Who’s talking to the Iraq Study Group?

The Iraq Study Group has released the list of experts and officials it met with in order to gain insight into the situation in Iraq. A quick look at the list seems, sadly, to validate the conclusion reached by Michael Kinsley in today’s WaPo that those hoping that the commission will come up with some creative, ...

The Iraq Study Group has released the list of experts and officials it met with in order to gain insight into the situation in Iraq.

The Iraq Study Group has released the list of experts and officials it met with in order to gain insight into the situation in Iraq.

A quick look at the list seems, sadly, to validate the conclusion reached by Michael Kinsley in today’s WaPo that those hoping that the commission will come up with some creative, miracle solution to the mess in Iraq are likely to be severely disappointed. In fact, aside from a few Iraqi government officials and Pentagon generals, it doesn’t appear that the commission has spoken with anyone whose views are not widely available in the op-ed pages of the New York Times and Washington Post.

The list is notable for its exceptions. Here’s who you will NOT find on the list:

1. Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad, perhaps the one U.S. official who has addressed the Iraq debacle with some candor and foresight — and certainly the one official history will look kindly upon.

2. John McCain, Chuck Hagel, and John Kerry, three of the U.S. Senate’s most notable veterans of combat. This one is mind blowing.

3. Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, two key architects of the war, one a former dean of one of the most prestigious IR schools in the country.

4. Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher. The views of Team Clinton don’t appear very welcome.

5. Henry Kissinger, the dean of the foreign-policy establishment.

6. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The former commanders in chief (one of whom actually won a war and flew 58 combat missions in WWII) remain on the sidelines.

7. Fouad Ajami, Shibley Telhami, Bernard Lewis, Ray Takeyh, Kanan Makiya, and other notable scholars on the Middle East. This commission appears as isolated from the academy as the Bush administration is. [Thanks to a Passport reader for pointing out that Telhami is, in fact, a member of one of the ISG’s working groups.]

Three people who did make the list: Bill Kristol, George Will, and Thomas Friedman.

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