According to the New York Times, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton will recommend "a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal."
Really, this should come as no grand surprise. Look at the election results folks. Heck, look at the red ink spewing out of the beltway.
It might have been interesting to hear folks parse the difference between "pullback" and "withdrawal" ... assuming this semantical divide came from the ISG and not the NYT ... but withdraw (ie, remove American bodies from Iraq) we must. Sometime. That's the rub, isn't it, the "when" part?
I remain concerned about whatever we do because "we broke it, so we have to fix it" -- it's not unlike breaking a plate in a china shop. We're liable, ethically.
The Washington Post says the 100 page report "will offer a comprehensive look at regional political and security issues as well as the troubled U.S. deployment in Iraq, according to sources close to the panel." In addition:
The findings dovetail with recommendations being considered by the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are conducting their own review of Iraq policy. That group is leaning toward an option that involves a brief surge of troops in Iraq, followed by a partial drawdown and a shift from combat operations to training and advising, according to sources familiar with the process. Troops would remain in Iraq for five to 10 years under this option, which is known within the military as "go long."
Both the NYT and the WaPo say that the report -- and maybe the JCoS -- say the US military should be handing over the reins to Iraq security forces, doing back-up as it were. There's nothing new here, folks! This has been "the plan" -- to the extent that there has been a plan -- from the get go. How many times have we seen a report that in N-months, Iraq security/police will take over X-things? Anyone?
Then N-months later ... there are more promises. Heck, we can't even build a police academy that meets modern construction standards.