It should be no surprise that Bush has "decided" to ignore the advice of the ISG and instead "double down" on Iraq. The two key reasons for doing so: concern about his legacy and oil.
The former has been obvious for some time, with GW's presidency already ranking near the bottom of the presidential heap, with many believing he's the worst ever. There are multiple reasons for this "worst ever" title, but Iraq is the biggie and it appears very unlikely he's going to be able to reverse the situation there and thus manage to move ahead of at least Nixon and Harding.
The other reason for GW opting to "surge" rather than withdraw is due to the oil in Iraq. Given Saudi Arabia and the many oil interests in this administration's back pocket, you can bet he's receiving very direct, stern words of advice from some of the most powerful voices in the world. The short message: he cannot risk losing this region to civil war and insurgents.
The following depiction (from Simmons & Co.) shows perhaps the most valuable section of real estate on the planet.
This relatively small horseshoe-shaped area forms the epicenter of the current geopolitical struggle, with nations continuously plotting and strategizing in an attempt to secure this region for their side.
Yes, one reason GW initially invaded Iraq was to show-up his father, to attempt to finish the job that Bush 41 wisely left undone. Junior didn't appear to listen to anything his dad had to say about Iraq before invading the country, and if anything GW likely flouted anything he did manage to hear and went the other way (case and point, hiring the likes of Rumsfeld and the gang of neocons).
But make no mistake, the powerful global energy entities -- whether in the form of country or company -- made themselves heard loud and clear at the start of this mess and to this day continue to make themselves heard with high-impact. Latest example: Cheney's "curious" meeting with the Saudis.
So if you ever wonder why GW continues to be so stubborn and set in his ways regarding this nightmare, despite 70+% public opinion desiring a withdrawal and even many in his own party beginning to question the motives and gameplan (assuming there is one), the above offers at least a few items and suggestions to chew on.
Finally, Nicholas von Hoffman has a terrific column in the latest NY Observer, with the final two paragraphs making some very convincing points:
Baker-Hamilton could not look defeat in the face. The document is a fudge, a way of putting off conceding that we have lost. That last statement will enrage many a patriotic supporter of our armed forces, who will say that we haven’t lost a single engagement. They will be correct, though it means nothing. Military historians tell us that in a guerrilla conflict, the occupying power wins every battle and still loses the war. That is what happened in Vietnam. We never lost a battle, not one.
And if we do pull out? Will there be worse chaos, a full-scale civil war, a failed state that Al Qaeda can use as a base, more horrors for the Iraqi people, a battle pitting the Sunni powers against the Shia and Iran? Maybe and maybe not. At this juncture, there is nothing else for us to do but pull out, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.