTON, DC-U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Chief Deputy
Democratic Whip, today responded to the report issued by the Iraq Study
Group. Schakowsky, who voted against the U.S. invasion of Iraq and is a
founding member of the Congressional Out of Iraq Caucus, said, “While the
panel’s recommendations are thoughtful, the reality is our nation and our
troops cannot afford to wait until 2008 to withdraw from Iraq.”
Schakowsky’s complete statement follows:
“We all owe the members of the Iraq Study Group our gratitude for their
service to the nation. The panel has given serious thought to the situation
on the ground in Iraq and to reasonable options for the road ahead.
“Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has left the United States with no
good options in Iraq. We should not have been there in the first place, and
a way out of Iraq is more difficult to achieve because President Bush has
spent more energy and resources digging in his heels than he has spent
listening to the American people, the military experts, and Congress.
“I agree with the report’s finding that the U.S. mission in Iraq must
dramatically change. I don’t agree that our nation and our troops can
afford to wait until 2008 to withdraw. The time to begin withdrawing our
troops from Iraq has long since passed.
“As the Iraq Study Group stated, there is no path that guarantees success in
Iraq. I will work hard to help clean up the mess created by President
Bush’s refusal to acknowledge the reality on the ground in Iraq and will
always do whatever I can to support our troops and our veterans. But it
will take an acknowledgement of mistakes made, and a decision by President
Bush to finally work with the Congress and change course in Iraq if we are
to salvage anything positive from this quagmire.
“As a member of the incoming Democratic majority in the House of
Representatives, I will work to bring our troops home as soon as possible
and to support efforts that will help the Iraqis to secure their country and
rebuild their society.”
Dean On The Iraq Study Group Report
Washington, DC – Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement on the release of the report by the Iraq Study group:
“I want to thank the members of the commission for their hard work and dedication. This report is an important and good first step. In the past, President Bush and his Administration have refused to acknowledge the facts on the ground in Iraq and turned a deaf ear to the advice of our military leaders on the ground. Democrats have long been calling for many of the proposals made in this report, including a phased redeployment of our troops and placing more pressure on the Iraqi government to take responsibility for its own security. “
“This report presents yet another opportunity for President Bush to change course in Iraq. The American people have made it clear and our brave troops deserve a new direction in Iraq. As the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, I hope that with the release of this report the President will take action to change course in Iraq.”
Obama Statement on Iraq Study Group Report
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the
following statement on the Iraq Study Group report:
“The Iraq Study Group report is a critical step toward changing course
“In presenting a realistic view of how far the situation has
deteriorated, the report avoids the partisan rhetoric that has
characterized too much of this debate and offers a unique chance to
forge a bipartisan consensus about how to move forward in Iraq.
“I agree with the Study Group’s call for a significant redeployment of
U.S. forces in Iraq. As I said a few weeks ago, there are no good
options left in Iraq, but I believe a redeployment is the best way to
finally reach a political agreement between the warring factions.
“I am also pleased by their call for a regional summit that would
include both Iran and Syria, an enhanced Iraqi training program, and
their proposal to condition further assistance to progress in Iraq.
“In the coming weeks, I hope the White House will change direction in
Iraq by seriously considering the ideas put forward by the Study Group.”
SENATOR McCAIN STATEMENT ON IRAQ STUDY GROUP REPORT
Washington, DC U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today made the following statement on the release of the Iraq Study Groups final report.:
I appreciate the hard work and thought that the distinguished members of the Iraq Study Group put into their final report. There are some recommendations contained in the report that deserve serious consideration, and all Americans should heed the ISGs warning that failure in Iraq could have severe consequences — for Iraq, the United States, the region, and the world.
At the same time, however, I have some real concerns with a number of the Groups recommendations:
Arab-Israeli Peace: The report embraces the idea that peace between Arabs and Israelis which, the report states, can only be achieved through land for peace is a necessary element of success in Iraq. All of us desire peace in the region and peace between Arabs and Israelis. But it is impossible to see how such a peace can be achieved so long as Hamas, a terrorist group that rejects a two-state solution and the very existence of Israel, stands at the helm of the Palestinian Authority. We must not push our Israeli ally to make concessions to groups that refuse to recognize its right to exist.
In addition, the linkage the ISG report makes between this issue and the violence in Iraq seems tenuous at best. While I desire peace for Israel in its own right, it is difficult to see how an Arab-Israeli peace process will diminish Sunni-Shia violence in Baghdad or al Qaeda activity in Anbar Province.
Regional conference: The report recommends the establishment of a regional diplomatic conference on Iraq, to include Iran and Syria. We must be both cautious and realistic about what Iranian and Syrian participation is likely to achieve. Our interests in Iraq diverge significantly from those of Damascus and Tehran, and this is unlikely to change under the current regimes. I do not object to reasonable efforts that might modify these countries behavior in Iraq, but if the price of their cooperation is an easing of pressure on Tehran over its nuclear ambitions, or on Damascus over the Syrian role in Lebanon, then that price is too high.
Troops in Baghdad: I applaud the ISGs endorsement of a surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad. Such a step is long overdue. But the coalition should not characterize such a redeployment as short-term? or place a timetable on its presence. Our troops should be sent to Baghdad or anywhere in Iraq in order to complete a defined mission, not to serve until some predetermined date passes. By placing a limited timeframe on our military commitments, we would only induce Iraqis to side with militias that will stay indefinitely, rather than with the U.S. and Government of Iraq. Such a step would only complicate our considerable difficulties.
In addition, I agree with the reports emphasis on an internal Iraqi political settlement that can bring the various sects and groups together. But security is the necessary precondition for a political settlement, and Iraq will continue to suffer pervasive insecurity so long as there is an insufficient number of security forces on the ground. Iraq requires not only politicians willing to make difficult choices, but also clear signals that the government is the sole source of authority in the country. Only by cracking down on independent militias, reducing criminal and terrorist activity, and protecting the population and key infrastructure none of which can be accomplished without more troops can a political settlement begin to take hold.?
The Iraq Study Group is co-chaired by former Secretary of State
James A. Baker, III and former Indiana Rep. Leee H. Hamilton.
Others in the group
Lawrence S. Eagleburger, former U.S. Secretary of State; Vernon E.
Jordan, Jr., Senior Managing Director, Lazard, Freres & Co. LLC; Edwin
Meese, III, former U.S. Attorney General; Sandra Day O’Connor, former
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice; Leon E. Panetta, former White
House Chief of Staff; William J. Perry, former U.S. Secretary of
Defense; Charles S. Robb, former U.S. Senator; and Alan K. Simpson,
former U.S. Senator.
The other organizations supporting the deliberations of the Iraq Study
Group have been the Center for the Study of the Presidency (CSP),
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and James A.
Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.
Since beginning its work in March, the Iraq Study Group convened nine
plenary meetings, met with 171 individuals in and out of government,
visited Baghdad, and deliberated in a bipartisan manner on a way
forward in Iraq. The Study Group was given expert support by
specialists from academia, government, and the private sector. In all,
44 such experts, to whom we are grateful for their strong support,
participated pro bono in four working groups that focused on the
strategic environment, political development, security issues and