That is what I would like to say some people right now. The subject being the Iraq Survey Group. The 9/11 Commission did nothing to inspire confidence when it comes to grandstanding politicians and I doubt very much that the soon to be released report from the Iraq Survey Group will break that trend. But I think we should wait until it is released before we assume it signals that the end is near for victory in Iraq. In truth the Iraqis will decide that in the long run in any event.
For that matter we do not know if Bush will accept and follow any or all of its recommendations.
In this Washington Post article the authors end the piece with this paragraph:
Within the panel, staffers and expert consultants have waged warfare by memo as idealists argue with pragmatists over particulars: Retired CIA officer Ray Close complained in one such memo that the deliberations "had degenerated into petty squabbling" and accused "obstinate neocon diehards" of trying to fashion a "stay the course" strategy.
With the assistance of the U.S. Institute of Peace and other Washington think tanks, panel members have heard testimony from a wide range of administration officials and outside experts, and have traveled to Iraq for several days of interviews with senior U.S. diplomats and military officials, as well as Iraqi leaders. Baker, who seems intrigued by the idea of gaining greater assistance in Iraq from U.S. adversaries, had a three-hour dinner in New York with Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations. Zarif hosted the dinner at his elegant ambassador's residence.
Baker made clear that he was not negotiating for the United States but that the commission wanted Iran's input and suggestions. He specifically asked about the possibilities for cooperation between Tehran and Washington on Iraq, according to Iranian sources.
Such contacts have invited skepticism from some of the prominent neoconservatives who strongly pushed the invasion of Iraq but have come to be critical of the administration for not aggressively striving for military victory. They said the notion that Iran would help the United States out of its troubles in Iraq is ludicrous.
"There's no doubt that the majority of the people in this group, either as advisers or principals, either opposed the war or forgot that they were in favor of it," said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who was one of several dozen official expert advisers to the Baker-Hamilton group.
However, Gerecht and William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, said they believe their views received a respectful hearing from the panel. Kristol related a curious anecdote from his September appearance before the panel to promote a plan to provide more troops for security in Baghdad and elsewhere.
Then-panel member Robert M. Gates -- who quit the group Friday after Bush nominated him as defense secretary -- asked Kristol why he thought the president was so determined to stick with Donald H. Rumsfeld as the Pentagon chief.
Kristol replied that he was mystified -- at which point, as he recalled it, Baker interjected with the comment, "Well, you can't expect the president to do anything until after the election."
I have heard all kinds of things about this report. I have heard it is a surrender and I have heard that its purpose will be to give cover for Democrats who want to support the war without supporting Bush.
But one thing I have not heard is that it will call for a withdrawal of our troops. Right now it seems that every report, every remark, every event is seen as something larger than it is. Blair says that Iran can be an ally if it ends its nuclear ambitions and its meddling in Iraq and the headlines say Blair splits from Bush says Iran can be ally.Of course that is not true. So why all of a sudden are we prepared to believe everything and anything the press tell us?
I say we should hold our fire until we really know what we are dealing with. What would it hurt?
GREAT PRESIDENTIAL ACHIEVEMENTS
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