THE Iraq Study Group, set up some months ago by President Bush to review the situation in Iraq, is due to deliver its report today. Much of what it is believed to say has already been leaked and the President has even indicated that he doesn't agree with some of the proposals he will find in it when he gets his copy! The truth is, of course, that even the wisdom of Solomon would not help to find a clean solution to the tragic mess that Iraq is in. The search can only be for relatively minor adjustments of military and political policies that might work with a bit of luck and rather better judgement than has been applied until now.
The Study Group is led by former Secretary of State James Baker, who has served Bush father and son in many roles, not least as the man who master-minded the fraught final stages of George W's election victory in 2000. Another member of the Group was Robert M Gates who is now President Bush's nominee as Secretary of Defence to succeed Donald Rumsfeld. Yesterday Mr Gates appeared in front of the powerful US Senate Armed Services Committee and shared with them some of his views on Iraq. We are not winning the war in Iraq, is that correct? asked Senator John McCain. That is my view, yes, senator replied Mr Gates, adding quickly that the US is not losing it either.