Iraq Study Group Details
Dec. 6, 2006 — -- The United States "must not make open-ended commitments to keep large numbers of troops deployed in Iraq." That's the recommendation of the Iraq Study Group, which is set to release its eagerly awaited report today, ABC News has learned.
"The Way Forward: A New Approach" is the title of the group's 142-page report.
Among the report's 79 recommendations is a change in the central mission of U.S. troops in Iraq and a renewed diplomatic effort in the Middle East.
"The primary mission of U.S. forces should evolve to one of supporting the Iraqi army," the report reads. "It's clear [the] Iraqi government will need U.S. assistance for some time to come, especially in carrying out new security responsibilities. Yet the United States must not make open-ended commitments to keep large numbers of troops deployed in Iraq."
"The most important questions about Iraq's future are now the responsibility of Iraqis," the report says. "The United States must adjust its role to encourage the Iraqi people to take control."
The report recommends an initial increase in the number of U.S. troops dedicated to training and supporting the Iraqi security forces, but calls for the gradual withdrawal of all other U.S. forces.
All U.S. troops not involved in this training and support mission, the report says, could leave Iraq by "the first quarter of 2008."
The bipartisan commission is co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton.
The five Democrats and five Republicans on the commission unanimously approved "every word" of the report, according to one of the commissioners.
"What we recommend demands a tremendous amount of political will and cooperation between executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government," the report says. "Foreign policy is doomed to failure -- as is any action in Iraq -- if not supported by broad sustained consensus. The aim of our report is to move our country towards such a consensus."