It's too little, too late.
The so-called “The bipartisan Iraq Study Group” (actually heavily weighted to the right wing, and including zero progressive Democrats) has produced its recommendation. And while they deliberated, Iraq slid into chaos.
The NYT has the leak at Iraq Panel to Recommend Pullback of Combat Troops.
The report recommends that troops move away from the heart of combat (“a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq”). Some day.
But here's the thing: there's no timetable (Chairman James Baker didn't want one),
The report recommends that Mr. Bush make it clear that he intends to start the withdrawal relatively soon, and people familiar with the debate over the final language said the implicit message was that the process should begin sometime next year.
That “implicit message” would of course be aimed at that master detector of nuance, George W. Bush.
And that would be the same George W. Bush who said just two days ago that, “there's one thing I’m not going to do: I’m not going to pull the troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.”
(Remind me again what “the mission” is please?)
The inside-the-beltway politics are clear:
“I think everyone felt good about where we ended up,” one person involved in the commission’s debates said after the group ended its meeting. “It is neither 'cut and run' nor ‘stay the course.'”
No, it's “stay the course” for a while then “cut and run.” With “run to where” left open — maybe to laagers in the Iraqi desert — just don't call them “permanent bases”. (“The report leaves unstated whether the 15 combat brigades that are the bulk of American fighting forces in Iraq would be brought home, or simply pulled back to bases in Iraq or in neighboring countries.”)
It's amazing that anyone involved could feel “good” about this report: if followed, it will have hundreds of our soldiers killed and wounded before the now inevitable departure. And for what exactly? Or even approximately?