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Presentations at February 8, 2006 Forum

VICTORY STRATEGY -- JIM PRUSINOWSKI AND GEORGE BAILEY

These are the presidents conditions for withdrawal. The
administration's policy is a conditions based "Victory Strategy."
Their goal is to "win the war," and, under this strategy, the troops
will be withdrawn when the war is won.

The Administration defines Victory in Iraq, in the long term, as the
existence of:

1. An Iraq that has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the
insurgency.

2. An Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic and secure,
where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern
themselves justly and provide security for their country.

3. An Iraq that is a partner in the global war on terror and the fight
against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, integrated
into the international community, an engine for regional economic
growth and providing the fruits of democratic governance to the region.

The administration defines the enemy as consisting of three groups:

1. The Rejectionists: The largest group, rejectionists are Sunni
Arabs who have not embraced the shift from Saddam Hussein's Iraq to a
democratically governed state.

2. Saddamists and former regime loyalists who harbor dreams of
re-establishing a Baathist dictatorship and have played a lead role in
fomenting wider sentiment against the Iraqi government and the
coalition.

3. Terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida, who make up
the smallest group but are the most lethal and pose the most immediate threat.

The Administration's Strategy for Victory involves three integrated
tracks:

1. THE POLITICAL TRACK:

Its objective is To help the Iraqi people forge a broadly supported
national compact for democratic government, thereby isolating enemy
elements from the broader public.

To achieve this objective, the administration is helping the Iraqi
government to:

Isolate hardened enemy elements from those who can be won over to a
peaceful political process by countering false propoganda and
demonstrating to the Iraqi people that they have a stake in a viable
democratic Iraq.

Engage those outside the political process and invite in those
willing to turn away from violence through ever-expanding avenues of
peaceful participation.

Build stable, pluralistic and effective national institutions that
can protect the interests of all Iraqis and fascilitate Iraq's full
integration into the international community.


2. THE SECURITY TRACK:

Its objective is To help the Iraqis' capacity to secure their country
while carrying out a campaign to defeat the terrorists and neutralize
the insurgency.

To achieve this objective, the administration is helping the Iraqi
government to:

Clear areas of enemy control by remaining on the offensive, killing
and capturing enemy fighters and denying them safe-haven.

Hold areas freed from enemy control by ensuring that they remain
under the control of a peaceful Iraqi government with an adequate
security force presence.

Build Iraqi security forces and the capacity of local institutions
to deliver services, advance the rule of law and nurture civil society.

Economic Track:

The third element of the President's Plan for victory is the economic track. Victory, in the President's Plan, requires a sound Iraqi economy with the capacity to deliver essential services and overcome the neglect and lack of entrepreneurship of the Saddam Hussein era. The Plan expects confidence in the economy to respond to good governance and transparency, and to the establishment of a stable and reliable economic infrastructure, including a stable banking sector and electric power system and a stable and reliable oil industry and stock market.

Victory in the President's Plan, is also dependent on the influx of substantial foreign investment in Iraq to help rebuild the country's infrastructure. It is assumed that once the infrastructure is built, Iraqi entrepreneurs will themselves invest and provide employment and stimulate further confidence and economic opportunities. The President's Victory Plan also requires reforms of the Saddam era laws and regulations to encourage needed foreign investment.

The President's Plan holds that once Iraq has become a participating member of the international economic community, its stability will resonate with other nations in the region, and victory on the economic front will have been achieved.

To Summarize:

The President's Victory Plan calls for the United States to assist in assuring that Iraqis have a brighter future than the past. Each of the three tracks is expected to work in tandem with the other two. As one track strengthens, the others will strengthen. As stability is achieved in the political, security and economic tracks, the Iraqis are expected to cooperate with the government to help isolate, reduce and eventually eliminate the insurgents, terrorists and Ba'athists.

On the economic front, the President's Plan holds that as the economy strengthens, people will become more financially independent and less friendly to the insurgents, further reducing the insurgents' base of support.

Achievement of Victory under the President's Plan will not be achieved in a specific time frame because it cannot be determined before hand when each element of the plan -- military, political and economic -- will be accomplished. The President's Plan observes that no war has ever been won on a set time line but it argues that a faster victory will be achieved in the military, political and economic tracks, if more effort is applied.

