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Good evening. Welcome to Lateline. I'm Tony Jones. It's the catalogue of startling facts that makes
the report of the Iraq Study Group such an indictment of US mismanagement of the war. Take this,
for example, of the 1,000 people working at the US embassy in Baghdad only 33 speak Arabic. Of
them, only six are fluent. Taken across the whole conflict zone the lack of knowledge of language
and culture has had a devastating effect on relations between foreign troops and Iraqis. It affects
everything from day-to-day relations to troop training. So what answers does the report provide and
how's the Bush Administration likely to respond to it? Later we'll cross to Washington to speak to
strategic analyst and former US assistant Secretary of State Lawrence Korb. That's coming up. But
first our other headlines. Fiji's removalists boxed the belongings of the deposed Prime Minister as
the coup leader plays football in Suva. Smoke signals - residents take what they can and run as
Victoria gears up for a horror weekend of hush fires. And on Lateline Business, will the boom

Report calls for US strategy change in Iraq

Report calls for US strategy change in Iraq

Broadcast: 07/12/2006

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

An eagerly awaited top-level report on the conflict in Iraq has recommended a radical change in US
strategy.

Transcript

TONY JONES: The US may commence a phased withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq within 15 months in
response to sweeping recommendations contained in the Iraq Study Group report, released in
Washington today. The report warned that the situation in Iraq was grave and deteriorating.
President George W. Bush described it as a "tough assessment" and said he would take all of its
recommendations seriously. Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: Today's report is just one being prepared in Washington. The Pentagon and the
National Security Adviser are still working on theirs. But the 142 page Iraq Survey Group report is
likely to be the only one that finds its way into American book stores. It's sold like

hot cakes.

MITCH BROWN, BOOK SELLER: There is a major problem with shipping. We have found that a lot of book
stores in DC have not received it, which of course is great for the paranoid and the
scandalmongers. What's going on?

TOM IGGULDEN: The ISG panel is different because it's bipartisan and independent and Americans

are looking for clarity about a war that's rarely enjoyed popular support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a mistake to begin with and it's turned out to be a disaster since.

TOM IGGULDEN: The report's authors certainly agree with the second of those points. They said the

situation in Iraq was grave and deteriorating.

LEE HAMILTON, IRAQ STUDY GROUP CO-CHAIR: The current approach is not working and the ability of the
United States to influence events is diminishing. We do not know if it can be turned around, but we
think we have an obligation to try.

TOM IGGULDEN: The report found that few of Iraq's State institutions were working properly. Iraq's
army is making only: "... fitful progress toward becoming a reliable and disciplined fighting force
and", and the country's police, infiltrated with Shiite death squads was: "... substantially worse."
PM, Nouri al-Maliki, has taken little meaningful action against Iraq's militias, many of which form
part of his power base.

LEE HAMILTON: If the Iraqi Government does not make substantial progress towards the achievement of
milestones, the United States then should reduce its political, military or economic support for
the Iraqi Government.

TOM IGGULDEN: That was one of the 72 recommendations in the report, most of them leaked weeks ago.
The report calls for: "A new diplomatic offensive, including direct engagement with Iran and
Syria." It also suggested a fivefold increase in American troops devoted to training the Iraqi
army, which could see American combat troops not needed for training or protection out of Iraq by
the first quarter of 2008.

JAMES BAKER, IRAQ STUDY GROUP CO-CHAIR: We also did not recommend a precipitous withdrawal of
troops because that might not only cause a bloodbath, it would also invite a wider regional war.

TOM IGGULDEN: Reaction to the report began with the man whose policies it was criticising.

GEORGE W. BUSH, AMERICAN PRESIDENT: This report gives a very tough assessment of the situation in
Iraq. It is a report that brings some really very interesting proposals and we will take every
proposal seriously and we will act in a timely fashion.

TOM IGGULDEN: But the report's authors warned the administration against cherry picking their
recommendations.

JAMES BAKER: This is the only bipartisan report for sale and it's going to take a bipartisan
approach to solve the problems of Iraq. You really shouldn't treat it like a fruit salad and pick
one and leave another and that sort of thing.

