He says there is little chance for any kind of success in Iraq and whatever happens is pretty much out of U.S. hands anyway. The ISG plans were platitudes that had little relationship to the challenges we face.
The crippling irrelevance and unrealism of the ISG does not mean that the Bush strategy is valid. It is, however, a broader warning to both the Congress and the Administration. The US cannot fix an Iraq it did so much to help break by simple, quick, and glib solutions of any kind and particularly ones imposed by the US. The US still has great influence, but it does not control Iraq’s internal politics and cannot do so by threatening to leave or simply turning over the nation’s problems to Iraqi forces and some mythical international forum.
The US has no good options in Iraq, either to stay or leave. At best, it can now only try find the least bad path of uncertainty and work out the best compromises over time. To do this, it must focus on its overall longer term strategic interests in the region, working with its friends and allies, and looking both at what can be done in Iraq and in the region as a whole.