The President's Victory Plan received an endorsement from the House of Representatives, through the Hyde Resolution, which was passed on December 16, 2005. The Resolution says that House is committed to achieving Victory in Iraq. The vote was 279 to 109 with 34 voting "Present."

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FASTER TRANSITION -- WARNER AMENDMENT -- ANDY GYORY

Warner Amendment, Passed by the Senate, Nov. 15, 2005

Shortly after Representative John Murtha called for an immediate and total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq last fall, the U.S. Senate briefly debated the nation's war strategy. This debate took place on November 14 in the context of two amendments proposed to the National Defense Authorization Act: one by Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia, known as the Warner Amendment, and one by Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, known as the Levin Amendment. Despite their differences, both amendments essentially sought a middle ground between the Bush administration's "stay the course" approach and Representative Murtha's "bring the troops home now" approach.

The Warner Amendment -- which ultimately passed -- stated that during the year 2006 there "should be a significant transition [from U.S. authority] to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead . . . thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of U.S. forces." The Warner Amendment called for Iraqi political leaders to hammer out compromises to create an effective government that could defeat the insurgency. It also called for a schedule for meeting such conditions, on which the U.S. would base its troop withdrawals. Finally, the Warner Amendment called for the President to submit reports to Congress every 90 days on the progress of U.S. policy and military operations in Iraq.

The Levin Amendment largely reiterated the main points of the Warner Amendment, but with a few exceptions. Whereas the Warner Amendment stated that U.S. troops "should not stay in Iraq any longer than required," the Levin Amendment stated that U.S. troops "should not stay in Iraq indefinitely." The Levin Amendment also called on the President to submit reports to Congress more frequently -- every 30 days rather than every 90 days. The key difference in the Levin Amendment was that it called for a "plan with estimated dates for the phased redeployment of" U.S. troops from Iraq "as each condition is met." In other words, the Levin Amendment called for drafting a specific timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal based on the Iraqis meeting certain targets, whereas the Warner Amendment did not. As Senator Levin said during the debate,"Staying the course is not a strategy, that is a slogan." Senator Joe Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, weighed in on behalf of the Warner Amendment, saying that calling for a set timetable would undermine U.S. troops.

The Senate debate, brief as it was, mainly focused on the difference between the Democrats’ vague "estimated dates" for a phased withdrawal based on Iraqi progress, and the Republicans'"even vaguer schedule for meeting such conditions." As Senator Warner argued,"I am concerned that the release of a timeline . . . that announces our withdrawal plans, even with estimated dates, could promote speculation and send an erroneous message to our troops, the Iraqi people, our coalition partners, and the terrorists."

On November 15, 2005, the Senate passed the Warner Amendment and rejected the Levin Amendment. So, to conclude, the Warner Amendment calls for:

1. 2006 to be a year of transition from U.S. to full Iraqi sovereignty and the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces;
2. Iraqi leaders to make compromises necessary for defeating the insurgency;
3. the President to submit reports to Congress every three months on the progress of these operations; and
4. a schedule -- but not a timetable and no precise dates -- for meeting these goals.

On November 15, 2005, the Senate rejected the Levin Amendment by a vote of 58-40 and passed the Warner Amendment by a vote of 79-19. The Senate then passed the National Defense Authorization Act unanimously. In December, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the act, 374-41, and President Bush signed it into law last month, on January 6, 2006.


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TIMETABLE -- KYLE MCLAUGHLIN AND NATHALIE BAILEY

On June 2005 Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin introduced Resolution 171 in the Senate calling for the president to clarify the military mission of the U.S. in Iraq and to lay out a timetable for accomplishing that mission. Specifically Feingold called for President Bush to submit a report to the Senate by mid-July 2005. To re-cap, that report would do describe the following:


1) the remaining mission of the Armed Forces of the U.S. in Iraq;

2) current estimates of the timeframe required for the U.S. to complete that mission (including information about variables that could alter that time frame);

3) a time frame for subsequent withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraq.

Two months later, in a speech in Wisconsin, Sen. Feingold suggested a deadline of Dec 31, 2006 for the completion of the withdrawal of U. S. troops from Iraq, although he did not add that requirement to his resolution. In his speech, Feingold said,

"But it's almost as if talking about completing the mission in Iraq has become 'taboo.' It's time for senators and Members of Congress, especially those from my own party, to be less timid while this Administration neglects urgent national security priorities in favor of staying a flawed policy course in Iraq. We need to refocus on fighting and defeating the terrorist network that attacked this country on September 11, 2001"

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Enter a conservative traditional man, Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina. The coiner of "freedom fries," Jones had led the original charge of patriotism, of support for unilateral American military action. An unlikely legislative collaborator, the open minded Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, joined Jones and famed peace activist Dennis Kucinich in the sponsorship of Homeward Bound, the June 16, 2005 joint resolution advocating a prompt and orderly timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.

