'Stay The Course' Is Going Nowhere

Iraq Study Group chairs James Baker and Lee Hamilton at a briefing at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, Sept. 19, 2006.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called what's going on in Iraq "worse than a civil war." As authorities found dozens and dozens of fresh bodies on Monday, the U.S. military announced the deaths of nine more American service people on Sunday.

This week, the Iraq Study Group will make its recommendations to the White House. But Newsweek was already reporting that White House staffers have been dismissive of the study group thus far.

The study group doesn't have a silver bullet. Nor does it have a magic wand. But it does say "stay the course" doesn't get us anywhere — which, incredibly enough, is exactly the same conclusion Donald Rumsfeld came to in the memo he wrote just days before he resigned as Defense Secretary.

It's a stark assessment, with a laundry list of Plan Bs. My only thought: What took him so long?

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.