TOM IGGULDEN: Later the President's spokesman said the report's recommendations were

consistent with the administration's current approach in Iraq.

REPORTER: You're suggesting that the recommendations of this report are in sync with the way the
President has described the reality in Iraq and his policy towards Iraq? Is that what you're
saying?

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Go through. Rather than - because you'll accuse me of nit
picking; read it. I'm serious. I'm not trying to be snide. If you go through and you take a look at
the metrics at the beginning, we've acknowledged you've got a deteriorating situation in Baghdad.
We have talked about the al Qaeda problems in Anbar.

TOM IGGULDEN: If the report does result in a dramatic new policy, the man overseeing it will be
Robert Gates, who today was confirmed as the new Secretary of Defence by the US Senate. In
testimony yesterday he said America was not winning in Iraq; the opposite view of the President.

TONY SNOW: I know you want to pit a fight between Robert Gates and the President.

It doesn't exist. Read the full testimony and you'll see.

TOM IGGULDEN: Official reaction to the report was not quick from the Muslim world, with the notable
exception of Iran.

MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We do believe that making a decision to withdraw from
Iraq does not need any negotiations with Iran or any other countries in the region.

TOM IGGULDEN: Meanwhile, on the streets of Baghdad there was no let up in the violence, with
another wave of bombings. Tom Iggulden, Lateline.

PM plays down calls for Iraq troop withdrawal

PM plays down calls for Iraq troop withdrawal

Broadcast: 08/12/2006

Reporter: Narda Gilmore

Prime Minister John Howard has played down calls for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq after the
release of a top-level report on the conflict recommended a radical change in US strategy.

Transcript

TONY JONES: In Canberra Labor seized on the Iraq Study Group's report during the last Question Time
of the year. But the Prime Minister has played down calls for a phased withdrawal from Iraq, saying
it would be wrong to abandon the country. Mr Howard admits there may be a case for reworking some
tactics, but insists that doesn't mean an immediate pull out. From Canberra, Narda Gilmore reports.

NARDA GILMORE: "Largely predictable" is how the Prime Minister summed up the findings of the Iraq
Study Group. Labor was looking for more.

KEVIN RUDD, OPPOSITION LEADER: Does the Prime Minister agree that the current coalition strategy in
Iraq has failed?

NARDA GILMORE: While he acknowledged that was one conclusion in the Baker Hamilton report, John
Howard seized on some of the other findings.

JOHN HOWARD, PM: A premature American departure from Iraq would almost certainly produce greater
sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions.

NARDA GILMORE: The Australian Government has consistently refused to put a timetable on the
withdrawal of troops from Iraq, insisting coalition forces must stay the course, even though their
presence is failing to stem the ongoing violence.

KEVIN RUDD: Why is the Prime Minister the only world leader who refuses to accept that current
coalition policy in Iraq is not working?

JOHN HOWARD: It's a bit rich for somebody who's in favour of it not working asking such a question.
I've indicated on numerous occasions that I wish the operation were going differently in Iraq. I've
said repeatedly that there is a case for reworking some of the tactics.

NARDA GILMORE: But the Foreign Minister says that doesn't mean an immediate withdrawal.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: Of course the Iraqi Study Group isn't saying, "Let's set a date
and let's withdraw from Iraq." What the Iraq Study Group is saying is what I think is the right
thing to say, and that is that the task here - and we've been saying this for a very long time now
- is to stand up an effective Iraqi security force.

NARDA GILMORE: Parliament may have been winding down for the year, but that doesn't mean the work
is over. The new Opposition Leader is still busy finalising his frontbench. Kevin Rudd's four new
shadow ministers, Peter Garrett, Bob McMullan, Craig Emerson and Chris Bowen took their places
anyway, even though their portfolios are yet to be assigned.

CHRIS BOWEN, LABOR FRONTBENCHER: I'm delighted to be part of Kevin's team. I think that Kevin has
re-energised the party.

NARDA GILMORE: Not everyone's happy. South Australian Senator, Annette Hurley, was dumped from the
shadow ministry to make way for Kevin Rudd's new talent.

