"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. Violence is increasing in scope and lethality.
Attacks on U.S. forces and U.S. casualties continue at an alarming rate.
The Iraqi people are suffering great hardship. The democratically elected government that replaced Saddam Hussein is not adequately advancing the key issues of national reconciliation, providing basic security or delivering essential services. Economic development is hampered.
The current approach is not working, and the ability of the United States to influence events is diminishing.
The United States has committed staggering resources. Our country has lost almost 2,900 Americans. Twenty-one thousand more have been wounded.
The United States has spent an estimated $400 billion in Iraq, and costs could rise well over a trillion dollars.
Many Americans are understandably dissatisfied. Our ship of state has hit rough waters. It must now chart a new way forward.
No course of action in Iraq is guaranteed to stop a slide toward chaos, yet in our view, not all options have been exhausted. We agree with the goal of U.S. policy in Iraq set forth by President Bush - an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself. We recommend a new approach to pursue that goal. We recommend a responsible transition.
Our three most important recommendations are equally important and reinforce one another. First, a change in the primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq that will enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly. Two, prompt action by the Iraqi government to achieve milestones, particularly on national reconciliation. And three, a new and enhanced diplomatic and political efforts [sic] in Iraq and in the region...."
I'll be posting in the next day or so about the ISG report, options for Iraq (and the middle east, and the "war on terror"), the survival of American power, and I don't know what-all yet, in my usual idiosyncratic style...but to provide some context for those of you who care, I thought I'd start by linking the following.
Complete transcript of yesterday's ISG press conference:
Download the ISG report itself (large pdf file):
This is historic stuff, folks. The press conference gives more than enough introduction for those curious enough to skim it; I haven't read the report itself yet (having ordered a hard copy from Schmamazon, 'cause I hate to read online).
Anyway, nowyaknow, and seeya soon! :)
93 93/93 -- AJ