Here are a host of links to stories on the General and Ambassador's report to Congress.
Eugene Robinson from the Post.
A couple of important points from his article:
The next six months in Iraq are crucial -- and always will be. That noise you heard yesterday on Capitol Hill was the can being kicked further down the road leading to January 2009, when George W. Bush gets to hand off his Iraq fiasco to somebody else.
It’s clear by now that playing for time is the real White House strategy for Iraq. Everything else is tactical maneuver and rhetorical legerdemain -- nothing up my sleeve -- with which the administration is buying time, roughly in six-month increments.
I could not agree more. The Bush Administration is running out the clock. Because if we are supposed to wait yet another six months to get a progress report on Iraq there won't be time for a significant draw down of troops before Bush leaves office.
Also see the chat he had on the article.
Will also in the Post:
The purpose of the surge, they said, is to buy time -- “breathing space,” the president says -- for Iraqi political reconciliation. Because progress toward that has been negligible, there is no satisfactory answer to this question: What is the U.S. military mission in Iraq?
What “forced” America to go to war in 2003 -- the “gathering danger” of weapons of mass destruction -- was fictitious. That is one reason this war will not be fought, at least not by Americans, to the bitter end. The end of the war will, however, be bitter for Americans, partly because the president’s decision to visit Iraq without visiting its capital confirmed the flimsiness of the fallback rationale for the war -- the creation of a unified, pluralist Iraq.
After more than four years of war, two questions persist: Is there an Iraq? Are there Iraqis?
I guess American troops are just supposed to stay there until there is some sort of political reconciliation. But that could take years not months.
This is from an USA Today editorial:
* Success, if it’s achievable at all, will take years of American commitment, not the shorter time spans that usually are the focus of political debate.
* For the nearer term, that commitment will continue to require a massive U.S. troop presence: 137,000 troops next July, the level that existed before the “surge” of 30,000 more began. How many will be needed a year after that is anyone’s guess.
So Congress is left with a dilemma. Should it view the Iraq glass as half-full and trust Petraeus and Crocker — both credible and savvy — to fill it to the brim? Or should it try to force a pullout now, which would save American lives but also might snatch defeat from the jaws of uncertainty?
At a minimum, it should demand accountability. It’s impossible to believe that Petraeus and Crocker don’t have specific objectives they believe they can achieve over the next several months. If they don’t, they’re not suited to the job. They need to spell them out and recommit to benchmarks already in place.
The main thing to point out is this is indeed essential an open ended commitment which will take years to achieve (if ever) they the Bush Administration owes it to the American people to be honest about it. But honest and Iraq are two things that don't go together in this administration.
Finally see Dan Froomkin piece on the kick the can theory.
One more note maybe the elected representative of the legislative branch could actually ask some tough questions to these guys. Maybe the Senate will do a better job. The House failed in my opinion.
The bottom line: there will be no change in Iraq policy until Bush leaves office.