Report on Iraq: Situation "Grave and Deteriorating"

After nearly four years of war in Iraq, a White House appointed panel finds the situation there to be "grave and deteriorating.''

The Iraq Study Group, headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, recommends that the U-S reduce its support for Iraq if the Baghdad government can't take big steps toward providing for its own security.

The report also says Americans aren't finding out about all of the violence in Iraq. In a criticism of the Pentagon, it says there's significant under-reporting of the actual level of violence there.

The report also criticizes the U-S intelligence effort -- and says the U-S government still doesn't understand well the insurgency there or the role of the militias.

President Bush is promising to consider all proposals and "act in a timely fashion.''

The White House sees the Iraq Study Group's report as an "acknowledgment of reality'' -- not an indictment of how it's handling the war.

Bush administration spokesman Tony Snow says the report deserves "close study and scrutiny.'' And that's what he promises it'll get, after which the president will describe what he sees as "the way forward.''

Snow acknowledges the current situation in Iraq is unacceptable, and says the president isn't disputing the bleak picture in the report.

Former CIA Director and current Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates was a part of the Iraq Study Group until he received the nomination from the President at which point he resigned from the panel.

The Iraq Study Group Report is available in its entirety on line at: