Let's start with the first sentence.
The truth is Americans favor a pullout, not a wait-and-see approach, which is essentially what the Baker commission is, except now we're adding in some "diplomacy." As if the Bush administration were even capable of talking to Syria and Iran. After all, President Bush's idea of diplomacy is nominating a guy who detests the United Nations to the United Nations. So, no, we didn't reach any "middle ground" consensus.
THE IRAQ STUDY Group presented a middle ground out of Iraq.
And, quite frankly, should anyone be surprised? Joan Vennochi, with about every local news organization in the country, kept airing Lee Hamilton - the co-chair - as some sort of source of information. He's a "Democrat," but one who would make Joe Lieberman seem like a dove. Sometimes I wonder if people know who these people are before they attempt to use them as some sort of "bipartisan" measure. Lee Hamilton is a neo-con. I've seen him speak before. He was so outrageously outrageous - and clearly had disdain for people of the Muslim faith - that when he tried to say he didn't during a keynote speech I happened to see him in the room literally erupted with laughter. It was comedy gold, as far as we were all concerned. I was stunned, about a week later, to learn that crazy loon was a Democrat. The only difference between Lee Hamilton and crazy Zell Miller is that Lee never disgraced the Democratic Party in public (Lee went for the backdoor approach - by having awful positions and being a political hack).
The Baker Report was wholly out of touch with reality, politically neutered by the fear of upsetting a President who's challenging President Nixon for the title of Least Popular President Ever (while winning the title of Worst President Ever in a longshot!). The report won't even recognize a reality that news organization after news organization finally come to admit: Iraq is in a state of civil war. If the document can't even manage to be honest, why should anything in it be taken for granted - at least anything in it that went beyond the obvious.
Joan Vennochi's wrong that there's anything remotely "middle" about this report, unless it's "middle of the row" in actually being able to do anything to fix Iraq. There's nothing awe-inspiring about the report and the people behind it aren't exactly what I'd call experts on anything Iraq or Middle East related. One of the problems in Iraq is the fact that we went in there with thousands of misconceptions about the country: we simply didn't know enough about it to actually be able to go in and achieve anything other than causing instability. What makes people think Sandra Day O'Connor is going to do any better?
If Joan's looking for some "middle ground," she should look toward the American people: they get it. It's time to get the hell out. People voted for change and it's time for the federal government to deliver. Only Iraq can solve Iraq's problems, even if we're the cause of them in the first place. We just don't have the expertise to do anything but screw it up worse.
Joan ended her column thus:
Who's going to lead us to the common ground?The American people already voted for change - the common ground just so happens to be between San Francisco and Portland, Maine. It's time for the government to listen to its people, while Iraqis figure things out for themselves.