Iraq: US

With no good options in Iraq the usual tough guys are coming up with the usual tough language: “Crack down” will be the operative word.

The Iraq Study Group, filled with men who have done little good in the world, will exercise their muscle over a draft report written by their staff after interviewing all the other tough guys in the area. As usual, if you don’t have a gun your opinion won’t matter. As usual nothing will be said about the men and ideas who got us into the situation. It wouldn’t do to ridicule, we might need the strategy again some day.

A draft report on strategies for Iraq, which will be debated here by a bipartisan commission beginning Monday, urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria but sets no timetables for a military withdrawal, according to officials who have seen all or parts of the document. …

President Bush is not bound by the commission’s recommendations, and during a trip to Southeast Asia that ended just before Thanksgiving, he made it clear that he would also give considerable weight to studies under way by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his own National Security Council.

Administration officials appear to be taking steps that will enable them to declare that they are already implementing parts of the Baker-Hamilton report, even before its release. On Saturday, Vice President Dick Cheney flew to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with King Abdullah, whom he has known for 17 years.

US Panel

Meanwhile, the President of Iraq, Jalal Talibani, not to be confused with the Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, is having a reunion with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
while Syria’s President Bashar Assad is playing coy, perhaps in expectation of even bigger fish flopping into his pan.

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