White House isn’t backing Iraq Study Group follow-up
By Robin Wright, Washington Post, July 12, 2007
Despite an overwhelming House vote last month to revive the Iraq Study Group, the White House has blocked reconvening the bipartisan panel to provide a second independent assessment of the military and political situation in Iraq, said several sources involved in the panel’s December 2006 report.
Co-Chairman Lee H. Hamilton, several panel members and the U.S. Institute of Peace, which ran the study group, were willing to participate, according to Hamilton and the congressionally funded think tank. But the White House did not give the green light for co-chairman and former secretary of state James A. Baker III to participate, and Baker is unwilling to lead a second review without President Bush’s approval, according to members of the original panel and sources close to Baker.
White House support is critical for any follow-up review. “It is not likely to happen unless the White House approves it,” Hamilton, a Democratic former congressman from Indiana, said in an interview. “The group can’t go ahead without its concurrence or acquiescence, as we need travel support and access to documents.” [complete article]