Is It Time to Increase the Pressure on the Iraqi Government?

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President Bush and Democrats in the Congress are deadlocked over setting withdrawal deadlines for the funding of US troops in Iraq. In the meantime, both sides agree with military leaders that continuing violence won't end until there is political reconciliation among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. To that end, Iraq's Prime Minister has agreed to meet certain "benchmarks." Amending the constitution, holding local elections and regulating oil revenues are supposed to give all sides a real stake in peace and stability. The Bush Administration says US forces are needed before political deals can be made, but critics contend the American presence is an excuse for delay. Are the Iraqis meeting the benchmarks? Should the US threaten to cut off support until more progress is made?




Warren Olney