The Washington Post reports the findings of the Iraq Study Group:
Circumstances in Iraq are “grave and deteriorating,” with a potential government collapse and a “humanitarian catastrophe” if the U.S. does not change course and seek a broader diplomatic solution to the problems that have wracked the country since the U.S. invaded, according to a bipartisan panel that sent its findings to President Bush and Congress today.
In what amounts to the most extensive independent assessment of the nearly four-year-old conflict that has claimed the lives of 2,800 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis, the Iraq Study Group painted a bleak picture of a nation that risks a “slide toward chaos” without new efforts to reconcile its feuding religious and ethnic minorities.
Despite a laundry list of recommendations meant to encourage regional diplomacy and lead to a draw down of U.S. forces over the next year, the panel acknowledged that stability in the country may be impossible to achieve any time soon.
The Heritage Foundation published this article in response to the ISG’s findings. In it, Dr. James Carafano and James Phillips discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of the ISG findings. Below is a snippet from the introduction of the article (which is worth a read).
The ISG report does clarify some of the ugly dilemmas intrinsic to Iraq and will provide a useful reference point for the ongoing policy debate on Iraq. Its recommendations comprise a sensible and realistic way forward in Iraq, with one major exception: Drawing Syria and Iran into efforts to stabilize Iraq would accomplish little at great expense or even backfire, undermining stability. The ISG’s broad approach of reducing U.S. forces’ combat role while increasing their role training Iraqi troops and police would put U.S. resources where they can do the most good as Iraq’s government tackles the difficult political issues behind the country’s current violence. Conversely, as the ISG finds, an abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces would lead to strategic, moral, and humanitarian disaster.