Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Does the Iraq report matter?
"Must be something going on in Washington today."

That's what one of the TSA screeners said to me as I walked through the metal detector at LaGuardia Airport.

"Brian Williams just came through," the screener continued. Sure enough, there he was in the back of the packed plane to Washington, D.C.

I'm now at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington waiting for a press conference. Details of the Iraq Study Group's report have been leaking for the past week, and now the main points are well known.

I'm scheduled to interview James Baker and Lee Hamilton, the study group's co-chairs, in a couple hours. All of us who are interviewing them will gather and wait together, and then one-by-one go in to talk to them.

Tonight, I'll also be discussing the report with Barack Obama, Kay Bailey Hutchison and others.

Critics are already saying the ISG report is essentially proposing the status quo approach in Iraq -- there is no timetable for troop withdrawal; everything depends on the situation on the ground. Every year, the Bush Administration has talked about drawing down the number of troops, and every year, the facts on the ground have made that impossible in their assessment.

The question, of course, is: How much of a say could a group like the ISG really have at this point about what happens in Iraq? Are events so beyond our control, moving so fast, that whatever recommendations this panel could come up with would be beside the point?

Finally, what do you think of the ISG's recommendations?

Posted By Anderson Cooper: 11:07 AM ET
Your assessment of the ISG is right on. Too little, too late with no real change. The Iraqi people addressed the core issue in their poll to stop the chaos: Give 'em a job.

The diplomacy thing is right on, but the problem is there is no truly function Dept. of State. We have sat and watched as door after door is slammed in our faces. It should be noted that China said nice things about Bolton in the UN. Is this because the US foreign policy has helped China gain futher world dominance?

Again, the lack of strength of the US military is noted but not addressed.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 11:27 AM ET
It's not going to matter unless someone takes to heart what's being said in it. Unless the right people read it and believe it, it will not matter. However the stubborn views of the administration seem to be shifting, then again are they only shifting in sound bites or in reality as well? Now we wait and see. I still say pulling out and leaving Iraq in the mess that it is in does no one any good and only hinders everyone. It's a no win situation but one that needs to be resolved in the best way for everyone. That in reality is going to be the biggest hurdle.
Posted By Anonymous Marcy, Mobile, AL : 11:42 AM ET

I'm looking forward to seeing this report tonight. I think in the end, the question is "will there ever be peace in those countries"? Irregardless of whether we are are there or not, there are deeper issues that will continue to boil at various paces. How much more blood will be shed? How many more families will mourn the loss of a daugther or son, a mother or father, a niece or a nephew? I'm proud of our troops for fighting a battle that may never fully be resolved. I think this panel is a band-aid to temporarily give us an answer for all the "boo-boo's" of the Bush Administration. I respect Mr. Baker and what he has brought to the political table over the years, but I think the answer should not lay in the hands of politically driven men, who have distanced themselves from the realities of war. With them and this administration's "status quo" approach, this war will never end.

God bless the troops. God bless Matt Maupin, our first MIA in the war.
Posted By Anonymous SP, Villa Hills, KY : 11:50 AM ET
Hi Anderson,
Why do I get the feeling President Bush will not take any of these recommendations seriously unless they suit his own ideas?
Maybe I'm wrong but when he received the report this morning, his main comment was that there were some 'interesting' suggestions. Interesting doesn't sound like something he's going to spend much time considering. The report sounds pretty sketchy to me with no actual timelines for anything in the near future, so maybe he can find his out in that.
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 11:53 AM ET
They did'nt need the panel everyone with common sense knows that Iraq is in grave danger it was last year and the year before that. The main problem is will the President listen. You can have a democratic party or republican party. George Bush has the final stay. We stay the course and more troops will die and be injured. That's unfortunatley Bush's choice.
Posted By Anonymous clarence Virginia Beach : 11:55 AM ET
Hey Anderson
While I was watching the press conference, I kept thinking to myself, "what's new?" I think the ISG took the easy way out and didn't really make any major recommendations.
Just my opinion.
Posted By Anonymous Mary, New Orleans LA : 11:57 AM ET
Clearly a new direction is needed. This study group is made of up such heavy hitters as Lee Hamilton, Sandra Day O'Connor, Alan Simpson, and Leon Panetta. Not to mention the fact that it is headed up by James Baker, a Bush family friend. If this administration does not act on the recommendations of this study group, he, in effect is ignoring some of the best and trusted political minds of our time and a trusted friend and advisor.

The administration can either choose to act on the recommendations in this report and unite the country going into the beginning of the presidential election campaigning season or they can choose to ignore the report and give this country more evidence that this administration is not willing to compromise. Even if it is at the expense of human lives.
Posted By Anonymous Annette LaCanna, Alpha, NJ : 12:03 PM ET
Wow, that is a very long document! I did read it and I think that our troops should finish training the Iraqi army and police force and then come home. I also think there should be a time line to get this done..say 6 months to a year.
Posted By Anonymous Genevieve M, El Paso, TX : 12:05 PM ET
Not to Bush, It is Bush's pride and arrogance that's keeping our troops in Iraq. He rather let our troops continue to die rather than admit he was wrong. The Iraq war is Bush's legacy, he can't admit defeat or admit we're fighting a losing battle.
Posted By Anonymous Armando Ruiz, Houston TX : 12:08 PM ET
Did we really need a report to tell us the Iraq policy was ineffective? It appears that the White House is trying to assess everthing but themselves. Let's try something really interesting and have a group spend time surveying the policies with the families of the troops oversees. I for one will take part for the sake of a brother who is being shipped out in a few weeks! The big qustion still seems to be, "Why do we fight everyone else's battles?"
Posted By Anonymous Susan, Plainville, CT : 12:11 PM ET
the report points out some serious issues that need to be addressed especially the shortage of american troops and the growing chaos that's resulting in civilian and military casualties.i think sectarian violence needs to be controlled because it's only going to get worse.this report matters only if president bush takes it seriously and is willing to change his policy in iraq.
Posted By Anonymous naura,lahore,pakistan : 12:12 PM ET
NO, the ISG report won't matter at all. There may be one or two tiny concessions, but nothing else.

