West Virginia Patriots for Peace calls for an immediate and responsible withdrawal of US troops from Iraq to end any more loss of innocent life.
Charleston, WV – The Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG) report released today confirms that its recommendations will be a political compromise out of touch with the reality on the ground in Iraq, according to West Virginia’s largest grassroots peace organization.
“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 calls for ‘gradual’ withdrawal of troops,” said Carrie Swing, president of WV Patriots for Peace. “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 to set a timetable for withdrawing troops. That withdrawal plan should begin now. The ISG recommendations would allow for a substantial number of troops to be left in Iraq for an extended period of time. That is unacceptable. Leaving permanent U.S. military bases is also unacceptable, and U.S. control of Iraqi oil is unacceptable,” added Swing. Other recommendations that would be necessary to address the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq, but missing from the Iraq Study Group report, include:
- Open negotiations with all factions on the ground 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 one idea 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,” concluded Swing. “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.”