KICKING THE CAN….William Arkin is unimpressed with the ISG’s proposals and the likely new plan that will emerge from them:

Here’s how I see Iraq playing out in the short term: The president makes an announcement within a month about his “new” plan. Washington is ever so pleased with a new approach. But the a la carte plan is seen by the Iraqis for what it is; it is not a U.S. timetable for withdrawal. It is not an unequivocal pledge not to establish permanent bases. It is sovereignty and authority in name only for Iraq with continued American control behind the scenes. I can’t see [how] any of this equivocation will deflate the insurgency or stem the hatred for America that is fueled by our presence.

The “plan,” in other words, is neither what the American people nor the Iraqi people want.

Arkin also makes the salutary point that this plan “merely kicks the day of reckoning further down the road.” He’s right: Every extra day that we spend in Iraq merely makes our eventual disengagement harder and bloodier. Always remember: things can get even worse than they are now. They have for each of the previous three years, after all.