JENNIE GEORGE, LABOR MP: I think it's very regrettable that a woman on the frontbench was tapped on
the shoulder to make way for additional men.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LABOR FRONTBENCHER: I think our representation is very strong. Julia Gillard is
obviously a very strong deputy leader and we'll have a number of women in very senior positions.

NARDA GILMORE: There are signs that a Government reshuffle could also be on the way. Arts and Sport
Minister, Rod Kemp, all but announced his retirement, clearing the way for change.

ROD KEMP, SPORTS MINISTER: 10 years not out, not out. But of course the captain can declare the
innings closed at any time. Thank you very much.

NARDA GILMORE: There was a dose of Christmas spirit today courtesy of Family First Senator, Steve
Fielding. They'll be back at it again in February. Narda Gilmore, Lateline.

Military tightens grip on Fiji

Military tightens grip on Fiji

Broadcast: 07/12/2006

Reporter: Sean Dorney

The Fijian military in continuing to tighten its grip on the country following the coup on Tuesday,
with civilian administrators being forced from their positions.

Transcript

TONY JONES: Voices of dissent in Fiji are being silenced as coup leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama
replaces key administrators with his military supporters. One of the last groups with influence,
the powerful Council of Tribunal Chiefs, has called on the military to lay down its arms. But the
new caretaker Prime Minister says any elections may be two years away, and even then it may not be
a Western style democracy. The ABC's Sean Dorney reports from Suva.

SEAN DORNEY: The personal effects of Laisenia Qarase's family were being packed up today. He
maintains he still holds the office as Fiji's legal Prime Minister, but it's clear he's now
banished from the official Prime Ministerial residence. His military appointed replacement says he
knows he hasn't been installed in any democratically legal way.

JONA SENILAGAKALI, FIJI INTERIM PM: It's an illegal takeover to clean up the mess of a much bigger
illegal activity of the previous government. Democracy may be alright for certain places in the
world, but I don't think the type of democracy Fiji needs is different from the type of democracy
both Australia and New Zealand enjoys.

COMMODORE FRANK BAINIMARAMA, FIJIAN MILITARY COMMANDER: Tomorrow the advertisement for positions in
the caretaker government will be in the print media. I appeal to those of you who have the welfare
of the nation at heart to come forward and be part of this rebuilding process.

SEAN DORNEY: Some police have been refusing to cooperate with the military and soldiers have taken
up occupation at police stations. The soldier who's been appointed Police Commissioner took over
today.

LT COL JIM KOROI, INCOMING FIJIAN POLICE COMMISSIONER: I think the transition was very peaceful.

SEAN DORNEY: The Deputy Police Commissioner, who'd stood up to the military yesterday, has been
sacked.

MOSES DRIVER, FMR FIJIAN DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: I'm going to go on some holiday.

SEAN DORNEY: The economic consequences of the coup are starting to worry Fiji's garment industry.
If Australia imposes sanctions, it could fold, throwing more than 10,000 people out of work.

BILL GIBSON, FIJI GARMENT INDUSTRY: I would ask the politicians to consider that and consider their
well being when looking into the political power struggles of which those people have no part.

SEAN DORNEY: It was just over a month ago that Laisenia Qarase hosted the Pacific Island Forum
Leaders' meeting. He's the Forum Chairman, but he is now powerless. If this coup is sustained Fiji
could be thrown out of the forum, putting the future of its headquarters, here in Suva, and indeed
the future of the whole organisation, in doubt. The man now in charge of Fiji, Commodore
Bainimarama, felt secure enough today to play touch football with his men in Albert Park, right in
the centre of Suva. The self appointed President has called for applications from those wanting to
play on his team and be his ministers. Sean Dorney, Lateline.

Vic firefighters prepare for major weekend fires

Vic firefighters prepare for major weekend fires

Broadcast: 07/12/2006

Reporter: Helen Brown

Victorian firefighters continue to battle blazes across eastern parts of the state, among fears
extreme conditions forecast for the weekend may create an inferno worse than Black Friday.

