With negotiations continuing this week on a new war funding bill, the administration is strongly signaling that it would accept the idea of requiring the Iraqi government to meet political benchmarks or else risk losing some assistance from the United States. That was one of the key proposals from the group headed by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former Indiana congressman Lee H. Hamilton, but it was initially dismissed by the White House when first proposed last December.
The administration is also preparing for its first substantive discussions with Iran, to begin on Memorial Day, not long after its first high-level talks with Syria in more than two years. The Iraq Study Group had strongly urged such regional diplomacy aimed at fostering a political settlement and bringing down the sectarian violence in Baghdad.
"They are coming our way," Hamilton said in a recent interview.
Revisiting the Iraq Study Group's proposals, we'll recall, is one of Rep. Wayne Gilchrest's causes. In related news, the talk of this weekend's Maryland Republican meeting was State Rep. Andy Harris's coming challenge to Gilchrest, to finally punish him for his damnable correctness.