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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 23, 2006

New strategy needed from Bush for Iraq

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On the heels of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report pushing for an exit strategy and with the Pentagon this week assessing the violence in Iraq at its highest point to date, a clear direction in Iraq is needed now more than ever.

Yet President Bush's recent assessment of the situation "We're not winning, we're not losing" is not reassuring at a time when the majority of the country wants to hear the president articulate a new direction for the war.

The Iraq report suggested a time frame for thoughtful troop reductions, a gradual handing over of authority to the Iraqis and a plan for increased regional diplomacy. These were among the study's 79 recommendations.

The president said he'll wait until after the holidays before he comments on any of those ideas. That's fine; these suggestions bear careful consideration. But with the Pentagon reportedly poised to request an additional $99.7 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president contemplating adding more troops in Iraq, and with violence continuing to take a deadly toll on our troops and Iraqi citizens, the situation cannot be left simmering much longer.

Voters made their feelings clear in the recent election. It's now up to the Bush administration and Congress to set a wise course that not only protects our troops but that prudently takes into account the stability of the region and that must top the agenda in the new year.