Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Iraq Study Group Report: Indispensable Uselessness?

Posted by K.E. White on December 7, 2006

  • The Pro-Side

NYTimes Editorial Board

Iraq is so far gone that nobody expected the panel to come up with a breakthrough solution. As the co-chairmen…began their letter accompanying yesterday’s report, “there is no magic formula to solve the problems of Iraq.” And the study was never going to change the basic facts: there is no victory to be had in Iraq, and however American troops withdraw, they will leave behind a deadly mess…

The world has watched as Mr. Bush painted himself into a corner and then insisted it was a strategic decision. Even the Iraqis are trying to provide cover to for him to come tiptoeing back to the real world. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s call for a regional conference on Iraq would allow the administration to get past its refusal to talk to Tehran and Damascus, by saying that ban was never meant to include Iraqi initiatives.

The Iraq report is a deeply diplomatic document, stuffed with “coulds” and “mights.” It is, all in all, exactly the kind of shades-of-gray thinking that Mr. Bush despises, and exactly what he needs to get the country out of the hole he has dug.

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  • Counter-Argument

Fred Kaplan’s The Iraq Study Group Chickens Out

The report of the Iraq Study Group—which Baker co-chaired with Lee Hamilton, that other Wise Man-wannabe—was doomed to fall short of expectations. But who knew it would amount to such an amorphous, equivocal grab bag.

Its outline of a new “diplomatic offensive” is so disjointed that even a willing president would be left puzzled by what precisely to do, and George W. Bush seems far from willing.

Its scheme for a new military strategy contains so many loopholes that a president could cite its language to justify doing anything (or nothing)…

In other words, the bedrock question about Iraq—whether U.S. troop levels should go up or down—is left unanswered…

It’s [Iraq is] a mess. Not even Jim Baker really knows what to do about it.

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