Back in 2006, the Iraq Study Group said that all U.S. combat brigades in Iraq should be out by now. They also warned that an escalation, or "surge," "would not solve the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq."
Rudy Giuliani is in damage control mode, now that people have noticed that during his two-month tour as a member of the Iraq Study Group he missed two meetings in order to make paid appearances. The candidate called his participation in the group a mistake, both because he intended to run for office and because it "didn't seem that I would really be able to keep the thing focused on a bipartisan, nonpolitical resolution."
Over the president's objections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to visit the president of Syria next weekend. Pelosi's spokesman said the meeting was inspired by the Iraq Study Group, which recommended engaging regional players -- a recommendation the Bush administration has so far ignored.
The president has delayed a speech announcing possible changes in his Iraq strategy because, according to White House press secretary Tony Snow, he didn't feel it was ready. Snow was careful to say that didn't mean Bush was planning last-minute changes. Does that mean an ineffective strategy should remain in place, with the death toll mounting, because the rhetoric needs work?
Columnist and comedian Will Durst explores the irony of delivering a report to a president who doesn't read. Of the Iraq Study Group's 79 recommendations, Durst writes: "Unfortunately none of them involved the President and his entire Cabinet resigning, proving perhaps this study group should've studied more."
Despite all the attention focused on the Iraq Study Group's report, one of its more damaging allegations has largely escaped media scrutiny: The Pentagon and intelligence agencies are drastically underreporting acts of violence in Iraq. The panel said that one day the U.S. reported 93 acts of violence when in fact there were more than 1,100. (h/t: Randi Rhodes)
Sen Russ Feingold critiques the Iraq Study Group report and argues for a more holistic approach to counter-terrorism: "The Iraq Study Group essentially sees Iraq the same way that most of official Washington does -- as the be-all and end-all of our foreign and national security policy Nothing could be further from the truth".
The Iraq Study Group Report makes clear that you can't whip up a representative government by buying a cake mix or holding a single election and declaring victory.
Responding to the Iraq Study Group report on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said talks with Syria were not possible, and that President Bush wasn't interested in speaking to Damascus either: "I can only say that the opinions I heard from the president and from all senior administration staff on the Syrian issue are such that he did not see a feasibility in talks".