Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Advance ISG
The papers are rife with stories of the anticipated release of the Hamilton-Baker commission report on Iraq:
The ISG's final report, which had unanimous approval, will focus in large part on recommending the Bush administration should pursue a more agressive (sic) diplomacy, which should include, as expected, direct talks with Iran and Syria. There seems to have been little disagreement among commission members on the diplomatic front, and most of the debate was centered on whether the ISG should recommend a specific timeline for troop withdrawal.
Duh. Join the crowd.
In the end, commission members decided against mentioning specifics, citing fears that any dates would merely bolster the insurgency. Democratic members of the commission also said they got the feeling James Baker didn't want to put forth a recommendation that Bush has specifically rejected numerous times. "What they ended up with appears to be a classic Washington compromise: a report that sets no explicit timetable but, between the lines, appears to have one built in," the NYT states near the end of its story.
Baker's got to be careful to keep those statesman creds polished. He also knows who he's dealing with .... Plus, shooting for a concensus report made any conclusion doomed to be vague.
Barring any unexpected revelations next week, it's pretty safe to say a common reaction might be: Is this it? And that is exactly the kind of reaction some commission members seem to have before the release, says the LAT. "I think expectations of our group are seriously overrated," former Sen. Alan K. Simpson, a commission member, said. The Pentagon and the White House are also creating their own reviews, but they're all faced with pretty much three main options, which the USAT helpfully outlines for those needing a refresher. Apparently worried that the Pentagon review would also be the victim of high expectations, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned yesterday the country should not anticipate any definitive conclusions.
They're seriously lowering expectations. The reaction is likely to be just that ... "is that all there is?".

Using Atrio's coined term, everyone is looking, and wishing, for a spanking new pony from Santi Claus for Christmas. The Iraq Study Group was the latest greatest hope of the Washington wisemen that we'd all get our miracle pony in the form of a "new" way for "victory" in Iraq. It will be yet another disappointment when two things happen. First, the ISG will have nothing new to offer because there's isn't anything new available. In short, there's no such thing as pony's for Xmas. Second, Bush will ignore whatever is recommended. His stubborness will not allow him to do anything that even has a wiff of the smell of leaving Iraq a mess.

It just ain't gonna happen.

If you'll remember, it wasn't until Congress literally cut funding for Vietnam that Nixon was forced to finally accept a deal with the Vietcong that had been on the table for years (and over the course of thousands more killed). We're in for a repeat unless an new President is elected on a get-out-of-Iraq platform.

Update: "Some" say that Bush is going to quadruple-down and have a final battle of Baghdad with al Sadr. Frankly I think this is much more likely than any withdrawal. The only question is, where are the troops going to come from? And even if you add troops, can you imagine American troops fighting in Sadr City, (pop. 2 to 3 million al Sadr supporters)? It's been a long time since the U.S. "lost an army". But if our dry drunk-gambler preznit decides to go for the gusto, we certain could find an American army simply swamped in resistance.