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March 16, 2006
Not Another Independent Commission ...

Congress, having learned nothing from the debacle of the 9/11 Commission, has launched yet another independent investigatory body in an effort to avoid political responsibility. The latest effort in futility will focus on the war in Iraq and even comprises some of the same people from the laughably inept panel on 9/11:

Congress unveiled an independent panel on Wednesday assigned to study the U.S.-led war in Iraq and to make policy recommendations for both Capitol Hill and the White House.

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group -- led by former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican, and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton -- is designed to focus "fresh eyes" on the war debate from people who "love their country more than their party," said Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, during a Capitol Hill news conference. ...

"Our purpose is to undertake a bipartisan, forward-looking assessment of the current and prospective situation on the ground in Iraq and its impact on the surrounding region, and its consequences on United States interests," said Baker, who served as the country's top diplomat in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

The group will focus on the political, military, security and reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

Uh-huh. Let me get this straight. The panel's leaders consist of the man who helped the US stop the ground war in Iraq in 1991, allowing Saddam to remain in power, and the man who co-chaired the Commission that managed to ignore Able Danger, arrests of Iraqi intelligence agents in Germany during the period when three of the four 9/11 pilots flew back to Hamburg , and numerous other vital facts and developments. And the panel should come up with a fair and unbiased look at the war in Iraq?

Color me highly unimpressed.

If Congress wants to investigate the Iraq war, then Congress itself should do so. Appointing people with no public accountability for the conduct of their investigation does not free them to tell the truth -- it allows them to pursue their own agendas without hindrance. One only needs to recall the inclusion of Jamie Gorelick on the 9/11 panel to recall how the most signiificant barrier to information sharing got almost completely ignored by that commission, and how critics that demanded her replacement got ignored.

This is just another cowardly political evasion, one designed to give the impression that Congress does something significant while its members run for cover. The result of this effort will result in the same hackery that the 9/11 Commission produced, and once again we will spend years afterward finding everything that they missed. The American electorate gave their judgment on the Iraq war in 2004 and will have another opportunity to do the same in 2006 and 2008. Why not just let the voters speak on this issue if Congress wants to avoid its reponsibilities?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 16, 2006 7:12 AM

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