The Iraq Study Group

     On Wednesday, December 6, 2006, the Iraq Study Group submitted its report to President George W. Bush and then to the rest of the world. This group of highly regarded and distinguished Americans, five each Democrats and Republicans was formed by Congress at the beginning of this year and asked to study the situation in Iraq and to make findings and recommendations as to how to bring the current situation to an acceptable conclusion in a truly bi-partisan way. The commission was co-chaired by James Baker, former Secretary of State under President Bush 41 and Lee Hamilton, a former Congressman from Indiana. Their report consists of 79 recommendations and has been read by those who the report is addressed to, the President, his advisors, and the members of Congress.
     In subsequent meetings with members of Congress Chairman James Baker stated that “the White House must not treat this report like a fruit salad and say I like this but I don’t like that.” He calls the study a comprehensive strategy. Baker’s Co-Chairman Lee Hamilton called on the members of Congress “to abandon its extremely timid approach to overseeing the war.” In our interpretation, this means that President Bush better accept all 79 recommendations and that Congress better ride herd on the man in the White House.
     Let’s look at some of the recommendations: Number 19, for instance, suggests that “the President and his advisors maintain close contact with the leadership of the current Iraqi Government”. Hello, does anybody think or believe that they are not doing that already? Another recommendation in the report calls on Syria to agree to a peace deal with Israel in return for the Golan Heights and that Syria should stop its interference in Lebanon and drop its support for Hezbollah. President Bush should also “ask Iran to stop the flow of arms and training to Iraq, to use its influence with Iraqi Shia groups to encourage national reconciliation”. There are no concrete suggestions by this group of ten so called foreign policy experts (some of them probably could not find Iraq on a world map) as to how to go about it other than that the US Government should start talking to all parties in the region. How do you do that with Iran’s President Ahmadinejad who ends every one of his speeches with “Death to America, the great Satan?”
     This report reminds us of Will Rogers, America’s finest humorist of his time, who had a suggestion during World War I for getting rid of German submarines: “All we have to do is heat up the ocean to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Then the subs will have to surface, and we can pick them up one by one. Now, somebody’s going to want to know how to warm up that ocean. Well, I’m not going to worry about that. It is a matter of detail, and I’m a policy maker.”
     This esteemed study group must have taken a similar approach to coming up with those 79 recommendations, and President Bush better not cherry pick but pursue and implement them all. Never mind how to go about accomplishing them when you are dealing with dictators, potentates, fanatical Ayatollahs and royalty in the Middle East, “that’s detail” as Will Rogers called it.
     It is sad to see that something so naïve is regarded so highly in many circles of America. Maybe this group should be rewarded for their excellent study report and given another assignment: Let them come up with recommendations for dealing with our Immigration/Border problems with Mexico. The acronym for the group (ISG) would not even have to be changed, it would become the Immigration Study Group!
     This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation.   It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material.  We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.

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One Response to The Iraq Study Group

  1. Rudy Schneider says:

    Great article and to the point. The group’s recommendations should be answered with a suggestion: “Don’t lose your reputations as wise men, another one like this and you might be referred to as wisenheimers. If you are 65, you should simply enjoy retirement.”

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