Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iraq Study Group to Report Today

As we wait for the report to be issued, here are some things to look at:

The Iraq Study Group Homepage - the report will be available at 11:00 am.

Bush has already met with Baker and Hamilton, and calls the report "very tough" and vows to take it seriously: (from

"I will take it very seriously and we will act on it in a timely fashion," Bush told reporters at the White House after meeting with the group for about an hour.

"This report gives a very tough assessment of the situation in Iraq. It is a report that brings some really very interesting proposals," Bush said.
Report calls for talks with Iran and Syria:

Leaks of the report suggest that the ISG will encourage the U.S. to reach out for more help on Iraq's security — including Iran and Syria as part of a larger group — and to gradually change the mission of U.S. troops from combat to training and support, with a broad goal of withdrawing the Americans by early 2008.

The president has resisted engagement with Iran and Syria, which the U.S. accuse of being bad actors on the world stage as well as fomenting instability in Iraq. Bush has rejected any timetable for U.S. troop drawdowns.

But the White House also insists that the examinations, including an administration review of military options led by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be considered.

USA Today blog on expected reccomendations:
• President Bush should set specific security benchmarks for the Iraqi government and threaten to pull support if it fails to meet them.
• The Pentagon should "withdraw nearly all combat units by early 2008 while leaving behind tens of thousands of troops to advise, train and embed with Iraqi forces," the Washington Post reported.
• Bush should "aggressively tackle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute to reduce the broader regional tensions fueling the Iraq conflict," according to the Post.
• U.S. diplomats should hold talks with Iran and Syria about stopping the violence in Iraq.
• Iraq's neighbors should be brought to together for a regional conference.
• Sources told CNN a major theme "is a blunt assessment that the mission in Iraq will fail unless the Bush administration and the newly elected Democratic Congress come together on a bipartisan basis to deal with the declining support for the war within the United States."
Here's what others are saying:

Rick Moran of Redstate on the commission report:
Today is the day that the Iraq Study Group will deliver its not so secret recommendations on how we can best pull out of Iraq without leaving behind a bloody mess, regional chaos, increased Iranian influence, and a helpless, toothless, Iraqi government dominated by theocrats and thugs.
This is our new battle cry; "We must mitigate defeat!"

Stirring, isn't it? Not quite the ring that "Remember the Alamo" has but then, this is the 21st century and such patriotic and emotional displays are frowned upon by the blue blooded "wise men" of the ISG who have labored long and hard to produce this recipe for American retreat.

Paul Seale of Redstate:
What I am concerned about is what the media is already talking about. Apparently it is being leaked that the group is recommending that "President Bush to move most U.S. troops out of combat roles by early 2008," yet it supposedly does not set any hard time tables.

Uh, so what do you call a urge to pull out by early 2008?

Perhaps what is so maddening about this whole affair is how we are seemingly hanging out to dry our troops who are taking the fight to our enemies, and by proxy, siding with those who wish to do us harm.

Andrew McCarthy of NR:
Some, like congressional Democrats, a growing chorus of disaffected Republicans, the vaunted Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, and departing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, think the answer is fewer American troops. Others, prominently including National Review’s Rich Lowry, aptly point out that the only stable precincts in Iraq (at least outside the Kurdish region, the war’s much ignored success story) are those that enjoy a high concentration of American troops. Wherever we see the political establishment’s preference for a light U.S. footprint, chaos reigns.
McCarthy says view Iraq as a battle, not the war:
There is only one good reason for American troops to be in Iraq. It is the reason we sent them there in 2003: To fight and win the “war on terror” — i.e., the war against radical Islam — by deposing rogue regimes helping the terror network wage a long-term, existential jihad against the United States. You can argue that Iraq was the wrong rogue to start with; but destroying radical Islam’s will and its capacity to project power is what the war is about.

Iraq is but a single battlefield in that war. It is not “the war.” Stabilizing or even — mirabile dictu! — democratizing Iraq is not winning the war. It is the overseas equivalent of rebuilding the World Trade Center. The hard reality is that war exacts a terrible toll and its fallout must be addressed. This is why we hate war and resort to it only in the face of greater evils. But cleaning up war’s unavoidable messes is not the same as winning.

Winning the war means taking on the regimes and factions that are waging it. That is what the president promised to do after 9/11. “You’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.”

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