Iraq Study Group

The Iraq Study Group has released its recommendations. From the NY Times:

The report confronts the president with a powerful argument that his policy in Iraq is not working and that he must move toward disengagement. For Mr. Bush to embrace the study group’s blueprint would mean accepting its implicit criticism of his democracy agenda, reversing course in Iraq and throughout the Middle East and meeting Democrats more than halfway. ...

The study group, for instance, calls for direct engagement with Iran and Syria; so far, Mr. Bush has refused. While Mr. Bush has steadfastly resisted a timetable for withdrawal, the report says all combat brigades “not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq” — note the careful use of the conditional — by the first quarter of 2008.

The report in effect calls on Democrats, at least those who have been pushing for a rapid withdrawal of troops, to show patience, warning that a fast pullout would lead to “a significant power vacuum, greater human suffering, regional destabilization and a threat to the global economy” — in effect, pushing Iraq into total anarchy. ...

The real question now is whether the report can generate what the panel’s Republican co-chairman, James A. Baker III, called the “tremendous amount of political will” necessary to prod Democrats and Republicans into genuine cooperation — and Mr. Bush into embracing policy prescriptions he thus far has shunned.


  • Charlie Burr (unverified)

    Who knew that the New York Post would have the ever-thoughtful Congresswoman Jean Schmidt cover this story for them?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Let's not forget that the ISG represents the views of people who are concerned with the Shrubbery's failure to successfully occupy Iraq. They do not question the policy of invading nations, overthrowing governments, and exploiting the world for US corporate interests. We are witnessing a squabble between factions of the ruling elite about how best to be imperialists.

  • (Show?)

    I'm with John Kerry, Pat Buchanan, and Joe Scarborough on this one.

    It ain't a plan.

    At best, it will provide cover for the Bushies to continue thrashing around looking for "extremists" while creating new ones with every passing day.

    At least, as Scarborough opined, it's a bucket of icewater in the administration's face.

  • TomCat (unverified)

    My main concern about the ISG is that none of the panel members opposed Bush's war from the outset. Neither did any of the witnesses that appeared before the panel. Thus the panel's perspective, as Tom Civiletti pointed out, was skewed. Nevertheless, the panel's views won't matter. Dubya might cherry-pick an idea or two, but in the end he will decide that the panel fully supported his position to stay the course under whatever name de jour it has at that time.

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    I hope that some good comes from the ISG, but everyone seems to be avoiding the larger problem we have now: that we are led by a completely discredited president.

    I don't mean the "administration" or its policies, which are things that might be repaired. Bush himself is completely discredited as a leader. No one believes he has the capacity to successfully implement ANY policy, no matter how many elder statemen step in to provide ideas or political cover. I think that's why the ISG didn't suggested boosting troop levels, a draft, or any dramatic action to "win" in Iraq--Bush cannot call for dramatic action because no one will follow him anywhere ever again.

    That is the real crisis we are facing. Bush has painted himself into a corner, but we're trapped there with him.

  • (Show?)

    I wish I could say that TomCat's assessment up-thread were unduly cynical, but I have the sick feeling that his take will actually be not far from what we will witness... while each day we will continue to get more troops killed, kill more Iraqis, catastrophically maim and injury more troops, catastrophically maim and injury more Iraqis, create more radicals that will hit us down the road for the aformentioned killing and maiming, and flush another 2 odd million down the toliet... but hey, at least we won't let gays be treated as equal citizens under the law, and will take up the ever crucial debate about the patently false notion that blastocysts feel pain, so all is not lost.


  • Karl Smiley (unverified)

    I don't know if much will come of the ISG either. What i find more hopeful is the National Salvation Front forming in Iraq. It's made up of several major sunni, secular, christian, Turkoman, Yazidi, some Kurdish groups and, very importantly, AlSadr and his Shia followers. All the groups who want to save the integrity of Iraq. It's too bad Bush has backed himself into the corner of training and arming the Iranian backed SCIRI, Dawa and Badr corp and their death squads that make up much of the "Iraq Army".

    I guess we should be thankful that the ISG panel is at least slightly less arrogant and ignorant than the Bushies.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    When a CEO screws up, they either resign or they are fired.

    Time for Bush to resign.

  • LT (unverified)

    Steve, If Bush resigned, that would make Cheney president!

    On the topic of this post, I think ISG report is a ticking time bomb too many who are close to the issues fail to see.

    As one commentator said, it "sobered up the debate". No longer can the debate be "stay the course and pursue victory vs cut and run". McCain just looks like an angry old man after what Alan Simpson said about how they'd be attacked from all sides, and that it was better in the old days when he and Leon Panetta could meet socially over a piece of legislation and say "that part is history but we might be able to compromise on this part".

    A commission containing James Baker (Bush better not diss him---he'd never have been named president without him) Lawrence Eagleburger, Ed Meese and Sandra Day O'Connor cut thru the fog of Bush propaganda. Can't claim they are partisan Democrats. Listen closely to Baker and others saying "this is the only bipartisan advice you are going to get".

    Anybody here remember 1979? I recall reading an article back then with Gov. Reagan stirring up debate by saying the incumbent president had allowed military readiness to deteriorate. Where's the politician who starts doing that in the next few months when it is truer than it was in 1979?