Elections are over and as long as Bush is in office he's going to have it his way or no way.

Posted By Anonymous Maggie, Grain Valley, MO : 12:14 PM ET
My first thought when the ISG was formed I said "Smoke and Mirrors" and "slid of hand" that even David Copperfield would be impressed with. I just think the report is just that, a report. The key question here is will Bush do anything suggested in that report or will he drag his feet and ride it out until 2008.
As far as Bush believe it was
"Mission Accomplished� remember that?
Posted By Anonymous Rachel, Albuquerque, NM : 12:15 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
You ask a great question. I think so many people think this study group has taken charge of how we will move forward with Iraq. I think they will find that some of the recommendations will be used but not all. No one is clairvoyant. The problem I see, is that the situation on the ground in Iraq changes daily. By the time you study something so long it usually tends to have changed and moved on to the next big problem. Staying one step ahead isn't easy in anything in life, let alone a war. My hope is that the politicians don't rush into a political grandstanding frenzy. We need calm action, not hysterical words. Our troops should never be caught in the middle of a cat fight at home when they are risking their lives on the battlefield. Take care..Good luck on your interviews.
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 12:15 PM ET
I can't tell you how sick and tired I am of the denial that surrounds this "war."
If anyone thinks that "Prisidente Babushka" is going to withdrawal troops anytime soon, you're out of your mind. Could you imagine trying to explain to the military families who have buried sons, daughters, mothers and fathers exactly what was accomplished while we were over there? Did it really take the lives of 1,500+ American soldiers to take down Saddam Hussein? I don't think so.
Iraq is worse today then it ever was. Saddam is out, Osama is on the run, and our troops continue to die while trying to create a prospering civilization in a poor, barren country, inhabited by a bunch of lunatics.
I personally feel that all of our troops should come home. We never should have been there in the first place. Why make a bad situation worse? Mr. Bush, stop worrying about your image; you ruined that a long time ago. Bring our troops home and don't let another soldier die in vain.
Oh, and to the ISG, what the heck do you have to study?? One word, two syllables...MISTAKE.
Posted By Anonymous Terry, Philly PA : 12:23 PM ET
So all the anchors/reporters are in the same place, interviewing the same people about the same story.

Baaaa baaaa
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 12:24 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
I agree with the idea of training the Iraqi military and getting out. It seems that the situation is so complicated and there are so many players in the region that it is hard to know how effective we can be. We certainly need to change our policy, but there are no simple solutions. I will be interested to hear what the members of the Iraq Study Group have to say on your show tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Pamina, Pittsford, NY : 12:29 PM ET

My husband and I are here reading the report eating our lunch. We will have it read before the show tonight. We had Bush on this AM with Miles. Okay, so we are informed Americans or as our friends called us "political geeks". We read the 911 report too!

I would really love for you to interview someone who is on the ground in Iraq tonight and maybe not all of these elected officials in DC. It seems everyone who is anyone is in DC today.

I would love Michael Ware to be on the show tonight telling us what the troops want.

What do the officials on the ground say? Do they need more troops or less? Do they want to leave and get out of there? Do the troops feel like they are getting what they need?

Also, we know 60% of the Iraqi people want us out of there. As my children read about this war and I write about it in my personal journal, I hope we can say through all these deaths we educated a population of women and children. This is what I hope and pray for through this mess.

Hey, BTW, once again, Anderson and crew are in the front of the plane (1st class) and the others, well they are just trailing behind.
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 12:34 PM ET
This group shows a mirror to the administration on its Iraq policy. The administration will find it hard to ignore specially in light of changed scenario on the Hill.
The adminstration must combine the changed political scenario and this report to carry out some far reaching change in political equations. This humility will go a long way in redeeming US in eyes of people and will also fix Iraq problem.
Posted By Anonymous Purush, Indore, India : 12:37 PM ET
BushCo needs to wake up and smell the oil, er, coffee. I think he realizes now that due to his party losing control of both houses the impeachment possibility is now very real. Any change he makes will be with the alterior motive of keeping himself and his cronies out of prison. Almost 3000, THREE THOUSAND!, of or finest Americans have been needlesly slaughtered by his greed. If his fear of having to pay for that will change the course of this war for oil then thats fine by me. But I think he is just greedy enough, and stubborn enough, to stay the course. Sad.
Posted By Anonymous nathan, junction city ks : 12:41 PM ET
The report is a lot of time and money wasted since most people are saying the same thing. There will be no withdrawal for at least 6 months. It just shows Democrats and Republicans coming together for their for a consensus.
Posted By Anonymous Barb Kozlowski, Phoenix AZ : 12:45 PM ET
Finally, there is talk about the contintuing mid-east conflict and its broader inplications (of late, Tony Blair and now the ISG). Since early in the Bush presidency, I felt the administation took their eyes off the Isreali-Palestinian issue. They never seemed to appreciation the larger significance. Clearly other administrations (especially Clinton) got it. Of course, there were some wonderful photo opporutnities that Bush took advantage of when the difference sides choose to talk but he quickly desserted when it got tough. Can you say "cut and run?"
Posted By Anonymous Ken, Cincinnati, Ohio : 12:48 PM ET
No this report does not make any difference. The news media and the democrats decided a long time ago that Iraq was a lost cause.
Posted By Anonymous Ruth, Nebraska : 12:51 PM ET
The US can't sink any lower in world opinion so why don't we tell the Saudis, the Iranians, the Turks to accept a partioned Iraq or be nuked.
Posted By Anonymous Boyd Phoenix, AZ : 12:52 PM ET
Why is it always about 'win' or 'lose'? At what point have we 'won the war' or 'lost the war'? If winning means the Iraqi people suddenly have a democracy then we are expecting too much. Our own democracy has evolved over the past 200 plus years so to expect the Iraqi people to do the same in a matter of months is just plain stupid! I just pray something is done before the entire area is drawn into a world war.
Posted By Anonymous Henry, Marina, CA : 12:53 PM ET
I was initially impressed with the highly qualified panel members. And according to your report last night, they certainly put in the hours and miles to gather a lot of information and opinions. However, I'm disappointed with the resulting report. At what point do you stop trying to appease all political parties and just call it like it is. I realize that Bush would be even less receptive to the report had it been blunt and to the point, especially since he is going to do whatever he wants anyway. All the analysis this week seems right on the money, Bush will pick and choose from this report and other reports he has commissioned.

