Democrat Lee Hamilton says they’ve reached a consensus. An anonymous source says that there were many “intense debates” and that they came to many “compromises” in order to get everyone’s buy in. Which means that their recommendations are going to be useless. But we knew that already.
Here’s the Reuters story:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The independent, bipartisan panel studying U.S. policy in Iraq has reached a consensus agreement and will release its conclusions on December 6 in a report that could help guide U.S. President George W. Bush’s conduct of the war.
“We reached a consensus,” Co-Chairman Lee Hamilton told the liberal Center for American Progress. He refused to provide details, saying the results were sensitive and would be revealed at a news conference next Wednesday.
Recommendations from a united Iraq Study Group, which is also co-chaired by former Secretary of States James Baker — a close Bush family friend — will be much harder for Bush to resist than if the group were divided, experts and study group advisers say. Bush is under growing political pressure to change policy in Iraq.
In what is believed to presage the panel’s recommendations for a more aggressive diplomacy that should include dialogue with Iran and Syria, Hamilton made a strong case for America talking with its adversaries. “I don’t see how you solve problems” without talking, he said.
Hamilton, a former Indiana congressman and Democrat who also co-chaired the 9/11 commission, said he did not think dialogue would quickly solve tensions with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, “terrorism” and other concerns. But he stressed, “We must be sensitive to the agendas of other nations.”
Syria’s and Iran’s agendas are to destroy Israel. We’re supposed to be sensitive to that?
Update: Surprise, surprise. The New York Times already is publishing some of the recommendations.
The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.
The report, unanimously approved by the 10-member panel, led by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, is to be delivered to President Bush next week. It is a compromise between distinct paths that the group has debated since March, avoiding a specific timetable, which has been opposed by Mr. Bush, but making it clear that the American troop commitment should not be open-ended. The recommendations of the group, formed at the request of members of Congress, are nonbinding.