Professor Andrew Bacevich dismisses Iraq Study Group by Mitch E. Perry11/29/06
ABC News reported last night that Pentagon officials are considering a major strategic shift in Iraq, to move U.S. forces out of the dangerous Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province and join the fight to secure Baghdad.
There are now 30,000 U.S. troops in al-Anbar, mainly Marines, braving some of the fiercest fighting in Iraq. At least 1,055 Americans have been killed in this region, making al-Anbar the deadliest province for American troops. The region is a Sunni stronghold and the main base of operations for al Qaeda in Iraq and has been a place of increasing frustration to U.S. commanders.
As dire as the situation is, officials say they expect no decisions on any change in military strategy for at least another two or three weeks, until incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates is sworn in and given a chance to weigh in on the various options under consideration Meanwhile, no word today from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, the commission led by former Treasury Secretary James Baker and former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton that has met in Washington this week.
Former Republican Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson told the Lee Newspapers that members of the group are surprised at the intense anticipation surrounding their report.
Simpson said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the expectations of our group are very seriously overrated," "Not that we're not going to do a good job, but if they think this noble group of 10 are going to solve this issue, I think people are doing a little bit of heavy breathing."
One observer who definitely doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect much from the Iraq Study Group is Andrew Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University and a former Army Colonel. In an op-ed written in yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Christian Science Monitor, Bacevich wrote that he expects their report to simply be Ã¢â‚¬Å“damage Control (roll tape#1 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?that we have createdÃ¢â‚¬?)
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Boston University Professor Andrew Bacevich, speaking to WMNF from his offices at Boston University. To read his column on the Iraq Survey Group, you can go to the website of Commondreams.org.
A Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported today that Robert M. Gates, President Bush's nominee to become the next secretary of defense, said he opposes a swift pullout from Iraq, arguing in written testimony submitted yesterday to Congress that "leaving Iraq in chaos would have dangerous consequences both in the region and globally for many years to come."