Technorati tags: politics; war; congress; Bush will try to treat the findings of the Iraq Study Group like he treated the 9-11 Commission report -- as if it never happened
Now that the Iraq Study Group's come out with it's report (Full report here, key excerpts here), I think there's a good chance that it'll be treated with as much reverence by the Bush administration as the 9/11 Commission report was. Reports which have findings the Bushies don't like tend to get a lot of praise, then thrown in the trash when no one's looking.
And they're not going to like this. "The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating," it tells us, and, "By the first quarter of 2008, subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq." In a major bitch-slap to administration policies, the James Baker tells us, "We do not recommend a stay-the-course solution." Which is good, because there is no course. Iraq policy is completely rudderless.
President Bush made happy talk about acting on the ISG's recommendations:
White House Press Office:
THE PRESIDENT: I just received the Iraq Study Group report, prepared by a distinguished panel of our fellow citizens. I want to thank James Baker and Lee Hamilton and the panel members for spending a lot of time on this really difficult issue. And I thank you for coming into the White House today to give me a copy of this report.
I told the members that this report, called "The Way Forward," will be taken very seriously by this administration. This report gives a very tough assessment of the situation in Iraq. It is a report that brings some really very interesting proposals, and we will take every proposal seriously and we will act in a timely fashion.
Golly, that gets me all nostalgic for the happy talk about the 9/11 Commission report:
"The 9/11 commission’s recommendations will help guide our efforts," said the president. "We will carefully examine all the commission’s ideas on how we can improve our ongoing efforts to protect America and to prevent another attack."
In fact, Bush said there'd be action on the 9/11 Commission report "within weeks." That was July, 2004. By December of 2005, the commission released it's final report. It had been tasked with recommending changes, then following up with a report tracking action on its recommendations. The final report wasn't good.
The federal government received failing and mediocre grades yesterday from the former Sept. 11 commission, whose members said in a final report that the Bush administration and Congress have balked at enacting numerous reforms that could save American lives and prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
The 10-member bipartisan panel -- whose book-length report about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks became a surprise bestseller -- issued a "report card" that included 5 F's, 12 D's and two "incompletes" in categories including airline passenger screening and improving first responders' communication system.
So much for getting right on those recommendations 'within weeks,' Bush ignored them almost immediately.
Of course, Bush had a robot clone army in congress after the 9/11 Commission report. They weren't going to do anything they hadn't been instructed to by the White House. Bush doesn't have that luxury now.
"We will make our nation safer and we will begin by implementing the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission," incoming Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said. How likely is it that a dem-controlled congress will sit by and let Bush ignore the recommendations of the ISG?
Bush may find himself in a situation he's unused to -- that of being irrelevant and having no choice.
UPDATE: Did I call it or what?
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush rebuffed key recommendations from the Iraq Study Group but agreed after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to launch a new Middle East peace push.
The embattled US president announced that Blair would soon travel to the region for talks with Israel and the Palestinians and promised "concerted efforts to advance the cause of peace."
A day after getting the heavyweight Iraq commission's stinging report, Bush kept tight conditions on any talks with Iran and Syria and refused to endorse the panel's target date of early 2008 for withdrawing most US combat troops.
"I've always said we'd like our troops out as fast as possible," he said, while insisting on the need to be "flexible and realistic" and tying any change in troop level to advice from US military commanders, as he has in the past.