Commonwealth National Podcast

William Perry, Member, Iraq Study Group; Professor, Stanford University Institute for International Studies; 19th Secretary of Defense

Duration: 
1:06:27

Former Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton, Bill Perry, will explain how his Iraq Study group, the bipartisan commission appointed to investigate the war in Iraq and possible pull out strategies there, reached the grave conclusions they did. In their report, the Iraq Study group, comprised of five Republicans and five Democrats, warned that “the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating,” and criticized President Bush’s current strategy. Perry will go behind the headlines and provide his insider's perspective on the how the U.S. should proceed at this point.


In unusually blunt language, the group issued 79 specific recommendations calling for direct engagement with Syria and Iran as part of a “new diplomatic offensive,” jump-starting the Israeli-Palestinian peace effort, and declaring that the United States would reduce its support to Iraq unless Baghdad made “substantial progress” on reconciliation and security. They also provided a detailed blueprint for a fundamentally different approach, including the pullout of all American troops over the next 15 months. It was Perry who advocated a stricter timeline for withdrawal, and was able to persuade the commission to set clear goals for the withdrawal of troops.


Perry is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor at Stanford University. He also serves as co-director of the Preventive Defense Project, a research collaboration of Stanford and Harvard Universities. Perry was the 19th Secretary of Defense for the United States, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. He previously served as Deputy Secretary of Defense (1993-1994) and as Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (1977-1981). He is on the board of directors of several emerging high-tech companies and is chairman of Global Technology Partners. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
 

This program was recorded live on January 22, 2007