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The Blogger Press Conference with the ISG:

The Iraq Study Group engaged the services of the Edelman public relations firm to organize a press converence between ISG members William Perry and Alan Simpson and selected bloggers. Here's what happened.

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December 6, 2006 - 6:29 pm

A PJ Media blogger, one of those invited, noted some the questions the bloggers asked Perry and Simpson and the answers they received.

One blogger, in Kuwait for a meeting, cited unnamed foreign Arab ministers who were worried the US might leave a vacuum. Former Secretary Perry emphasized that America was getting its men back from Iraq in order not to leave a vacuum.

Another blogger asked what unexpected contingencies would delay a US withdrawal from Iraq. The ISG members refused to be drawn into speculation.

Jim Geraghty asked what would happen, if despite the best implementation of the ISG recommendations, Iraq still failed to stabilize. William Perry acknowledged the possibility, but allowed that it would be “less likely to happen”.

Spencer Ackerman asked if the focusing only technical military training would be enough to alter the defective political situation. Both members acknowledged it would not, but saw military advice as linked with a broader effort to alter the political environment in the new Iraq.

John Aravosis asked if the ISG recommendations were “watered down” to make them more palatable to the President. Both ISG members vehemently denied this.

One blogger asked whether the ISG recommendations envisioned an amnesty for insurgents who had killed Americans. William Perry noted that it was an issue the British had to deal with when crafting a political solution in Northern Ireland, and while declining to answer categorically, Perry said the problem was something that had to be faced.

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