Sure, we're not calling it 'stay the course' anymore, but I think the year 2008 speaks for itself. Another 2 years means at least another 2,000 fine young people will lose their life...for what? There won't be a democracy in Iraq. And what about the last few troops left...who wants to draw that straw?

Bush's arrogance and name-calling has harmed America's reputation throughout the world. I think Bush realizes that his 'legacy' is in the toilet and yet he continues to think that his way is the only way.

Compared to the cost of the war so far, I guess $1 million for this report isn't a high price, but if it is going to line the bird cage - what's the point. Last night you alluded to the cost of the war (lives of course can't be measured), but in equipment loss, military budget since Iraq, loss of once career (and trained) military no longer wanting to remain in service, etc. what is the estimate of the cost of this war? Regardless, it seems like the price is too high.

God bless our military. None of my comments should reflect upon them. The leadership is to blame for the current situation. We should never treat our military the way they were treated when they returned from Vietnam. It was shameful!
Posted By Anonymous Pixie, Muncie, IN : 12:55 PM ET
I think the panel's efforts will have been a waste of time and energy if George Bush maintains the attitude he has had since getting in office, which I think he will. That "I'm the decider" smugness shows the true colors of the man who several years ago dared them to "Bring it on". Bring it on they did, only our innocents are suffering and dying for his rash statments and shoot first and don't ask questions later attitude. He acts as though this war is just one huge, long game for his entertainment. Like someone else would play checkers, he is playing war. As long as Bush is in the White House, I don't look for much to change in Iraq until someone else takes over in 2008 and inherits the mess Bush will leave. God be with that person.
Posted By Anonymous Ron Nutter, Ashburn, VA : 12:57 PM ET
Did the Warren Commission report mean anything?
Posted By Anonymous Zena, Toronto, Ontario : 1:02 PM ET
I don't agree that things are too complicated for us to do anything about them. It seems to me that ignoring the complexity of Iraqi internal politics is what got us into this mess in the first place (well, that and oil-lust). And since we've finally become aware of how sticky things really are, we should be realizing that engagement is the only option. We need to be educating our diplomats about everything from neighborhood rivalries to religious history; we need to embrace the complexity. For too long we've tried to simplify things by looking at them through ideological lenses. Obviously that never worked and it certainly won't work anymore. There's no bad time to push up our sleeves and maybe even crack a book about this crazy place called Iraq. We can ill afford to be overwhelmed, and Iraq can afford it even less.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick Tutwiler, Greensboro, NC : 1:02 PM ET
Anderson says.....

I'm scheduled to interview James Baker and Lee Hamilton, the study group's co-chairs, in a couple hours. All of us who are interviewing them will gather and wait together, and then one-by-one go in to talk to them.

Blogger says...

The key words are "all of us". Meaning Anderson, you are playing the "waiting game". Okay, so those of you who read Dr. Seuss know what the waiting game is in the book "Oh, the Places You will Go." Waiting for the interview, the phone to ring, the letter in the mail. Waiting and waiting and waiting for Baker and Hamilton.

I have read most of the report during lunch. I did some analysis. There are 230 people whose names are associated with this report -- 220 men and 10 women including Rice and Albright.

Can you get an interview with Sandra Day O'Connor or the 7 other women who worked on the report? Okay, so if O'Connor would not give you an interview, just mention it tonight that you tried to get her. Most women respect her and her work on the Supreme Court.

Give us the women's angle. Is the average women better off now in Bagdad than under Saddam? Are the children better off now in Bagdad than under Saddam?

Just a thought. If I had a show with my name on it, I would say the heck with the waiting game and get the interviews no one else will have on TV tonight.

As always, wishing you all the best!
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 1:19 PM ET
ISG recommendations are good but this should have been done a long time back. At least I believe that president Bush will listen to these recommendation with an open mind. His cowboy attitude is not helping this country at all.

I still remember something Saddam Husain said before we started this war. He said US forces will be fighting a street battle in Iraq and many of them will die. Although it has not happened during the initial phase of the war, it is extactly same thing happening now. We had flawed expectation when we went to Iraq because we never tried to understand their culture. None of those think-tanks or pundits were able to predict what is happening now. But if we would have looked at the history of the region and their culture very carefully, what is happening now is not new at all.

There is no victory in this war for United States. The victory is for Iraqi people if they can save their country from this distruction. The view of president Bush and some conservative people are flawed. I think we are the reason for all these issues so I agree with ISG that we need to have a different plan for US forces in there.

I think we should rellocate US forces to protect the borders so surrounding countries can not interven a lot. As long as Iraqi's see us as invaders this will not end. We invaded Iraq. No matter what the intentions we had, in their eyes, we are invaders. And we must leave. Now all those think-tanks, pundits and extream conservatives couldn't predict this civil war in Iraq. The same people are now oppose to a pull out of US troops. But I believe that it is the only answere. We may not see results overnight. The violance may continue for a while. But at the end Iraqi's will realize that they must stand to save their country without fighting among themselves. And someone they can trust must govern them, and not a US supported puppet.

Now what I am not sure is that whether US is prepared to do that. That depends on what other hidden agenda's this administration has of Iraq.

Anyway, this is a good lesson to all of us that we are not the best to police the world. Our ideas and our way of life is not the absolute right way. We need to start learning about other cultures which existed for thousands of years, respect those cultures and the wishes of those people before we start to police them. United states is a unique country and what is working here is not going work everywhere in the world. We have failed in Iraq big time. Taht is because we have this attitude that we are the best and we have solutions to all the problems in the world. 40 years ago we failed in Vietnam. We never learned from it. Now we have failed in Iraq.

