Inhofe: Nothing New in Baker Group’s Report

Daily News Article   —   Posted on December 7, 2006

(by Nathan Burchfiel, – U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Wednesday criticized the Iraq Study Group for failing to provide new ideas to address problems in the Iraq War.

“While I largely agree with the Iraq Study Group’s broad assessments of the problems facing U.S. policy in Iraq, I disagree with some of their suggested solutions,” Inhofe said in a statement. “Additionally, many of the specific ‘fixes’ they propose are neither new nor innovative.”

In its report released Wednesday, the 10-person, bipartisan, congressionally-appointed committee called the situation in Iraq “grave and deteriorating” and warns that “there is no path that can guarantee success.”

Among the group’s 79 recommendations for improving the situation in Iraq are engaging in diplomatic talks with Iraq’s neighbors, Iran and Syria; changing the primary mission of U.S. forces from combat to training; and planning to begin removing American troops from the region by early 2008.

Inhofe said he has “long stated” the panel’s conclusion that a quick removal of troops would destabilize the region further. He also criticized Congressional Democrats who support an immediate withdrawal.

While he said many of the Iraq Study Group’s suggestions were good, Inhofe said diplomatic talks with Iran and Syria are “not acceptable and will ultimately only serve to weaken the national security of the United States.”

“I think it is naive to suggest that Iran would work with the U.S. to stabilize Iraq without demanding concessions that are dangerous to our national security,” Inhofe said. “I find it hard to believe that Iran would support a democratically elected Iraq since they are now trying to overthrow a democratically elected Lebanon.”

Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called on President Bush and his colleagues in Congress to “set the conditions for success in Iraq, provide our military leaders everything they say they need to succeed, and demand that our military leaders deliver that success.”

Many Democrats, including incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have praised the ISG report as proof that Bush’s policies in Iraq have failed. Conservatives, however, have criticized the committee for being out of touch or “mistaken.”

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