Transcript

TONY JONES: Residents and fire authorities in Victoria are preparing for major bushfires this
weekend. They fear that a series of blazes could link up in extremely hot conditions and create a
huge fire stretching from the mountains to the coast. Firefighters from as far away as New Zealand
have now arrived to lend a hand. Helen Brown reports.

HELEN BROWN: This crew of 48 from New Zealand are the first arrivals of an overseas contingent to
boost Victoria's defences.

IAN MILLMAN, NZ LIAISON OFFICER: We are anticipating quite extreme conditions over here. Certainly
far more than what we're used to in New Zealand, and the duration of the fire is certainly longer.

NICK MCCABE, NZ FIREFIGHTER: I was lucky enough to be here in 2003. Some of the other guys, I think
it'll take a wee bit of getting used to. Just the scale of things and the heat and the size of the
country.

HELEN BROWN: Tomorrow morning they'll be sent to the state's north east, joining almost 2,000
firefighters already battling blazes. They'll be there just in time for what's predicted to be one
of the worst fire threats facing the state. Today's calm conditions belie the fury that's expected
on the weekend, when high winds and hot weather fan the fires further on the dry land, creating a
scenario similar to Black Friday in 1939.

LISA SCOTT, WOODS POINT RESIDENT: My father went to the 1939 bushfires in Woods Point and there was
none of all this around, all the hills were a lot clearer, and there's a lot of fuel out there for
it to all just really go up.

HELEN BROWN: Residents are being urged to make the decision now on whether to stay or go.

CAMERON WOODS, WOODS POINT RESIDENT: If it gets too bad inside, or in the mine, we've got a dugout
for the town.

REORTER: So everyone will just jump into the mine?

CAMERON WOODS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now it's just a matter of sitting and waiting and just praying it goes the
other way, but we're ready for it.

HELEN BROWN: The authorities are warning that several communities in the state's north east are
still under an immediate threat. Seven schools have been closed and more than 50 fires have taken
hold, growing in size and merging. Fire services estimate more than 100,000 hectares has been
burnt. It's not just those in the fire affected regions that are being cautioned to be on guard.

BRUCE ESPLIN, EMERGENCY SERVICES COORDINATOR: It's the whole of the state that's a fire risk, it's
not just north eastern Gippsland. That's one of the challenges for the fire services over the
weekend.

HELEN BROWN: Authorities also say people have to accept that the state faces the likelihood of a
fire risk until possibly even next May.

BRUCE ESPLIN: There's an understandable tendency to focus on this weekend, but the reality is,
we're in early December. There's a long, long way to go and there'll be a lot more fires.

HELEN BROWN: The fires are also threatening to pollute Melbourne's biggest source of water. Because
of the drought the Thomson Dam is only 27 per cent full and there's a risk that if the fire moves
into the catchment it could cover the water with ash.

ROB SKINNER, MELBOURNE WATER: It is very much a worst coming to the worst because we do have 82
people ready to fight those fires and the biggest risk would be spot fires.

HELEN BROWN: The water service provider says it's hopeful of protecting the resource. Helen Brown,
Lateline.

Tony Jones speaks with Dr Lawrence Korb

Tony Jones speaks with Dr Lawrence Korb

Broadcast: 08/12/2006

Reporter: Tony Jones

Tony Jones speaks with Dr Lawrence Korb from the Center for American Progress.

Transcript

TONY JONES: Returning now to our top story, the Iraq Study Group's grim assessment of the war in
Iraq and its recommendations for winding back US engagement. Tonight's guest, Dr Lawrence Korb,
served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for five years under Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s.
He's now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and Senior Advisor to the Center for
Defense Information. Earlier this year he co-authored a paper called "Strategic Redeployment",
which, among other things, called for a responsible exit from Iraq by the end of 2007. Lawrence
Korb joins us now in our Washington studio. Thanks for being there.

DR LAWRENCE KORB, CENTRE FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Nice to be with you.