So without further delay we must have a course correction and try to be more diplomatic and find realistic solutions to this problem without having this "macho" attitude that president Bush has. Because if we continue with that attitude, this country will fail miserably.
Posted By Anonymous Nuwan, Houston TX : 1:19 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I don't think this report is going to change a darn thing. Bush just isn't going to admit that he has made mistakes when it comes to the war. I think he thinks that if he hangs on long enough, the tide will turn and he can say we are winning the war---then he can justify the deaths of our troops and the length of time that we have been over there.
In my opinion we have given them the tools to start their let them try. Our men and women need to come home.
Well that's my two cents worth.
Posted By Anonymous Jessica, Milwaukee WI : 1:25 PM ET
Substance over rhetoric? It's a few years too late, don't you think? This is a monumental mess and I really don't see us ever getting out of it. The Middle East exists in such turmoil that it seems impossible to ever have peace there. Honestly, I didn't read the entire 160 page report-but I plan to read it later tonight. But if what you say is truly the thesis of this work, then I don't really see the point in reading it in its entirety. I never believed they would have any kind of timeframe for leaving Iraq-and they apparently don't. So this really isn't a bonafide newsflash, right? I did notice the emphasis on peace in the region. No kidding? That would be a good idea? Duh. So far, that's been impossible. And does anyone really believe Iran will be involved in the Support Group? Yeah, I bet Anmadinejad is all over that.
I enjoyed the broadcast last night. You're great when you're fired up!
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 1:37 PM ET
I just heard Tony Snow during the White House briefing, saying that Their strategy hasn't been "Stay the Course". Then what I wonder, are we going to do with all those hours of tape saying that it has? Its so typical of this White House to say, No no no we were always right. Americans are pretty forgiving, but you have to admit that you've made a mistake in order to be forgiven in the first place.
Posted By Anonymous Claire, Marquette, MI : 1:40 PM ET
I doubt if anything that the ISG says will really matter. We (the taxpayers) spent big bucks for top people to get together and produce a report. The President isn't going to follow their recommendations, I think he has made that clear.

We all know what's wrong - it's just another "Katrina investigation" going no where.
Posted By Anonymous Wynona, San Diego, CA : 1:42 PM ET

I do not have time to read the report in its entirety until tonight. However, I have no confidence that the President will change anything as a result of this report unless it fits his view of the world. I do not think he will be open to views that do not agree with his own. After all, he is the decider and unless he decides, it will not be so.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte Doisy, Stockton CA : 1:45 PM ET
Reckless endangerment is the direct result of this administration's in Iraq and Scowcroft and Bush Sr wrote about it when they left office. Those involved in manipulating the intel on Iraq have been promoted or remain with this administration which only means, they knew Saddam wasn't a threat and only invaded Iraq to hide their inability to stimulate the economy. They have damaged the standing of this country for years to come and comes at no surprise, looking back at this president's resume.
Posted By Anonymous Charles, WDC : 1:45 PM ET
The problem with this report is that ALL facets have to occur and quickly! Bushs' ego will never allow that but will quickly take credit for all. He obviously had a heads up before his mideast trip and token diplomacy efforts.

We have no credible foreign policy and no real exit strategy. I'm beginning to think the Iraq people would be better off if we just got the heck out and let what happens, happen !

400 BILLION DOLLARS to gratify a presidents ego and destroy a country while we cause many of our future young people to be murdered at the hands of terrorists!

If Bush really thinks God speaks through him this country has a serious problem. Bush is the problem because no God would be that stupid !
Posted By Anonymous R Genu Poway California : 1:46 PM ET
It's useless. Bush has always and will always do what he wants. He acts like a dictator not an elected President (well, almost elected President).
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Tampa Florida : 1:49 PM ET
I have not yer begun to read the 160 pages, yet even before I read it why can anyone see or puts the core issue at the end... people in Iraq deserve a fair chance at life where what they say matters. The sectarian violence, just like in the former Yugoslavia, was inevitable when you take into account that Iraq was also created arbirarely as a country bringing together people that are not the same, and by that I mean religion etc etc. only the frigthfully tiranic hand of hussein kept them together just like Titos.

I hope that once people would say lets work so these people have a chance, and leave behind the balming game.

The US some people propose, the one that will leave Iraq, is the isolationist US. People are entitled to their views and beleifs, I just wish people woudl stop being critial and help. Citizens helped the victims of the tsunami,katrina etc. why not help Iraq. Not just the troops but all citizens shoudl help, show truly what we are made of... of good moral fiber, careing for others and showing it in actions not in words and speeches.
Posted By Anonymous Eva, Barcelona Spain : 2:00 PM ET
Bush could care less about anything other than what he himself thinks, wants and believes. He's shown us that almost every day for the past six years.
Posted By Anonymous Mr. Poe, Seattle WA : 2:04 PM ET
My concern is whether or not the Iraqi people are mature enough to do the right thing. Right now, they are not behaving like responsible adults. I am wondering if Saddam Hussein stunted their maturity.
Posted By Anonymous Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA : 2:04 PM ET
After reading some of the report and looking at President Bush's track record, I think I might check out some real estate in Canada.

I'm so embarrassed by this administration.
Posted By Anonymous Andi Dennison, Gaithersburg, MD : 2:06 PM ET
the report is constructed by some of the best minds in the us....both parties...could have more women on the committee!
this report is something the country can build on. But Bush is sooooo narrow minded....will he admit he is wrong if he accepts it in its completeness???
my bet is that he will say he is doing what the report suggests...twist and spin things to his advantage but stay the course....cheney"s company needs the money??
Posted By Anonymous jim scranton pa : 2:09 PM ET
Why are we blaming President Bush for the type of human beings that enjoy watching others burn, die violently, and generally have no morals or values. Nobody can change what the Iraqi people are like. Granted not all, but come on, it's like the missionaries going into cannibal land..... We're not going to be able to convert them to sensible peace loving people - whoever is the U.S. President. Let's let them get on with it and have all countries simply guard their borders. Oil? Find something else!!!
Posted By Anonymous Julie, Anchorage AK : 2:10 PM ET
(1) Any proposal that states that we should remove our combat forces from Irar and keep just enough forces to train the Iraqi Army is nothing less than retarded. This is a recipe for kidnappings, mass murder of our troops and who knows what else.
(2) Someone needs to explain to the American people how we (the USA) can train the Iraqi troops in accomplishing what the greatest Armed Forces in the world can't do and that is fighting and defeating terrorism in Iraq. I have spent enough time in that area of the world to understand you will never be able to train their Army to fight against their religion(s) and kill their own people. The thought of "We will stand down when the Iraqis are able to stand up," is based on a false premise.
We need leadership than understands that part of the world. And good luck with that !
Posted By Anonymous dean yorgey, Alexandria, VA. : 2:13 PM ET
I guess the ISG report is just one for the history books.

