Political Calendar Shouldn't Preempt New Iraq Ideas

Yesterday, I sent a letter to James Baker, former Secretary of State and Co-Chair of the Iraq Study Group, asking him to release the Study Group's initial recommendations on the Iraq War. Secretary Baker has repeatedly stated that the Iraq Study Group would not provide an independent assessment on the situation in Iraq until after the November midterm elections. But judging from his recent interviews, it appears that the Iraq Study Group has made some initial judgments that would be a departure from the Administration's failed policies.

Given the critical need to change course on Iraq, I am urging the Study Group to release its recommendations as soon as possible without any consideration to the political calendar. Imagine if you had a son or daughter in Iraq right now and knew that a change of course would have to wait due to politics while your child is a target in a hellish situation.

This year has seen the rapid escalation of death, suffering, and sectarian violence in Iraq that could easily devolve into a full scale civil war. Already this month, 70 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. It is clear that the Administration's continued insistence to "stay the course" with its failed policies is not a viable solution.

That is why I urge Secretary Baker to publicly release the Study Group's initial recommendations as soon as possible so that the Administration can see that the status quo is unacceptable. This could be done through an interim report or through public meetings - both of which were contemplated by the Iraq Study Group in its April letter to Congress.

Last year, the Senate voted 79-19 in favor of an amendment stating that 2006 "should be a period of significant transition" in Iraq. Let's look at the facts and take steps towards that transition. Stay the course is not a plan to success.