This historic 2006 document analyzes and makes recommendations for United States foreign policy in Iraq. Published in the midst of the "grave and deteriorating" war that America was waging in the Middle East, The Iraq Study Report aimed to "bring a responsible conclusion" to that Bush-era conflict. The success of this audiobook can be attributed both to its bipartisan authors, who aimed to reach world leaders as well as a general audience, and to the exceedingly accessible voice of Stow Lovejoy. Lovejoy brings an amiable, upbeat tone to content that often sounds catastrophic. One could say that as far as politics is concerned, his performance embodies the old idiom "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar".
After nine months of examining and analyzing U.S. military involvement in Iraq, the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group issued this report on Dec. 6, 2006.
The report calls the situation in Iraq "grave and deteriorating" and says, "There is no path that can guarantee success, but the prospects can be improved". The report makes a wide-ranging series of 79 recommendations for political, diplomatic, economic, and military action so the U.S. can "begin to move its combat forces" out of Iraq.
The co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group were James A. Baker III, who served Pres. Reagan as Secretary of the Treasury and White House Chief of Staff, and Pres. George H.W. Bush as Secretary of State; and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat who served in Congress for 34 years.
Democratic members of the Study Group included former Secretary of Defense William Perry; former Governor and Senator Charles S. Robb; former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta; and Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., advisor to Pres. Clinton. Republican members included former Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court Sandra Day O'Connor; former Sen. Alan K. Simpson; former Attorney General Edwin Meese III; and former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger. (Former CIA Director Robert Gates was an active member for a period of months until his nomination as Secretary of Defense.)
Four organizations participated in preparing the report: United States Institute of Peace; James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University; Center for the Study of the Presidency; and Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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"Sound advice, but too much"
The Iraq study group report offers much good advice on how to address the problems currently plaguing the reconsruction effort. Seventy-nine recommendations, however, are simply too many to consider. It is highly unlikely that either the United States or the Iraqi government has the necessary resources to implement all of these recommendations. As mentioned in the report there should be honest and open discussion of the budgetary requirements involved in rebuilding Iraq on the part of the United States. Also, the United States should engage other Middle Eastern countries more directly in soliciting help for rebuiliding Iraq. Countries like Iran should be given the opportunity to deny the U.S. request, if only for the purpose of reducing their own standing in the global community. Lastly, the United States must work to rebuild the military and repair the damage done to the relationship between civilian leaders and the military in the United States.
Bottomline: This report is worth consideration and offers a good starting point for further discussion.
Well informed and practical solutions. Too bad that Bush is not smart enough to implement it and that Iraqis are not civilized enough to adopt it and make their lives better.
Audible does the public a notable service in making these major public hearings and events (the political conventions, 9/11 hearings, Supreme Court arguments, and now the Iraq Study Group Report) available for free download. It is unfortunate that the government should invest so much time, resources, and work hours into creating objective reports like this one, only to ignore or abandon the findings when they challenge the political worldview of the party in power. But thanks, Audible, for allowing me to refresh my memory on these important public records whenever I find myself wondering what could have been.
"Between facts and beliefs"
Many have oppinions about the war on terror and Iraq. Most of them are wrong because are uniformed. Listening this audio report brought me facts that changed the way I see the war on Iraq. Unfortunately, I do not believe in a happy ending in Iraq. There is nothing to hold that people into a nation. There is too much to split them and not enough to bind them.
"Required reading for every American taxpayer"
This should be required reading for everyone paying taxes in the US. This is a bipartisan (read: both sides of the House) report from the United States Institute of Peace, which touts itself as "an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established and funded by Congress". Their website shows the main authors as a bunch of ex-government bigwigs split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats.
Warning: the report is depressing. Basically the situation in Iraq is bad, getting worse, and unlikely to get better. 1996 was the worst year yet.
We can't go a day without news from Iraq but this report brings out certain facts that the media never mentions, such as: ten times as many Iraqi civilians die each month compared to US soldiers, and the incidents of violence are many times more than are reported because if they can't be attributed to a known group or don't involve an American, they aren't counted. And there is the sticker shock -- the US is spending 2 billion dollars per week in Iraq, and war funding bypasses all the normal Congressional budget reviews and approvals. The Iraq war could end up costing American taxpayers 2 trillion dollars (!!).
Interestingly, the report recommends against increased troop deployment because it will make the American presence feel more like an occupation, and increase tension in the region. Yet this is exactly what President Bush is pushing for right now.
The first half of the report depicts the current situation and was the more interesting to me. The second half are recommendations which hopefully someone in the government is reading.
Typical drivel from our politicians who time and again fail to understand the world does not always conform to our American ideals. Every suggestion has been tried in some form or fashion, or is simply unrealistic given the current state of our foreign affairs.
Our government is supposed to force the Iraqis to do all they recommend. Exactly how? Threaten to withhold military and financial support - just what the insurgency is hoping for? Oh, but early on, the authors strongly advise withholding military support (troop withdrawal) because the ensuing Muslim sectarian war could go regional and maybe even global. So I guess we're to show a big stick (threaten withdrawal), but don't even think about using it. And for good measure, tell them our strategy by publishing this report. Simply brilliant as the Guiness guys would say.
It only gets a second star because it does contain several bits of interesting factual information I had not previously seen reported.
I would have figured that we pay these people to come up with viable solutions to the issues in Iraq. Apparently I was wrong. I do not think that that we should be the ones getting severly drunk just to listen to this but I think it would help. It is almost laughable to think that these people are running our government.
It is however interesting to listen to just for the information that we as American Citizens do not know, such as that the only deaths we know about on a daily basis are the ones involving "Americans" and that there are substantially more involving Iraqis.
It is very important for every one to listen to this, suport it or not. It is very boring to listen to and very pittiful to believe that thee people are gaining power in our government, but you can not just leave this one unread or listened too.
"The Establishment Speaks"
I expected shallow, conventional analysis from shallow, conventional pillars of the establishment. Alas, I was not surprised. The genre of this work is fantasy.
Recommendation No. 7,374, 898, 224:
Get good and zonked before you listen to this. You will probably find it hilarious. I listened to it straight and laughed out loud several times. It may have a future as a classic of unintentional humor.
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