OAKLAND, CALIF. - Ivan Eland, senior fellow for foreign policy at the Independent Institute and director of the Institutes Center on Peace and Liberty, issued the following statement today regarding President Bushs speech at the Army War College:
George W. Bushs May 24th speech on Iraq at the Army War College was designed to show that the president has a definite plan for Iraqs future. But the lack of details provided about the imminent transfer of full sovereignty to the Iraqis indicates quite the opposite and that the word full should be changed to minimal. The only new detail provided was the symbolic fluff of pledging to destroy the Abu Ghraib prison, which will do little to repair the monumental damage to the coalition war effort by U.S. torture perpetrated there. Like a deer caught in the headlights, the Bush administration is paralyzed in the face of imminent danger. In the face of growing Iraqi hostility toward the U.S. occupation and eroding popularity of the war and president at home, Bushs speech indicates that he will merely try to muddle through. On the ground, the Bush administration has given up the risky goal of disarming the numerous Iraqi militias and is now attempting to co-opt them in order to hold down U.S. casualties until the U.S. presidential election. In a unified Iraq, this strategy is recipe for eventual civil war. Instead the president needs a bold plan of genuine Iraqi self-determination--what would probably amount to a loose confederation of Iraqi ethnic/religious groups or even three or more independent statesand withdrawal of U.S. forces.