November 1, 2006  

To the Iraq Study Group,

for further fanning the fire over whether to quit Iraq. The panel, led by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, let it be known publicly in October that it was considering two options for Iraq — both of which would reverse U.S. policy. One would be a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops to bases outside Iraq. The other would seek help from Iran and Syria to stabilize Iraq and quell insurgency fighting.

The bipartisan commission, which is due to report next year, should save its thoughts for then. Releasing potential pullout plans, especially ahead of the November elections, only adds to the mire of withdrawal thinking at a time when this is untenable. Staying the course may not be a viable long-term strategy, but it’s the only short-term reality.