WASHINGTON -- Without significant policy changes made by the Iraqi and U.S. governments, the transition of Iraq to a stable democracy faces increased risk of failure, according to a new report issued by Veterans for Common Sense, a nonpartisan veterans' organization with over 12,000 members who have served in every U.S. conflict since 1941.
"Progress has been made, but we are deeply concerned about the risk of escalation and civil war in Iraq," said Charles Sheehan-Miles, executive director of the group and primary author of the report.
The report, which examines known information about key insurgent groups in Iraq, criticizes U.S. strategy for placing too little emphasis on protection of the Iraqi public, saying, "In particular, the Iraqi public justifiably believes that the emphasis of U.S. forces is more on capturing and killing insurgents than on protecting the public. Consequently, despite having captured or killed some 15,000 insurgents in the last year, the number of insurgents has grown rather than diminished."
The report makes several recommendations to the U.S. and Iraqi governments, including:
* Making public a timetable for accomplishing the mission in Iraq
* Increasing funding and support for routine law enforcement and the Iraqi judiciary
* Brokering talks between the Iraqi government and homegrown, nationalist insurgent groups
* Avoiding the use of sectarian militias in security or counterinsurgency roles.
The report is available on the organization's website at http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org
About Veterans for Common Sense
Veterans for Common Sense is a non-partisan, centrist veterans' organization focused on issues of national security, veterans' benefits, civil liberties and human rights, and U.S. energy independence. Its 12,000 members have served in every U.S. conflict since 1941.
Interviews are available with the following individuals to discuss the ongoing insurgency in Iraq:
Charles Sheehan-Miles, Executive Director, Veterans for Common Sense, primary author of the report, served in the 1991 Gulf War and was the founding director of the National Gulf War Resource Center in 1995.
Erik K. Gustafson, Executive Director, Education for Peace in Iraq Center, served in the 1991 Gulf War and is founded EPIC, an organization working for human rights in Iraq since 1998.
Colonel Richard Klass USAF (Ret.), former White House Fellow, Rhodes Scholar and former instructor, National War College, decorated with Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and 11 Air medals.