Congressman Stephen F. Lynch today introduced the "Iraq Transition Act," (H.R. 5716) which would establish a national Commission to gradually shift control of government operations in Iraq from the U.S. military to the newly-elected Iraqi Government. Lynch's bill is intended to institute a step-by-step process to empower the Iraqi Government and reduce reliance on American and coalition military forces, allowing troops to return to the United States.
|Lynch Offers Plan for Iraq Transition, Eyes Troop Reduction
Congressman Lynch said, "Despite the excellence with which our troops have performed, the process of getting the Iraqi government to take on more responsibility remains stalled. That is what we need to focus on. From my own observations during five visits with our troops in Iraq and meetings with the Iraqi Council of Representatives and President Talabani, this has emerged as the central weakness of the Administration's current strategy. The shift to Iraqi control is a political process and we should not expect our military to shoulder this responsibility along with war-fighting and reconstruction."
Lynch argues that, "There needs to be an authorized commission, whose central and exclusive job is to make this transition to Iraqi control happen and to measure and report on its progress to the Congress and to the American people."
In essence, Lynch's bill would establish a single national commission which would be responsible for shifting government operations to the new Iraqi government. Such a body does not currently exist.
The national commission established by Lynch's legislation is modeled in part on the Filipino Rehabilitation Commission Act of 1944, which was established to assist the Philippines' transition to local civilian government after the U.S. Military had taken control of the islands from the Japanese during World War II.
"As in the past, our ability to reduce troop levels is directly related to our success in replacing U.S. Military control with local civilian control. That is the critical path right now. History has proven that this model can work," said Lynch.
Under Lynch's plan, the bipartisan Commission on Iraqi Transition would be comprised of 21 members. The President would appoint 7 of the members, and 7 members each would come from the Senate and the U.S. House.
The primary goals of the Commission would be:
To facilitate a dialogue between Commission members and Iraqi and international leaders;
To develop and report findings, recommendations and conclusions for transition to Iraqi control; and
To provide guidance and support for the shift to Iraqi governance.