Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Iraq Study Group Playing Politics By Not Playing Politics

On March 15, 2006, Congress announced the formation of the Iraq Study Group charged with delivering an independent assessment of the situation in Iraq. The ISG is led by longtime Bush confidant James A. Baker and 9/11 Co-Chariman Lee Hamilton.

The two held a press conference last Tuedsay to announce that they have nothing to annouce. In order to keep the grim outlook in Iraq -- the most crucial issue in the November election -- out of the election, the group will not release it's report til after the 110th Congress is seated. Could this be the second NIE Rep Harman talked about? This ordeal has NYT Wiretapping scandal written all over it. By withholding this report from the public til after the election (when it won't make a difference) the Baker-led group is keeping valuable information from the voters that could very well alter the election. Well, I guess that's the idea.

Although Mr. Baker insists "we have said from Day One that we were going to report after the midterm election", he, in fact, said on Day One -- the commission's launch on March 15, 2006 -- that "we have not set a time frame" and that "we may come forward with some interim reports."

As Dana Milbank notes:

As a general rule, it's a bad idea to call a news conference if you have nothing to say. It's worse if you announce that answers are urgently needed but then decline to provide any.


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