    What is Jean Schmidt going to say of this--that Marines never cut and run?

    I called Gordon Smith's office today and talked to a very nice young man. Said I had a friend who had done 2 tours of duty in Iraq and is now in Afghanistan, but if I'd said some of the things in the ISG report before the election there were Republicans who would have called me a Defeatocrat who doesn't support the troops--are they going to call the Republicans on the ISG those names in public? Isn't it time for Republicans to admit there is a problem in Iraq? He didn't argue with me.

    Then I said "Anyone who is running for re-election the next time around has to make a decision. Either this is as serious as WWII in which case there should be a draft, or those who support current policy should publicly be asking young people they know to enlist, or there should be a public statement that everyone who has served in Iraq has to do one more tour there because we are short of troops, and everyone in the Individual Ready Reserve who is not in a wheelchair should be told they'll be shipping out to Iraq in the coming months."

    OR it is time to admit the military has done all the military can do, there needs to be a political solution, and it is time to figure out a way to bring the troops home. Even the ISG Republicans are painting a picture which looks so dire that Bush and his supporters would have bashed anyone else saying the same words. It was pretty clear from the young man's voice that he wasn't debating me and he might have gulped in shock at some of the things I said. Actions have consequences, and are Republicans really going to tell a majority of the country that Baghdad must be secure before we leave even if that bankrupts the country, has casualties in every town in America, and has lots of military retiring to get away from the mess?

    In a soft voice, the young man said "I will pass your comments on to the Senator".

    I don't know what will happen in Iraq, but I am pleased that there are ISG people talking about the responsibility of the Iraqis and that Americans should decide where our military is deployed, not a foreign country. I keep thinking back to 1979-80 and what someone with Reagan's public speaking skills would be doing if he were in the "out " party now and running for national office.

  • TomCat (unverified)

    Sorry if my earlier comments sounded cynical, but experience has taught me a simple formula for predicting Bush's actions. I take the most logical, reasonable, humane, and proper option and discard it. Next I find next best option and discard that too. I repeat the process until all options are gone except the very worst. Then I know. Yesterday Bush rejected the commissions position on troop withdrawals, negotiations with Iran and Syria, and pressuring Israel to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians. He said we are "not succeeding as fast" as he had hoped. Hello? We're not succeeding, period! Bush is stuck on "stay the course."

    Time for the hearings to begin. It's time for a regime change.

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    Steve's right. Bush and Cheney should both resign. But they're probably going to want to see how the war crimes trials work out for Rummy before giving up their immunity as heads of state.

  • djk (unverified)

    When a CEO screws up, they either resign or they are fired.

    I don't think this ever applied to Bush, because of the "unless your employers need your political connections, in which case you can screw up as much as you like without consequences" exception.

    Bush never has accepted responsibiity for anything he's messed up in his entire life. Why should he start now? Daddy's friends will bail him out again, just like always.

    Bush himself is completely discredited as a leader. No one believes he has the capacity to successfully implement ANY policy, no matter how many elder statemen step in to provide ideas or political cover.

    If Bush resigned, that would make Cheney president!

    Like that would make a huge difference? Dump the puppet so we can see the puppet-master? But yeah, "President Cheney" is a near iron-clad defense against possible impeachment attempts.

    This is the problem I have. At this point, I wouldn't trust Bush to get a breakfast order right, let alone make and implement policy decisions. Putting politics aside, I have zero faith in his intellect, judgment, or general competence to to anything.

  • Just A Dem Voter (unverified)

    If Bush resigned, that would make Cheney president, but only for the few months that remain in his current term in office, and he would be a disgraced leader for that short time.

    If Bush/Cheney successfully complete this term in office without oversight, and the Democratic party leadership is already on record as refusing to perform their duty of oversight ("impeachment is off the table"), that will make Cheney a front runner in '08, and more of the same behavior we see in the current administration by a future Cheney administration or whoever else the Republicans choose.

    It's painfully clear even to Democrats that the Democratic leadership are a bunch of invertebrates. They will do nothing at all about what the ISG report suggests. The report will drop off the radar in a month or so. It is fading already, and Bush is largely ignoring it.

  • LT (unverified)

    Dear "Just a Dem".

    Not having impeachment straight out of the box is not the same thing as lack of leadership.

    Cheney has never said he plans to run for Pres.---and if he did the health of his heart would be a major issue. Not to mention his actions over the last 6 years.

    What we need is full serious oversight hearings (modeled on the Truman Comm. looking into WWII profiteering while WWII was going on) and during the next year proving that with the 5 day work Congressional week (which some Republicans have called "anti-family" not realizing how many families have members working 5 or more days a week) they can pass budgets before the deadline.

    Kathleen Parker has never been a columnist I agree with, but today there was a very complimentary ("may the force be with you") column saying Obama attracts so much support because as a positive person he inspires people and they like his "implentarian" attitude where he worries about how things work rather than just whose ideology is winning.

    <h2>The ISG report is on sale in bookstores and I think also available online. The public would not allow Democrats to forget it even if Bush ignores it. What we are about to see is a "turn of the tide" year when the entire culture in DC changes and Bush becomes only one power center and a weak one at that.</h2>
in the news 2006

connect with blueoregon