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?".
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