TONY JONES: The chief recommendation of the study group is for a withdrawal of US combat troops by
early 2008. Is there any reliable estimate of how many US troops that would leave on the ground?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Well, if you take out just the combat troops, that would be about 50,000. We've
got 15 combat brigades and 3,000 to 5,000 people in each brigade. So you're talking about 50,000 to
60,000 people would be taken out if you take out all the combat forces.

TONY JONES: How many would that leave still in Iraq? Because I gather, for you, that is the
fundamental flaw in this plan?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Yes, that's correct. It would still leave close to 70,000 or 80,000 troops in
Iraq. In fact it might even leave more because they're talking about bringing in some trainers
right now to increase the size of the forces.

TONY JONES: So you're convinced, I take it, that any significant US troop presence remaining in the
country, even if they're trainers or Special Forces or embedded troops, that would still provide a
primary motivation for the insurgency?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: That's correct. A lot of people in Iraq feel that we came to stay, much like the
British did back in the 1920s, and were there for their oil. 80 per cent of them think our presence
there is contributing to the violence and 60 per cent say it's okay to kill Americans. So I think
that's still way too large a presence to dampen down this insurgency.

TONY JONES: Lawrence Korb, give us an idea, if you can, of your assessment of what would happen if
you pulled out all US troops by the end of next year, as you've recommended?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Well, I think the key is that when you set a specific timeline to get out, a
specific withdrawal date, that sends a signal to the Iraqi Government that they have to start the
reconciliation process. Until they do that, it doesn't matter how many troops you have. You could
have a soldier or a Marine on every street corner in Baghdad and it's not going to dampen down the
violence if they haven't decided the questions of the sharing of the oil revenues, the balance
between the provincial and central government and the protection of minority rights. That's the
key. The key is that you've got to be able to get them to do what they should have been doing for
the past year.

TONY JONES: So you're essentially saying the Iraqi Government, or what passes for a government, has
to be jolted into some kind of action; is that right?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: That's correct. They promised that four months after the election they would
modify the constitution to ensure that the Sunnis got their fair share of the resources of the
country. They still haven't done that. The election was just about a year ago at this time and in
each month while they've been dithering, essentially the United States has lost the equivalent of a
battalion a month in killed and wounded soldiers and Marines.

TONY JONES: What do you say, though, to those who passionately argue against that idea and say that
a complete US pull out, including, I might add, the Iraq Study Group and Mr Baker himself, if you
pull out US troops now that would lead to a disaster, more chaos and a never-ending war?

TONY JONES: What the Baker group is saying is not that much different. When we put out our plan we
said by the end of 2007. That was a while ago, and they're saying the first quarter of 2008. We
have literally said over 18 months; they're saying, "Get your combat troops out in just about a
year, focus on training," and they also say that you should get the majority of your trainers out
by the first quarter of 2008. Now, they'll leave a small residual presence which will really not be
enough to battle the insurgents. The key is going to be whether the Iraqi security forces are
motivated to deal with the several conflicts going on there. It's not really a question of
training. It's a question of motivation. They won't be motivated until the political leaders make
those compromises. As long as the political leaders know we'll be there indefinitely, they have no
incentive to do these things, because they're very, very painful political compromises.

TONY JONES: What about the moral question, though? There are plenty of people who argue, and
powerfully, that because the United States and its coalition partners created this mess in the
first place, it is their responsibility to remain on the ground until it's repaired in some way?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Well, I think that the moral argument can be handled by saying, if you leave at
the end of 2007, or early 2008, you'll have been there almost five years. I think that's really
long enough to help the Iraqis do what they need to do. I mean, the United States and its coalition
partners can remain there forever, but when they leave, unless these compromises are made, this
violence will flare up again. It's really not the insurgents that are causing most of the problems
now, it's the civil war. Shi'ias versus Sunnis, Shi'ias versus Shi'ias, Arabs versus Kurds. That's
much more potent than the al Qaeda insurgents, who number less than 2,000.

