Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

12-08-06

Contacts:

Mike Ferlazzo, News Service, (515) 294-8986, ferlazzo@iastate.edu

NEWS TIP: ISU professors can comment on Bush administration's next step in Iraq

AMES, Iowa -- The Iraq Study Group released its report calling the situation in Iraq "grave and dangerous," adding that "prospects can be improved" through a change in U.S. policy. The bipartisan panel calls for direct talks between the U.S., Iran and Syria, and urges moving most U.S. troops from combat to support roles by early 2008.

The report was made public a day after President Bush's nominee for defense secretary, Robert Gates, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he did not believe the U.S. is winning the war in Iraq. Gates was later approved for the post by the Senate, 95-2.

Those events suggest change in the Bush administration policy toward Iraq. But what, if any, will those changes be?

The following Iowa State University faculty members study U.S. foreign policy and can provide perspective for the media.

Charles Dobbs

Professor and chair of history

515-294-7286, cdobbs@iastate.edu

Dobbs' research and teaching interests include American diplomatic and military history. He is the author of three books, including "The Unwanted Symbol. American Foreign Policy, the Cold War and Korea: 1942-1950."

Dobbs says he doesn't believe President Bush will change his policy toward Iraq.

"President Bush is committed to his policy and is incapable of walking away from it, because I think he's incapable of admitting he was wrong," he said. "I think we have to get out (of Iraq) because this distorts all of our foreign policy. But if we get out, the outcome we leave will be worse than the Vietnam conflict."

Dobbs says the current policy's major flaw was its failure to have a new regime ready after Saddam Hussein was removed from power. "We should have had a regime in mind, put it in place, and gotten out -- because there are more serious threats in the world," he said.

James McCormick

Professor and chair of political science

515-294-8682 (o), 515-294-7256, jmmcc@iastate.edu

McCormick specializes in American foreign policy and international politics. He is author of the book "American Foreign Policy and Process," and co-editor of "The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy: Insights and Evidence" (fourth edition), both popular college textbooks. McCormick was previously a congressional fellow for the American Political Science Association (1986-87) -- working in the office of Lee Hamilton, who joined with James Baker as the Iraq Study Group's co-chairs.

McCormick says the fundamental problem in Iraq is the difficulty of making a government function in a society so divided along sectarian lines, and the challenge of corruption within the society.

"The issue in Iraq clearly is more about getting a viable political solution than gaining a military victory of any sort," he said.

McCormick sees the Baker-Hamilton proposed "The Way Forward: A New Approach" as an ambitious diplomatic initiative, "but the Bush administration will probably need to bring in new diplomats to carry it off -- ones with more credibility than some of those currently in charge," he said. "I remain doubtful that there are enough incentives for the U.S. to get the cooperation of some of the other players in the region."

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Quote

Dobbs

Charles Dobbs

"President Bush is committed to his policy and is incapable of walking away from it, because I think he's incapable of admitting he was wrong. I think we have to get out (of Iraq) because this distorts all of our foreign policy. But if we get out, the outcome we leave will be worse than the Vietnam conflict."

Charles Dobbs

Jim McCormick

James McCormick

"The issue in Iraq clearly is more about getting a viable political solution than gaining a military victory of any sort."

James McCormick