At least, as most members of the ISG stated at the press conference, the report is a consensus of a bipartisan effort. Let it do down in history that representatives from two opposing parties decided to agree on 79 recommendations.

I am impressed with the calibar of the ISG but the main recommendations are substantially nothing new. New buzz words arrived like "embedding US troops with Iraq troops," the "daunting figure of a trillion dollars," and Alan Simpson's comment on how the Bush administration is dysfunctional, are just a remix for an anxious media waiting to hear something profound, or at least different.

But,let's face it, this report may be the first documented report on possible solutions collected in one place where the American people can decipher between what may be fact or White House spin and politicized media manipulation. (CNN excluded of course)

I am trying to download the ISG report but my computer just gets stuck in process.

I am looking forward to AC360 tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 2:15 PM ET
I think the only real purpose this report will serve it to keep the debate open on the subject, which is perhaps the best we can hope for at this point.

I was a kid in '70's, and this so much reminds me of all of the post-Vietnam fallout. I feel the key question is whether the people of Iraqu actually wanted a democracy themselves enough to fight for it, or whether is was something that the world outside wanted? The reality is that freedom has always come with a price tag, and that most often involves blood shed from patriots who are willing to defend freedom. Are the Iraqi people willing to do that? Are they willing to put aside their differences and embrace the concept of equality and democracy, or would they rather slowly kill each other? The fate of Iraq ultimately lies in their hands, not ours, as it should. Our soldiers have given their best, but the Iraqi people must join in the struggle. They must put aside their differences and stand up for what is right, practice the peaceful tenets of their faith, and drive out oppression with the attitude of peace and mutual respect. The real war here is in the heart and attitude, and that's not something we can give to them, they must want to do it themselves.
Posted By Anonymous Jill, Pittsburgh PA : 2:28 PM ET
I think as a nation we've become emotionally apathetic and jaded to the Iraq war. We have a president that despite all the advice to the contrary maintains a stay the course attitude, whether or not he uses it as an official credo.

I, like I believe many Americans think that despite this report nothing will change. There is yet to be one statement of a real concrete plan. It's all too vague and we're losing our patientce.
Posted By Anonymous Karen Sindayen, San Jose, CA : 2:38 PM ET
It's funny reading all the responses from you 'sheeple'. Already blaming Bush for not following the recommendations of the report. Have you even read the report, or do you just follow what the media has been hyping this thing as the absolute be-all end-all report that has all the answers? It's sickening to see how many uninformed people are on this planet.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Palisade, CO : 2:38 PM ET

I loved the show last night. You were so funny asking your panel if the recommendations will matter. Obviously, you're just as skeptical as we all are.

So no, I don't think this report will amount to too much. We all agree change is needed and it's a Holy mess in Iraq- no pun intended.

It certainly isn't as easy as just bringing our troops home now. Bush created this mess for us as well as for the Iraqi people and now it's vitally important to find the best possible solution for both sides ASAP. It will be interesting to see how we actually do that and when. In the interim- God bless our troops and their families!

I'm trying to resist the urge to verbally strangle Bush, but it's getting harder by the day...
Posted By Anonymous Tracey Bethlehem, PA : 2:39 PM ET
hello Mr. Anderson Cooper I think you have to put the ISG in the portion of your show in KEEPING THEM HONEST!

I just read some part of the ISG report and I'll go back later because I've to do some job first.

regards to the staff and crew of AC360 and your new site is well done congratulations! it is very informative and interactive.

regards also to Mr. Barack Obama!
Posted By Anonymous Jemillex Bacerdo Chicago, IL. : 2:40 PM ET

It appears that the two other branches of government are going to have to team up to rein in the President. Clearly, he is posturing for foot-dragging mode again because he is determined to prove his point with more blood and treasure. Unless the newly elected Congress is willing to implement the will of the American people and the Judicial branch provides some constitutional oversight against the many excesses of this administration we can certainly look forward to two more years of senseless and escalating violence in Iraq
Posted By Anonymous Reg Alpharetta, Georgia : 2:41 PM ET
Well, one word sums up the ISG report....DUUUHHH!!! Tell us something we didn't know. Now if this tirade follows suit with the 9/11 Commission report, we'll see minimal action taken on the recommendations contained in the report, and during the '08 election circus we will see politicians run on the premise to implement the report's recommendations but nothing of substance will happen. If you are waiting to see something profound, pack a lunch.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Battle Crek, MI : 2:42 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

"The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating." "There is no magic formula." "There is no guarantee of success in Iraq." Did we really need to waste time and money on a panel to tell us something most of us already knew?

Although I haven't had time to digest the entire Iraq Study Group report, at first glance it doesn't seem to offer anything new regarding the war in Iraq and its possible conclusion. Those of us who have been following this debacle from the beginning have heard these so-called recommendations numerous times, from many sources including the media and retired military personnel, who have repeatedly made these same recommendations.

Unfortunately, most of the time will be spent attempting to address the consequences of, as Gen. Jay Garner called them, the "three terrible decisions" that the United States made in Iraq during the early part of the war; "purging the bureaucracy, disbanding the Army and dismissing an interim leadership group."

The ISG report describes a "diplomatic offensive to build an international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region." At this point can we really expect the neighboring states to agree to such a consensus? After all, the war in Iraq is the reason for much of the instability in the region in the first place.

A diplomatic solution should never be the last course of action. Military options are always on the table, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to go back and attempt to build a relationship in order to achieve a diplomatic solution of any kind.

I realize it is difficult to set definite dates of action in a complicated military offensive like the war in Iraq, but this report offers no timetable for results of any kind, only the arbitrary date of 2008. It doesn't even suggest reasonable times for benchmarks to be met.