Homeward Bound calls for a definitive plan by December 31st, 2005 and the initiation of US troop withdrawal to begin no later than October 1st, 2006. It should be noted that the Homeward Bound resolution does not include a date when the American withdrawal must be completed.

The Resolution cites the extenuating factors surrounding the modern Iraqi military and political climate and calls for the transfer of military power and counterinsurgency operations to the American trained Iraqi military forces. The resolution was sent to the House International Relations Committee for debate and review.

Although cosponsored by over 65 representatives on both sides of the aisle, the resolution has been tabled in committee. Abercrombie is currently seeking a petition of his fellow members for immediate debate on the floor of the House. Although supported by Nancy Pelosi and other congressional heavy hitters, the signatories only reach 69 out of the required 218

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INTERNATIONAL SOLUTION -- TJ WHITAKER AND DAN SYMONDS

Representative Lynn Woolsey of California has called for an international solution to the war in Iraq, one that would remove US troops from Iraq while handing power back to Iraqis with the aid of international organizations like the Arab League and the United Nations. Since being introduced in the House on January 26th, 2005, 34 Representatives have endorsed the Woolsey Resolution. Specifically, the Resolution states that:

"The President should:


(1) Develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;

(2) Develop and implement a plan for reconstructing Iraq's civil and economic infrastructure;

(3) Convene an emergency meeting of Iraq's leadership, Iraq's neighbors, the United Nations, and the Arab League to create an international peacekeeping force in Iraq and to replace United States Armed Forces in Iraq with Iraqi police and Iraqi National Guard forces to ensure Iraq's security; and

(4) Take all steps necessary to provide the Iraqi people with the opportunity to completely control their internal affairs."

Last November Representative Woolsey and Representative Barbara Lee, also of California wrote a letter to President Bush reiterating Woolsey's proposal for US troop withdrawal coupled with an international peacekeeping force. In the letter, Woolsey and the other signatories called for the involvement of NATO, as well as the United Nations, in the creation of an interim peacekeeping force to replace US troops. The letter, which had 61 Representatives sign, emphasized engaging the international community and taking the American face off things, noting that The United States'presence in Iraq fuels continued conflict.

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Code Pink: Women's Call for Peace

"Foreign occupation has fueled an armed movement against it; We are convinced that it is time to shift from a military model to a conflict resolution model that includes the following:"

-- the withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq

-- negotiations to incorporate disenfranchised Iraqis into all aspects of society

-- full representation of women in the peace making process

-- a commitment to discard plans for any foreign bases in Iraq

-- Iraqi control of its oil and other resources

-- the nullification of privatization and deregulation laws imposed under occupation

-- a reconstruction effort that prioritizes Iraqi contractors

-- a temporary international peacekeeping force- truly multilateral- with no nations who participated in occupation

Senator Kennedy Speech on Iraq

"The beginning of wisdom in this crisis is to define honest and relistic goals."

-- First, the goal of our military presence should be to allow the creation of a legitimate, functioning Iraqi government, not dictate it

-- Second, for democracy to take root, the Iraqis need a clear signal that America has a genuine exit strategy.

12,000 American troops should leave immediately

goal to complete withdrawal as soon as possible in 2006

UN authorization ends with election of permanent Iraqi government

any stabilization forces approved by Iraqis

-- Finally. we need to train and equip an effective Iraqi security force. We have a year to do so.

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UNCONDITIONAL WITHDRAWAL -- MARY GALLAGHER AND DREW DIX

The call for unconditional withdrawal from Iraq was made on November 17th 2005, by Rep. John Murtha, a 73-year-old Democrat from Pennsylvania and decorated war hero in Vietnam and Korea.

Well schooled in military matters, Murtha spoke out against the war last November and called for the withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq in his House Joint Resolution #73.

Murtha's resolution, which calls for redeployment of all U.S. forces from Iraq, now has 97 co-sponsors in the House, including Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and our local Congressmen Donald Payne and Bill Pascrell.

