Iraq Study Group Punts

They've reached a consensus and will call for a "major withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq," but hey, don't worry about when. No big deal. Just do it when you feel like it.
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This is what happens when you get a bunch of prominent people together, none of whom have any Middle East or military experience, and set them loose on recommendations for something as complex as the Iraq war. You don't get jack back.

They've reached a consensus and will call for a "major withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq," but hey, don't worry about when. No big deal. Just do it when you feel like it.

It's premature to judge, but coming from The New York Times and Thomas Ricks and Robin Wright, you have to trust what they're saying for now. This leak about the commission's direction points to one word: worthless.

The Iraq Study Group, which wrapped up eight months of deliberations yesterday, has reached a consensus and will call for a major withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, shifting the U.S. role from combat to support and advising, according to a source familiar with the deliberations.

But the recommendation includes a series of conditions and qualifications that would govern any drawdown of forces, the source said. "It describes a process by which combat brigades could be pulled out, but there wasn't a specific timetable on it," he said. The source demanded anonymity because members of the bipartisan panel have been pledged to secrecy until the report is officially issued Dec. 6.

The issue of a timeline for drawing down troops -- both a specific date to begin a withdrawal and the pace -- had been major points of contention within the panel. The Bush administration has firmly rejected specifying a date for withdrawal, but Democrats have favored setting a time frame as a way to put pressure on the Iraqi government. ...

Study Group to Call for Pullback
But Iraq Panel Has No Timetable

Translation: no one wants to touch this Mesopotamian hot potato. But according to Ricks and Wright, the ISG took 100 pages to deliver jack, plus some junk.

Thus, even if the combat forces were withdrawn, the person familiar with the group's thinking noted, the recommendation envisions keeping in Iraq a "substantial" U.S. military force.

Ah yes, it's so much easier doing nothing substantial than actually sticking your neck out to get us out.

They're already patting themselves on the back for "reaching a consensus." Well, swell, we've got agreement to do the bare minimum in order to save the U.S. Armed Forces: withdraw down to 70,000 troops, which is what I've been saying every day on my radio show for weeks. That's a no brainer.

Meanwhile, we are going to be treated to all manner of we need to make progress in -- submit your monthly allotment here -- from everyone else.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That's Bush's strategery in Iraq, which the Iraq Study Group has basically sanctioned, because their suggestions offer no teeth at all, which was always the predicted outcome.

Absent a serious march on Washington, which there is no indication would have real appeal except to attract wackos who would distract from it's importance, we're going to be stuck in Iraq past 2008, with the presidential election consumed with this long-term occupation. If John McCain wins, he'll escalate. If Hillary Clinton wins it will be status quo. Without a significant anti Iraq war candidate, long-term bases will exist way over the horizon. Right now, that man is Barack Obama, however, I get no sense that he's got the courage to redeploy our troops. James Webb, maybe. I'd call for Al Gore, but he doesn't want the job either.

Democrats, welcome to the moment. Use it or lose it.

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