Sadly this report seems to be nothing more than an effort to salvage something from a situation we have, for the most part, already lost. They had no other choice but to create this committee in order to regain the dwindling support of the American people which they alluded to in the report. As you suggested in your post, I do believe that events are so out of control that these recommendations could soon be rendered pointless. I hope they prove me wrong.

As usual, the final word still remains in the hands of George W. Bush who will cherry pick through the report no matter what anyone else suggests. Bush's pride and arrogance will not allow him to admit that he was wrong or that he is now prepared to "change the course" of the war in Iraq.

I look forward to tonight's program and the discussion on the report.

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 2:47 PM ET
It is a little scary that most people do not see this ISG report as being a manipulation of the public. Come on! Do you really think that Bush was getting his first read today? Do you really believe that he was not a part of this? And Baker is a close Bush family friend. Get real! This is Washington we are talking about. Things like this don't just happen, they are orchestrated. Wow, the rubes sure fell for this one: hook, line and sinker! The tail wagged the dog once again.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Chico, CA : 2:54 PM ET
Hi Anderson, here's what I think. While I appreciate the efforts made by the Iraq Study Group, I wish Mr. Colin Powell is a member of this group. He made a comment once that having the Iraqis come up with their own solution (and not have the U.S. tell them what to do all the time) would go a long way towards ending this conflict. This is brilliant and makes sense to me. His approach is psychological and motivational. Where there are proper motivations, solutions follow. He would have brought this up with the study group and the resulting recommendations would have been influenced by this idea.

Good luck on your interviews. I look forward to the show tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 3:05 PM ET
Yes, it matters. Something overlooked by many posters and analysts is the possible criminal indictment of Bush and members of his Administration. eople have wondered why we got into Iraq and got involved in refomulating their government and rebuilding their infrastructure before the wa was even won there. Now we know. The are at least 100,000 Amercian contractors in Iraq. Most/all of these have ties to the Bush Whitehouse. Iraq was never anything more than a money machine for Bush and Cheney, the failed corporate executives and their greedy friends. The Iraq report makes clear their criminal activities. George Bush ought not be simply impeahced, he needs to go to prison for misleading the American public and for literally mudering Amercian boys and girls.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Eugene, OR : 3:09 PM ET
The Iraq report only matters to those who are not a part of the Bush administration. I hope every person that voted for the President not only once, but twice, has learned from their mistake in believing that the President was right in going into Iraq. The coalition has done everything militarily possibly to make peace in Iraq but they cannot change the hearts and minds of "psychos." As harsh as it may seem, the coalition should just pack up and leave and let the Iraqis fight it out amongst themselves. I don't think there could ever be peace in the Middle East.
Posted By Anonymous Ton, Houston, Texas : 3:12 PM ET
I think it's about time that somebody of notable stature presented a realistic view of what's happening in Iraq. The "war" has been going on for over 3.5 years now and no significant progress seems to have been made. In fact it appears that things are worse now than when the war started. I'm wondering if everyone (even the Iraqis) would have been better off with Saddam still in control. In the meantime, the Bush people still talk about "stay the course". I think that's politicalease for "We don't have a clue what to do now". At least this report will provide some clues - whether the Bush people are responsible enough to listen or whether they will continue their incredible arrogance is the big question.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Charlotte NC : 3:14 PM ET
For us to even buy into this charade is deeply troubling. Baker, the long time Republican operative tied to the hip with Bush Sr., Kissinger, etc., point man for the Republicans during the Florida "chad" scam is only part of the "doublespeak"!

The rest of these octogenarians, along with Baker, could never have an original thought if their lives depended on it!

For the press to buy into this without pointing out all of these issues, only allows for the continued farce by this gang of corrupt politicians to continue with the infamous cry of a Republican Party that got its hands caught in the cookie jar: "bipartisanism"!

Where are the �new� Democrats who were elected to not only point this out, but not allow it to continue?
Posted By Anonymous Bill Sortino, Santa Fe, NM : 3:30 PM ET
Hi Anderson~
Does the Iraq report matter? Yes and no. No, it does not matter to Pres. Bush. As far as that goes it was all a waste of time. Bush has his own agenda, whatever that is. Yes, it does matter to millions of Americans that apparently are not being heard. What ever happened to a government for the people? And finally, YES the Iraq Report does matter to all those soldiers who are putting their lives at risk while I write this. I noticed at the top of this 360 blog that there is a news alert about ten more U.S. troops who have died in four separate incidents in Iraq. The ISG report is very dissappointing but I still have hope that the voice of America will be heard. Thanks Anderson, and have a safe trip back to NYC.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 3:31 PM ET
Our best option is probably going to be oversight and hearings that the Democrats will be starting to do soon. Once they get a chance to start digging into what's been hid and covered up for six years, we may finally get some answers. If grounds for impeachment are there, so be it. We all have to accept the consequences for our actions. W is no exception. It's going to take years for us to repair the damage done by this administration. The only report that will change the "decider's" mind is one that will give him the legacy he wants.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Fairfield Iowa : 3:38 PM ET
I think the report is important. I hope it helps to motivate the President to see that real change is needed.

We need to get our troops out of Iraq. That's what needs to happen. I don't even care if Bush admits he was wrong, or saves face in some way or another, announces we're winning, and then pulls the troops out. It's time to tell the Iraqi's that we are leaving.

People say, "It will be terrible if the troops leave." Well, it sounds/looks like it is pretty terrible already. Could it get much worse?

I don't get the whole, "Train the Iraqi's thing". Who's training the insurgents, Shiites, Sunnis? They haven't had any training, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job at killing, torturing, etc. They are motivated, that's what it is. And I don't think we can teach that to the Iraqis. If we tell them we are leaving, maybe they will be motivated to work towards a dipolomatic solution to the problems in their country.

I'm looking forward to tonight's show. Thanks.

Linda, Boulder, Colorado
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Boulder, Colorado : 3:48 PM ET
a waste of time, paper and money. Bush will do as he pleases without regard to the needs of either Iraqis or Americans.
Posted By Anonymous Deb, Richmond VA : 3:52 PM ET
Matt, perhaps you didn't have time to catch GEORGE BUSH this morning�after he read the report. He said he found the document 'interesting' and that he would wait to see what the other studies have to report. Wow, great endorsement there.