Murtha offers a three point plan in his resolution:

1. Terminate Iraq troop deployment and redeploy "at the earliest practicable date"
2. Deploy a "quick-reaction" U.S. force and an "over-the-horizon" force of U.S Marines in the region and
3. Return to vigorous diplomatic efforts to stabilize the region

Murtha bases his proposal on his view of the administration's lack of "measurable progress" toward providing security or a stable government in Iraq, and the inability to achieve these goals without massive additional deployment of U.S. troops; which he sees as not possible without instituting a military draft.

Murtha also feels that U.S. forces have become the target of the insurgency, and he cites recent polls which conclude that over 80% of the Iraqi people want U.S. forces out of Iraq, and that 45% of Iraqis feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified.

On the Jan. 15th edition of CBS' "60 Minutes", Murtha elaborated on his resolution and expressed the view that "the vast majority [of the troops] will be out by the end of the year. And I'm hopeful it'll be out sooner than that,"

Murtha went on to tell 60 Minutes that "mounting pressure from constituents in this election year will force Congress to pass his withdrawal plan, or something similar to bring the troops home."

He is confident that this session of Congress will contain a great deal of new debate, and perhaps some real progress.
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Also calling for unconditional withdrawal is House Joint Resolution 70, introduced on Oct 25 by North Carolina Democrats David Price and James Miller.

Far more detailed than Murtha's resolution, it is meant to counter the perception that the U.S. intends to continue the occupation indefinitely and maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

It declares it U.S. policy to withdraw, to recognize Iraq's elected government, to accelerate training of Iraqi forces and transfer all bases to them, to support Iraqi reconstruction efforts and to provide diplomatic and political support to the Iraq govt.

It sets strict parameters to accomplish this, requiring Bush to report in 30 days on a withdrawal plan, including when withdrawal will start and how long it is expected to take. The report must also define the remaining U.S. mission in Iraq, including how to achieve it and how it advances the timely withdrawal of our troops.

H.R. 4232, also known as End the War in Iraq Act of 2005, is the only stand-alone bill we're discussing tonight. It was filed on Nov. 4, 2005 by a Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern. Its 14 cosponsors include Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and Maplewood's Congressman, Donald Payne.

It would pull the financial rug out from under the occupation by prohibiting the use of any money appropriated by Congress to deploy troops in Iraq.

It would, however, allow the use of funds for withdrawal and for the social and economic reconstruction of Iraq. Money could also be spent to help Iraq by providing financial assistance or equipment to Iraqi forces and international forces in Iraq and by consulting with the Iraq government and other governments and international organizations.

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BENCHMARK PROPOSAL -- PAUL SCHROEDER

Presentation by Paul E. Schroeder (Benchmarks)

On January 13, 2006 Families of the Fallen for Change released its proposal for ending US military activity in Iraq. Unlike many of the other proposals, which call for a military solution, the FOF plan is a political solution. To entice legitimate Iraqi parties to the negotiating table, the United States would first announce its intention to withdraw all troops from Iraq and state that it does not desire any permanent military bases in Iraq.

The parties would then negotiate a step-by-step reduction of American troops (in percentages) using troop levels as of December 15, 2005 as a baseline. In exchange, the Iraqis would have 30 days from the first American withdrawal to reduce all violence activities aimed at American/Coalition troops and Iraqi civilians by an equal percentage. The baseline level for this is open to negotiation but could be the level of violence as of the first withdrawal.

Once the first withdrawal/violence-reduction step is concluded, the next step would be an increased percentage withdrawal of troops and a concomitant reduction of violence. This would continue until all American troops are out of Iraq and violence is only 15% of the baseline.

The proposal leaves violence at 15% to take into consideration activities by Al Qaeda of Iraq.

At some point, we believe, all parties would see the potential for a quicker American withdrawal and agree to a ceasefire.

Once accomplished, Iraq would be relatively stable, though the danger of renewed sectoral violence would continue.

As an incentive to prevent that, the proposal also ties future American reconstruction and other aid to Iraq's willingness to share power in the government, share oil revenues, and share control of the Ministry of Internal Security.

The proposal would be brokered by the League of Arab States, which is seen as more legitimate than the United Nations.

This proposal can be used with any of the other five proposals, even that of the Bush Administration, because it is political and not military. The key component is the America's upfront stated desire to withdraw all troops and bases from Iraq.

 
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