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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

US Peace Group Dismisses Iraq Study Group Proposals

News accounts of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG) report, to be released tomorrow, Dec. 7, confirm that its recommendations will be a political compromise out of touch with current reality in Iraq, according to a U.S. grassroots peace organization.

Made up equally of Democrats and Republicans, the ISG is headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana. It has been studying U.S. involvement in Iraq will outline alternatives to current policy.

"The civil war in Iraq is spiraling out of control and it's unclear whether the government of Prime Minister al Maliki can survive, yet the report will call for 'gradual' withdrawal of troops," says Kevin Martin, executive director of Peace Action. "It's no time for gradual anything. We need bold and creative actions to dramatically change the dynamic in Iraq, not tepid recommendations for political consumption at home."

"The first necessary step is an immediate cease-fire and an announcement that the U.S. will be withdrawing its troops, on a timetable, and that we have no plans to leave behind military bases or to control Iraqi oil," adds Martin, "but by all accounts this will be noticeably absent from the recommendations."

Peace Action says that other recommendations that would be necessary to address the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq, but will likely be missing from the Iraq Study Group report, include:

-- Open negotiations with all factions in Iraq to end the violence.
-- Redirection of funds being spent on the occupation toward an orderly withdrawal of troops.
-- Prohibition of any new funds from being spent on any new troop deployment.
-- Full funding for an Iraqi-led reconstruction of Iraq.

There is reportedly one idea forthcoming from the ISG that the peace movement can stand behind: the recommendation for direct negotiations with Iraq's neighbors, including Syria and Iran.

"It is long past time for the U.S. to build peace and security through international dialogue and cooperation," concludes Martin. "And it would be helpful if the ISG also called for the UN, Arab League or other international bodies to assist with negotiations, since the Bush Administration has proven itself neither adept at nor particularly interested in diplomacy during its six years in office."

Peace Action calls itself the nation's largest grassroots peace organization with over 100,000 members. Peace Action works for the abolition of nuclear weapons, a foreign policy that promotes human rights and democracy, and federal spending priorities that support human needs in the United States.


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