TONY JONES: But isn't it a moral responsibility of those who invaded the country to prevent a civil
war from happening, not simply to walk out and wait for it to play itself out?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: The civil war is happening because the Iraqis have not done what they're supposed
to do. I mean, these civil wars that are occurring now are something that go back well before the
United States and its coalition partners overthrew Saddam Hussein. They will not be settled until
the Iraqis themselves make these decisions. The question becomes how do you give them the incentive
to do that? If they had followed on what they had agreed a year ago, to make the constitutional
changes within four months, you would not have as violent a civil war right now.

TONY JONES: There's obviously been a significant shift in thinking when even the former, now
sacked, Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has been putting up ideas for some form of strategic
withdrawal. His plan involves keeping a large US rapid reaction, sometimes called a "surge force",
in Kuwait. Is his idea being taken seriously?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Unfortunately it isn't, but that was one of our ideas. We said the United States
should not leave the region. We talked about leaving a rapid reaction force in Kuwait, as well as a
Marine expeditionary force and a naval carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf, because then you
would be able to deal with a situation if Iraq should become a haven for terrorists, or Iran or
Turkey or another country in the region should decide to invade. So I think Secretary Rumsfeld is
correct. The problem I have is why did it take him so long to even suggest this? Until very
recently he kept blaming the media for overstating the problems in Iraq.

TONY JONES: But all of this began, of course, with the foreign invasion of Iraq, which is
essentially what's motivated originally anyway, the insurgents. Wouldn't that kind of plan you're
talking about, of establishing an invasion force in Kuwait, simply lead to serial invasions?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Well, no, I don't think so. That force would be there to deal with something, for
example, like an Iranian invasion. The Iraqi Government would ask for help and then you could go in
and do it. Your carrier aircraft could go in and bomb if there were al Qaeda camps like they had in
Afghanistan, or fire cruise missiles. Your Marines would be there, too, to back up the army again
in case the Iraqi Government asks for outside assistance to deal with an external threat. But, I
mean, if the Iraqis - whenever the coalition forces leave and a civil war breaks out, I think the
international community has to look at that very much like they look at civil wars in other places
like Darfur. That becomes a different situation than a national security threat, where if it
becomes a haven for al Qaeda or (indistinct) to try and expand its influence in the region.

TONY JONES: Are you suggesting that the surge force, the rapid reaction force, would simply sit on
the sidelines and watch a civil war take place no matter what the cost of that was?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: No, I think they could go in, but that would be the international community, much
like the international community decided to deal with Bosnia, for example, or should be dealing
with Darfur and did not deal with Rwanda. Those are terrible human problems that the international
community, I think, has to take a responsibility for. I mean, the United States and the coalition
went into Iraq because they thought that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the security interests of
the United States; he allegedly had weapons of mass destruction and ties to groups like al Qaeda.
That's why we went in. In fact our plan was to be out by the end of 2003. We never anticipated
this. We should have, but the fact of the matter is that whenever Saddam Hussein was deposed, under
whatever circumstances, you were bound to have something like this happen because you have these
long standing grievances.

TONY JONES: Let's look closer at what the study group itself is proposing. It essentially relies on
the troop training program suddenly becoming effective, a program which, up until now, has been
largely ineffective. You went to Iraq yourself back in 2003 to observe the US training of Iraqi
forces. What did that suggest to you about the program?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Well, the problem that you have is, first of all, we were just trying to get
numbers to make it look good, and then we, as you pointed out, got more serious about the training.
But our problem has been that the trainers basically don't stay long enough to bond with the
Iraqis, because we don't leave our troops there. The Marines are only there seven months and the
army rotates out after a year. We also have language problems. We simply don't have enough American
servicemen and women who speak Arabic. That has slowed down the training. Then the final problem
you have is these units are really not multiethnic. If you look at the 10 divisions that they have
in Iraq, only one is really a multiethnic division. The others are much more sect or tribe based.
So it's not just training them, it's being able to get them to go out and take action against a foe
which they decide that they should not be dealing with.

TONY JONES: How do you solve that problem, the problem of the ethnicity of the different
battalions? How do you solve that problem in 14 months? Is that possible?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Again, you won't solve it unless they make these painful political compromises.
Again, we've been waiting over a year, they have not done it and you're going to give them another
year to begin to get it going. I think the Baker Hamilton, the Iraq Study Group, was correct in
saying that if you don't do that there will be penalties. I happen to fell that unless you give
them a date certain, and I would say 18 months from now because our plan was not obviously
implemented when we wrote it, that if they're well along by then, a lot of these other problems
will be solved.