Your implication that we are all sheep is misguided. Actually, the fact that we watch AC360 and post on the blog means we embrace the philosophy of hearing from all sides. Perhaps we have drawn the conclusion that differs from yours...but fortunately we live in the USA where we are all allowed to express an opinion, and you have the right to call us names. Very productive.

And as I posted above, GW spoke loud and clear for himself.
Posted By Anonymous Pixie, Muncie, IN : 3:59 PM ET
The report is too namby-pamby, and too late to be of any significance. Besides, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem to have any real answers. Sometime about now, Bush-bashing of the last six years must stop, since it has little consequence for Americans in a real tight spot. A Think-Tank of well-known humanitarians from various corners of the world is the only option as a mechanism for meaningful dialogue, and for an exit with some dignity in place. No one in America appears competent to resolve this burning global issue- be it because of hyper-patriotism bug or total lack of awareness that America with 300 million can't rule hearts and minds of six billion others, no matter how desperately they try.

Humanitarians like who? Okay.... let me throw in a few names - Dalai Lama, Noam Chomsky, Desmond Tutu, Aung San Suu Kyi? Well, get her out. If the almighty supapawar can't do one little good deed, what's the point in daring with such presumptuous title???
Posted By Anonymous Natasha Dey, Torono, Canada : 4:01 PM ET
Of course it matters.However it is unlikey to alter a damn thig whilst Bush remains in office ,sadly.But hey I am in UK and our population ( if not our leader ) is opp0sed to continuing this terrible farce of a war.
Posted By Anonymous M de Vere .Canterbury Kent UK : 4:15 PM ET
Although the Iraq Study Group has come out with a full report on how to approach the situation in Iraq, actually setting this plan into motion will be the real task. Over the past year Iraq has erupted into, what can clearly be called, a civil war. With constant struggle between the Sunni and Shiite forces, the goal to stabilize the country seems unattainable. Even though the ISG is a mixture of both Democrats and Republicans, making a genuine effect on President Bush's plan for Iraq may become the real task. The recommendations by the ISG sound good on paper, but putting them into action will take months.
Posted By Anonymous Liz Yas Toledo, OH : 4:15 PM ET
It doesn't matter, just cut and run ;get out now! The majority of the American public doesn't care enough for moral right and wrong in this dangerous world to do anything else.No spine,sacrifice, or pain; just take care of number one! The moral rot in this country is supreme! May we be fortunate enough to never be in a do or die situation in America because the liberals among us won't do anything but hamstring our very struggle for existence! "Draft"; not me they say;"I'm to smart, important and busy "finding myself" to be bothered with serving this country." Besides we have all those dis advantaged "chumps" to volunteer for that nasty stuff!An Iraq study ;tea and chat with our sworn enemies! Is that all this feckless society can come up with? Our forefathers would be aghast at what we have become! Capitulate America !
Posted By Anonymous Archie Holoubeck Kearney Ne. : 4:22 PM ET
NO, they said nothing new and provided nothing new in the way of answers. Typical and normal for government.
Any opinion on if we should still be in Korea or Japan, or Germany? We should have been able to train them by now.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Boca Raton, Fl : 4:29 PM ET
Hi Andeerson, The report will be ignored by the yappy, arrogant George Bush. The invasion of Iraq is the biggest mistake ever made by an American president and the fall out will reverberate throughout this country for generations to come.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn MI : 4:42 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I thought I'd read peoples comments on your question and get a few insights.

It's not your fault, but what a waste of time! This blog is simply a forum for those with a level of hatred and venom for Bush that is simply incredible, unfathomable, and unsupportable. There no longer seems to be an objective few to the facts and history.

As far as the report goes, other than a few good ideas, I'd say there is no real strategic change in the report besides the one we already have. Which is train the Iraqi troops and get out. They already have a new constitution and a democratically elected government.

Keep up the good work.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin Kamperman - Seattle, WA. : 5:12 PM ET
It's time for soldiers in Iraq to lay down their weapons and for those in the USA to refuse to go. Maybe then a report that somebody writes will have impact.
Posted By Anonymous David, Grapevine TX : 5:13 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
Recommendations are just that..recommendations. The ISG has no authority to actually do anything. It's very frustrating to hear all the talking but nothing happening. The ISG is saying one thing, the President another, the generals on the ground another. I think we figured out a long time ago this wasn't working. It just feels like we've been treading in manure for way to long and we need to start shoveling our way out.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl M. Johnston,Rhode Island : 5:44 PM ET
I am not sure how many americans understand the current crisis in Iraq. The bottom line today is that after the ouster of Saddam Hussein the power has shifted from Sunni muslims to Shiite muslims.

Obviously, the Sunnis are not happy about this and will continue to fight for what they have lost.

What is happening today is inevitable... and there is no easy way out. You can have as many study groups as you want but they won't be able to come up with a magic solution, because one does not exist.

That money will be better spent on a study group that investigates whether President Bush and his cabinet were justified in starting this war.

If they were NOT, punish them.

Although highly unlikely; if you are able to justify this war, then the entire world will stand by you.
Posted By Anonymous AJ, Hartford CT : 5:45 PM ET
The question is.... Does the Iraq report matter?

Sure it does, if anything it has opened the eyes of many that were blind to it before and have brought it all to the forefront of the people.
Now there will be more pressure placed on this retarded adminstration to get something done.

I'm just thankful my brother made it homee alive and well, and with many honors and awards to boot.

Timing and arrogance are decisive factors in the successful use of talent.....

