Today, all of Washington is abuzz about the Baker-Hamilton report. Obviously, it is very encouraging to see some of the heaviest hitters in Washington come together to make clear that a new course is needed in Iraq, and that the President's strategy, or lack thereof, is destroying our military and security. But, ultimately, the question is whether the President will take this seriously.
The Bush administration has continued to deny the reality that is Iraq: a failed government, a weak military and police force comprised mostly of sectarian fighters, and a civil war that threatens to engulf not just Iraq but the entire region. Coming just after the November mid-term elections, the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group is the second reality check President Bush and company has received in as many months.
The President must pay attention. We Iraq and Afghanistan vets are happy to see that the Iraq Study Group has recommended specific changes to the administration's current policies in Iraq. We agree that a wider diplomatic effort is required to help resolve this conflict as favorably as possible. We also support the commission's proposal to tie military and economic support of the Iraqi government to that government meeting specific benchmarks. However, it is important that those benchmarks be clearly enumerated and sustained.
Sadly, this report has come way too late, after far too many unnecessary deaths in Iraq. However, given where we are now, the question remains: Will the President and his party finally accept the sober truth and implement these recommendations, or will they continue to operate outside of reality?