TONY JONES: Could you explain for us why this happened? This seems to be astonishing mismanagement
in the training program, which is a fundamental, you'd have to say, to the strategy for getting out
of Iraq in the first place. How could it have happened, when America had such power over the
situation, that they created battalions that were not multiethnic?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: What happened, basically, is the US Army is not constructed to do things like
this, this training. Their basic emphasis is to fight major conventional battles. They were not
sending over people just to do the training, they were picking them out of units, many times not
the most qualified people, and saying, "Okay, we're going to send you over here to train the
Iraqis." These men and women had no background at all in this. They've just started, as you pointed
out, in the last year to get somewhat serious about it. But the fact of the matter is, it was a
very slipshod operation, again because they never thought that they would need it. We made a big
mistake when Ambassador Bremer disbanded the Iraqi military over the objections of the US military.

TONY JONES: You've also identified motivation rather than training as the key issue here. How do
you change the motivation of these Iraqi troops?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: Well, you change the motivation by creating an Iraqi nation that people want to
fight and die for. I mean that really is the key to all of this. Again, the training you're not
asking them to fight a major conventional power like a China or the former Soviet military. You're
asking them to do, basically, police work, and if they're motivated they will do it. But there's no
Iraq that they want to fight and die for, like an Australian nation or an American nation that
people are willing to put their lives on the line for. We take young men and women, and I'm sure
you do it in your country, we give them three months of training and send them off to war. They
fight well because they're fighting for their country.

TONY JONES: Lawrence Korb, at a broader strategic level, the report's advice is to draw in Iran and
Syria into serious negotiations on the future of Iraq. But as of now the Bush Administration seems
extremely wary of any negotiations with Iran. Do you think that will continue, or will they
eventually cave in and move in the direction the report is suggesting?

TONY JONES: Well, I think they'll move in the direction, but they may, you know, have the
negotiations conducted by the Iraqi Government. Mr Maliki is already talking through a regional
peace arrangement and the Bush Administration can do it the same way they did with the talks with
Iran on the nuclear weapons; basically empower the Europeans to do it. It's unfortunate because
Syria and Iran are basically going to have to be part of the solution eventually, and there's
nothing wrong in talking with your enemies. We talked to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. When
Richard Nixon opened the door to China it was in the midst of the cultural revolution. So you've
got to be able to do that. It's not a sign of weakness and it doesn't say that you feel that the
Iranian Government is the best government for the people. But if you don't do that, again, no
matter how long you stay you're not going to have a stable Iraq that's not a threat to its
neighbours.

TONY JONES: A final question for you, Lawrence Korb: What are the political dimensions of this
going to be? After all, this report was actually written after a very serious political defeat for
the Bush Administration which took place largely because of the policies over the war in Iraq?

DR LAWRENCE KORB: I think this is going to have much more impact than any normal commission.
There's hundreds of commission reports in people's desk drawers that nobody ever reads after they
come out. But because of the election, because of the stature of somebody like Secretary Baker, the
members of the commission being, if you will, the wise men and women of the political parties, the
fact that the Democrats now control the legislature, the American people are looking for a way out,
all of those things, I think, come together to mean that this report is going to have a tremendous
amount of significance and, in fact, is a real turning point. Because the debate now is how quickly
do we get out, not how long should we stay.

TONY JONES: Lawrence Korb, we thank you very much for getting up early and coming in to talk to us.
It was good of you. We hope to do it again sometime. Thank you very much.

OK.

You can find tonight's interview with Lawrence Korb on our website shortly. It also has downloads
of individual stories and streaming of the whole program. Maxine McKew will be with you tomorrow
night for our final program of 2006 and her final program more or less forever. I'll take a break
for summer and see you again next year. Have a safe and happy Christmas. Now it's over to Ali Moore
at Lateline Business.