Thursday, December 07, 2006

McCain Reaction to the Iraq Study Group

John McCain has released his statement concerning the findings of the Iraq Study group. It looks like he has a few disagreements with the fine blue ribbon panel. From his release:

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 ISG’s 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 report’s 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.”

Not a lot to argue about with any of those points. I have never been a fan of these panels and the rush to "enact all recommendations" is just silly on its face as neither I or anybody else voted for these people. They should be taken as a possible source or recommendation rather than the almighty pronouncement of the Oracle. Obviously I have not been able to read and digest the entire thing, but my initial objections mirrored what McCain has listed here.

1 comment:

Bruce P. Murchison said...

McCain is trying to get on my good side. I applaud his reaction to the panel. His staunch support of Israel helps me overlook some of his shortcomings...some.