Neither of which Bush is capable of.
Posted By Anonymous Taggett, Ypsilanti,Mi. : 6:54 PM ET
Your President doesn't even want to listen to the election results of his own people. What makes you think he's going to listen to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group?
Cowboy diplomacy to the end. My way or the high way.If you ask me, I'd say he's watched one too many John Wayne movies.
Posted By Anonymous Gissou, Canada : 8:36 PM ET
I skimmed the report and am not seeing much focus on defeating terrorism. Isn't that our goal? Any country can retreat, but we're Americans; we don't surrender.
Posted By Anonymous David Hughes Lake Barrington IL : 10:22 PM ET
Hi AC! I havn't read the report yet, my computer has been acting up all night. The ideas are good, but like others on this blog, I wonder if Mr. Bush will pay much attention to them. I would also like to hear what his Generals are recommending. Coming back from vacation , I sat next to a Dr. stationed in Iraq, home for Thanksgiving. He told me he feels that the troops think they can win this conflict. If the White House thinks they have to continue with this mess, maybe they can re-position more troops in Bagdad and at least try to stop the bloodshed there. It seems to be out of control. It seems like there is still much to think about! Thanks for the coverage.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago, Il : 11:31 PM ET
The Iraq report appears to be a powerful intiative, let's hope it is implemented and not just another impotent exercise with the objective of silencing "the masses". Mr. Bush look, listen and learn, please, for the sake of the global community. From the land down under "we have got it", to the land on top "please ensure your leader "gets it". By the way... Miss Cheneys pregnancy is hardly worth international news, surely this woman can live her life the way she wants to. America stay focused on the big issues.
Posted By Anonymous Annette Brookes, Sunshine Coast, Australia : 11:39 PM ET
How can Ms Rice keep her job now that her foreign policy and diplomacy has been so completely repudiated by the ISG report and by reality. She should have quit when the ISG was created to do what she should have done at least 2 years ago. I don't get it.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick, Ontario, Canada : 11:47 PM ET
What I personally enjoyed was how both Baker and Hamilton adamantly kept stating how we're neither winning nor loosing in Iraq. What's worse? Just staying in a chaotic Iraq where no one knows where to go? or just calling it a defeat and getting out.

In my personal opinion, the only way to save face for the US is to atleast adequately train Iraqi forces and setting up a military dictatorship. Atleast we'll be out.

Although I have to admit that the attempt to atleast go somewhere and take some sort of course of action out is what the country really just wanted to hear. We went in without a full plan out. Like almost every other country we've helped or occupied, (excluding Vietnam) I think we're never ever going to completely leave Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Emily N, San Diego, CA : 11:53 PM ET
Wow! Listening to Tony Snow tonite,
I am beginning to think, in comparison,
Pres. Bush is a great orator!
Posted By Anonymous J Hill, St. Louis, MO : 12:22 AM ET
Perhaps if we listened to these suggestions at the beginning it would make a difference, but now it is too little and too late. The question is not whether we can avert a civil war; it is how bad the civil war will be. Dealing with Syria and Iran is necessary, as is a commitment to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The report, though also suggest that we should support the Iraqi army. The Iraqi army is home to sectarian fighters and death squads; Once Iraq breaks apart, the army will divide into sectarian camps. If we are to train and arm the Iraqi army, all we are doing is giving the militias trained and armed soldiers.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Lyons, Colorado : 12:28 AM ET
Does the Iraq Report matter? NO. The report is just a lot of bipartisan mumble jumble anyway....really has no solution. The solution in my opinion is BRING OUR SOLDIERS HOME NOW!
Posted By Anonymous Moe, Liverpool NY : 1:04 AM ET
Anderson, this report will matter if the reading level is no higher than Dr Seuss's book. It might sound funny but to be serious, we all like things simple and easy. If that is not the case, the report sits on the coffee table, and, we turn on the tv for the program at 10-midnight ET time on CNN.
Posted By Anonymous Claude Calgary AB Canada : 1:05 AM ET
The telling issue to me is that the ISG payed no attention to the illegal, irresponsible and immoral basis for the 'conflict' they now seek to 'win'. This logic is analagous to that of the cops who pumped the extra 40 rounds into the innocent wedding party as the result of a traffic accident in NYC last week!

Prolonging, continuing or further adding to this mad orgy of violence will make anything better.

Iraq needs a return of civil police authority, not an army...

Playing good cop or bad cop is immaterial now, Humpty Dumpty is in a thousand pieces in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Philip Stracke Detroit Michigan : 2:58 AM ET
Talk to someone who really knows what is going on tonight. Michael Ware. I think it is heroic how he has 'stayed the course' in talking to the real people dealing with Iraq. And Anderson you continue to do a great job.
Posted By Anonymous Ann Tulsa, Ok : 9:28 AM ET

Kudos on your reporting last night. Once again it has been proven that the political dogs keep chasing their tails over and over again! Or are they hamsters on the wheel???
Posted By Anonymous SP, Villa Hills, KY : 9:45 AM ET
Oh My God!! Are they (Bush & Blair) doing what I think they're doing?? Are they saying they will stay in Iraq till they win??
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 11:18 AM ET
"Are they saying they will stay in Iraq till they win??"

yes, that would be the general idea. God Bless our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coasties!
Posted By Anonymous xtina chicago IL : 1:21 PM ET
Does the report matter?
A number of respected statesmen and stateswomen have effectively dragged Georgie by his collar over to the pile of doo-doo on the rug. He is standing there, tail between his legs, and they are pushing his face in it.
And he is getting a good sniff of the mess he has caused, right in front of the news cameras. Even if the only words in the report were: "Bad dog!", the report would still be effective, because you have to be blind to stay in denial when the words are in black and white in front of your face. The first step in making a change is letting go of the denial.
By the way Anderson, congratulations on doing what no other reporter managed to do. Sometime when you are away from the hustle of Washington, make yourself a cup of cocoa and sit down and watch the tape of the interview. Don't listen to what anyone is saying. Watch the body language, the facial expressions, and listen to the tone of voice that is being used. Then be proud of yourself. Mr. Baker and Mr. Hamilton view you as a junior peer who "gets it", not another annoying mosquito they have to take questions from. It's also very clear they like you, and want to see you learn more about their world. These are the kinds of signals an experienced mentor sends when they want to establish a coaching relationship.
Thank you for the most honest interview I have seen in a long time. It gives me faith that there might be someone in Washington who has identified the problem and, more importantly, has an idea how to fix it.
Posted By Anonymous Julie San Diego : 2:22 PM ET
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