Sunday, July 29, 2007

Former Reagan Assistant Defense Secretary Calls for “Immediate and Sweeping” Changes in Iraq Strategy

I do not pretend to have the knowledge or the wisdom to know what strategy we should pursue to get out of Iraq. But, I can only hope we use more care in getting out than we did in getting in. Somewhere between “cut and run” and “stay the course” there must be a solution that will avoid disaster.

While watching C-span this weekend, I was impressed by the presentation of Lawrence J. Korb testifying before a House Committee on Iraq troop deployment. Mr Korb is the Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a Senior Adviser to the Center for Defence Information. He served as Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1981 to 1985 under Ronald Reagan. For his service he was awarded the Department of Defense’s medal for Distinguished Public Service.

Mr. Korb has solid credentials as a supporter of national security and the American military and he also has been a consistent critic of the Bush Administrations decisions that led us to war in Iraq and of the conduct of the war. He says the surge strategy is not working and cannot work and Iraq’s squabbling leaders are not making progress in reaching a political accord. “The US needs a new strategy,” says Mr. Korb, “that will prevent Iraq from becoming a launching pad for international terrorist groups and a source of even greater instability in the middle east.”

He calls for withdrawing American forces from Iraq by the fall of 2008, and positioning them in neighboring countries where they could prevent Iraq sectarian violence from spreading beyond its borders. He also calls for a major diplomatic initiative to encourage Middle Eastern leaders and the UN to continue working with Iraq to peacefully settle their differences.

The recommendation of the Iraq Study Group, while valid at the time, are not a guide for the future, he says. The recommendations of the Iraq Study Group have been overtaken by events and no longer apply. He calls for an immediately halt to the training and supplying of the Iraq military forces. By arming and training the Iraqi military, we are in effect arming different side in the Iraq civil wars and we may also be arming forces that will turn their weapons on us as we began to disengage.

We need to make immediate and sweeping changes, says Mr. Korb, not further experiments and tinkering.

To read an article by Mr. Korb expressing these views, see the following link.

For more on Korb and his analysis or Iraq, the following link, links to more articles he has written on the issue.

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