After coming out against James Webb and racial integration in schools in his two previous columns, George Will is back off the reservation:
The Iraq Study Group, like the policy it was created to critique, was overtaken by the unexpectedly rapid crumbling of the U.S. position in Iraq since the ISG was formed in March. The deterioration was manifested in last week's misbegotten summit between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which made brutally clear how difficult it will be to apply even the ISG's temperate recommendations to the deteriorating reality.
Summits usually do, and generally should, resemble American political conventions -- they should not be deliberative events but should ratify decisions made earlier. The ISG's recommendations must be read in light of these facts from the week during which the recommendations were being written:
Calling Iraq's prime minister "the right guy" for Iraq, Bush met him in Jordan, presumably because Iraq is too dangerous a venue for discussing how to, in Bush's words, "complete" the job. The job is to stabilize Iraq, which cannot be done without breaking the Mahdi Army, which cannot be done without bringing down Maliki, who is beholden to Moqtada al-Sadr, the cleric who more or less controls the Mahdi Army, which probably is larger and more capable than Iraq's army.
First, Will joins the ISG's smackdown of the Bush Administration's foreign policy, from Iraq to Israel-Palestine and beyond.
Then Will says Iraq is unstable because of al-Sadr, a prominent Shiite cleric, who runs a militia and controls about 30 seats in the Iraqi legislature.
What about the Sunni insurgency?
Do we even know who the enemy is anymore?