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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ideas With No Basis in Reality

The Congress is supposed to have appropriated 1.3 million dollars for the Iraq Study Groups recommendations. Congress definitely got robbed. There was some decent analysis, the problem is the analysis portion of the report consists of the same things our military has been saying. The military recommendations on the other hand, have absolutely NO basis in reality.

The recommendations as noted in the questions that followed the press conference, were made by a panel of people that visited Iraq a total of one time and never left the green zone. Ms. Underestimated notes this exchange also:

Then another reporter got up and asked why the President should listen to a group of folks like them, most of whom who have only been to Iraq once, instead of the generals on the ground? The answer they give will confuse you as it did me. Lots of grandstanding, chest-puffing, and what the hell was that goofy grin on Baker when he was up there? Does he miss the spotlight? Was he enjoying the attention? Was he on ecstasy?

They tried, I will give them that, but once again, you do not bring a group of civilians into a military operation and expect them to be taken seriously on operational advice.

Truth Laid Bear has an interesting observation here.

Reactions are mixed with Captain's Quarters mentioning what I have been saying about iran and Syria:

I've had more of a chance to look through the ISG report ... and it really doesn't get any better. The fundamental problem with the ISG is to misunderstand the entire war on terror. When we invaded Afghanistan, we did it because it sheltered and promoted terrorism, specifically the terrorists that had killed almost 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Iran and Syria do the same; they shelter and promote the terrorists that have killed American troops in Iraq as well as our allies in Israel. Syria allows them to cross their border with Iraq at will to organize, train, and hide, and Iran provides them with weapons.

What the Baker/Hamilton group proposes is nothing less than an endorsement of their tactics. By going to Teheran and Damascus to ask for their assistance, we will have proven that their terrorism and interference pays dividends -- or did the ISG believe that they would stop their terrorism if we merely asked?
A big waste of time and quite a bit of money, but oh well, the old folks got their time in the spotlight and now the Pentagon will do what it is there to do, and make the recommendations from the military, the folks that are actually ON the ground IN Iraq. Yanno, the folks that KNOW exactly what is going on.

Townhall points out the criticism from the Wall Street Journal as well as adding this:

Cohen and James are hardly alone in condemning the report as a massive bit of unintentional parody. Watching the replay of the ISG's press conference last night, with solemn pronouncement after solemn pronouncement from somnambulist after somnambulist, I was struck by how absolutely feckless this entire exercise was. Because the ISG was not serious about the nature of the double-headed enemy --al Qaeda-allied jihadists and the Iranian mullah-led Shia radicals and their Syrian thugocrats-- it could not be serious about the way forward.

The does about sum up this waste of paper, time and money, but then again, how many people actually expected these people to come up with any real ideas that made sense?

So now, we will spend days talking about how unrealistic some of the recommendations are. (The link is to the full text of the report) and waiting for the Pentagon's recommendations, which I do have every confidence will deal with the realities on the ground, rather than the fantasy of what Iran and Syria can do for Iraq. What a joke.

The very people that have been causing quite a bit of the violence and these old geezers think that asking them to help will do any good. Amazing how naive people get when they get past a certain age sometimes. Some keep their mental facilities and others seem to just lose any reason they may have once had.

The American Prospect states it well:

Given the specific lineup of the 10 wise men and women serving on the Iraq Study Group, the most conspicuous absence is that of supermodel Heidi Klum. Sure, she has no relevant experience in foreign policy, nor any real knowledge of Iraq -- but neither do commissioners Sandra Day O'Connor, Vernon Jordan, Alan Simpson, or Edwin Meese. What Klum does have to offer is a lesson completely lost on the commission, one taught each week on her hit reality show Project Runway: you're either in, or you're out. When it comes to Iraq, it's good advice. true.

The New York Times says the groups recommendations is based more on hope than on history and goes against the military advisers.

But no sooner did General Casey present his plan in Washington than it had to be deferred. With sectarian violence soaring in Baghdad, the United States reinforced its troops there. More American soldiers are now involved in security operations in Baghdad than Iraqi troops.

Now, the Iraq Study Group is essentially taking General Casey’s plan off the shelf and carrying it further. The group’s final military recommendations were not discussed with the retired officers who serve on the group’s Military Senior Adviser Panel before publication, several of those officers said.

Military experts say there are several difficulties with the panel’s recommendation. First, it underestimates the challenge of building a capable Iraqi security force. After several years of desultory efforts, the United States has taken steps to upgrade and better prepare the teams of American advisers who are assigned to Iraqi units. But training the Iraqi Army is more than a matter of teaching combat skills. It requires transforming the character of the force.

“The new Iraqi Army will need years to become equal to the challenge posed by a persistent insurgency and terrorist threat,” Lt. Col. Carl D. Grunow, a former military adviser, wrote in a recent issue of Military Review, a journal published by the United States Army.

That about sums it up.... unrealistic.

Now if a group of people who had spent a day in Iraq and never left the green zone gives opinions and the military gives counter opinions, who would YOU listen to in a time of war? That would seem like a no brainer question, but I do bet that quite a few with no brain would answer it wrong. I would willingly bet money on that one.

All in all, a big waste of time and money and the President will end up listening to his military advisers. After all, this is why they are there.

I will leave you with Power Lines summary:

Thus, the ISG report lives up to its advanced billing. The best the "wise men" can come up with is to have our worst enemies try to help us stabilize Iraq. And, apparently, the primary inducement will be to pressure Israel into creating a Palestinian state (as if Iran really cares about that). It's difficult to say which is more pronounced, the craven nature of this recommendation or its lack of realism.

Could not have said it better myself.

Others discussing this:
Captain's Quarters, Atlas Shrugs, Hot Air, Dean's World, Tammy Bruce, Prairie Pundit, Blue Crab Boulevard, Jules Crittenden, Don Surber, Amy Proctor. More discussions here.

Iowa Voice has an unrelated piece "A Date Which Will Live in Infamy", it is a good read.