Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Report Cometh!

The Iraq Study Group has spoken. Their report goes public sometime today. It may chart a new course out of the current troubles. It may offer inanities consistent with Inside-the-Beltway politics.

From the WP:

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group plans to recommend to President Bush that he threaten to reduce economic and military support for Iraq's government if it fails to meet specific benchmarks intended to improve security in the country, a source familiar with the report said yesterday.

The congressionally chartered panel, which is due to deliver its much-anticipated report to Bush at the White House this morning and then unveil it to the public, outlined diplomatic and military ideas intended to change the course of the 44-month-old war. Among other things, the source said, the report urges Bush to aggressively tackle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute to reduce the broader regional tensions fueling the Iraq conflict.

The latest details to emerge from the commission's report help flesh out a plan that also calls for the United States to 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 report suggests that the Bush administration open talks with Iran and Syria about ways to end the violence in Iraq and proposes holding a regional conference to bring together all of Iraq's neighbors.

Some proposals in the report track measures that the administration is already carrying out or is considering, but several directly challenge Bush in areas in which he has refused to compromise. The president has rejected talking with Iran and Syria and has resisted linking the Iraq war to the Palestinian issue. He has dismissed timetables for troop withdrawals, although the panel cites 2008 as a goal rather than a firm deadline. He has also declined to punish Iraqis for not making progress in establishing security.

Although the study group will present its plan as a much-needed course change in Iraq, many of its own advisers concluded during its deliberations that the war is essentially already lost, according to private correspondence obtained yesterday and interviews with participants. The best the commission could put forward would be the "least bad" of many bad options, as former ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer wrote.

Yes: Let's collaborate with Iran and Syria. We'll implement their foreign policy for them. No problem. It's not as if their manipulations of Iraq thwart our interests and threaten the region with a twisted hegemony. Oh, no. Not them. They're the good guys with the know here!

And how does resolving the Israel-Palestinian question resolve the blood feuds between Shia and Sunni groups?

The US should hold the Iraqi government accountable for security measures that work. The Administration considered a troop roll-back as Iraqi forces strengthened and became more capable of enforcing security. These recommendations coincide with common sense, at least.

The other parts, as revealed by the WP, sound more like the defeatist murmers of the Howard Dean Left then the practical insights of Foreign Policy "realists." The US will not benefit from collaboration with two parties that have already sought to destabilize Iraq. The President should reject such calls.

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