"The White House has turned to the Iraq Study Group, boosting the congressionally mandated panel’s profile in the past week both in a postelection press conference and again with a day full of meetings between the group’s members and administration officials.
Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley and White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten met yesterday with the group, headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Democratic Rep. Lee H. Hamilton of Indiana for 75 minutes yesterday.
The group spent the day at the White House, also meeting with the secretaries of defense and state, the national intelligence and CIA directors, top generals and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Today, its members will meet with Democrats such as former National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard C. Holbrooke and former Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
Expectations for the group are growing, and those on both sides of the political divide say it could be a chance for the White House to achieve a face-saving way forward in Iraq." Washtimes
If body language and long faces are indications, this was not all that great a meeting. Mr. Bush is reported to have told the ISGers that they have to remember that military strategy has to be formed based on actual conditions on the ground.
So true! But… Military strategy is constrained not only by "conditions on the ground," but also by policy guidance from the national command authority. In other words, military commanders try to adapt the methodology of what they are doing in order to carry out national policy. They do not have the luxury of re-defining the mission. They do not have the luxury of re-defining the mission. In other words every single person in the armed forces has the job of carrying out George Bush’s policy. They do not have the job of telling him why he should have a different policy.
That is why it is useless for the media to interview generals (or anyone else on active duty in the military) about "what should be done in Iraq." Soldiers asked to answer that question have no choice but to tell the interviewer (and the audience) what they think is necessary to carry out the national policy guidance that they have been given. They are not at liberty to suggest a new policy.
’43 has gotten used to this situation, so, when he tells the world that he welcomes suggestions about "what to do in Iraq" what he is saying is that he will listen to suggestions about how to carry out his policy.