As it is, the ISG seems more like a club than a mission-oriented policy-making panel. For example, I don't think military strategists likely would interview The New York Times' Thomas Friedman or The Washington Post's George Will, but according to its Website, the ISG did.
I'd rather see a more diverse membership -- with a couple of wild cards -- duke it out. Pit Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., who wants more troops in Iraq, against Sen.-elect James Webb, D-Va., who wants to withdraw troops.
Because it is now too late to change the group's membership, let it issue a report with recommendations that don't appeal to every member -- and print dissenting opinions, as well. After all, every tactic has its drawbacks. Let the public see different arguments on troop levels, timetables, whether it makes sense to partition Iraq, the best ways to bolster Iraqi security forces, and what negotiations with Iran and Syria could produce.
America doesn't need another set of sonorous pronouncements of diluted middle-of-the-road recommendations and bureaucratic reshuffling. Instead of consensus, the Iraq Study Group should strive for vision.
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