Speaking of the Iraq Study Group…
… one of their number has an op-ed in the NY Times today.
As a member of the Iraq Study Group, I found that every military commander we talked to felt that the absence of national reconciliation was the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq. As one American general told us, if the Iraqi government does not make political progress on reforms, â€œall the troops in the world will not provide security.â€
Instead of dividing over the strategy on the war, the president and the Congress should make very clear to the Iraqis that there is no open-ended commitment to our involvement. As the Iraq Study Group recommended, Iraqi leaders must pay a price if they continue to fail to make good on key reforms that they have promised the Iraqi people.
In calling for a specific withdrawal date, the House and Senate versions of the supplemental spending bill send a clear message to the Iraqis (even if they do face a certain veto). The worst mistake now would be to provide money for the war without sending the Iraqis any message at all about their responsibility for reforms. Both the president and the Congress at the very least must make the Iraqi government understand that future financial and military support is going to depend on Baghdadâ€™s making substantial progress toward the milestones Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has publicly committed to.