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Friday, December 15, 2006

Let us Thank the ISG Report

Charles Krauthammer writes a piece for
Townhall that accurately states that thanks to the ISG and their ridiculous recommendations are in order, because now the President has the chance to make a bold move for succcess in Iraq.

As a result of the Iraq Study Group, President Bush has been given one last chance to alter course on Iraq. This did not, however, come about the way James Baker intended. It came about because the long-anticipated report turned out to be such a widely agreed-upon farce. From its wildly hyped, multiple magazine-cover rollout (Annie Leibovitz in Men's Vogue, no less) to its mishmash of 79 (no less) recommendations, the report has fallen so flat that the field is now clear for the president to recommend to a war-weary country something new and bold.

The ISG has not just been attacked by left and right, Democrat and Republican. It has invited ridicule. Seventy-nine recommendations. Interdependent, insists Baker. They should be taken as a whole. "I hope we don't treat this like a fruit salad and say, 'I like this but I don't like that.'" On the basis of what grand unifying vision? On the authority of what superior wisdom? A 10-person commission including such Middle East experts as Sandra Day O'Connor, Alan Simpson and Vernon Jordan?

He also makes the point that the ISG report and recommendations state clearly the ramifications for Iraq, the Middle East and to the US, should we leave to soon, in the same breath as recommending that we leave too soon.

But having told us that the price of leaving Iraq to chaos is unacceptably high, the commission never attempts to come up with a plan for actually succeeding. Its only new initiative is to go regional, and involve neighboring Syria and Iran.

Syria should stop infiltration, declares the report. And Iran ``should stem the flow of equipment, technology, and training to any group resorting to violence in Iraq.'' Yes, and obesity should be eradicated, bird flu cured, and traffic fatalities, particularly the multicar variety, abolished. Such fatuous King Canute pronouncements give the report its air of detachment from reality.

This holding back of the tides is to be accomplished by negotiations with the likes of Iran. Baker admits that Iranian representatives told the commission that they are unlikely to cooperate. But we must press on, Baker insists, because we will thus expose Iran as "a rejectionist nation" that is "not ... willing to help try and stabilize Iraq."

Now there's a diplomatic achievement: undermining our hard-earned agreement with the Europeans to make any future approach to Iran dependent on the suspension of uranium enrichment in order to ... demonstrate to the world that a country providing sophisticated weapons, roadside bombs and financial support to both sides of the civil war does not support stability there. Is there a sentient adult outside this commission who does not know that already?

Therein lies the crux of the problem, the ISG's recommendations have no basis in reality. To propose what is no more than "mind games" with Iran, to achieve what they admit will be nothing more than showing the world that Iran is a destabilizing entity, which is something the international community already knows.... is a completely redundant and dangerous game they wish to play.

He then goes on to point out what I have said multiple times here on this very blog, thinking that the Israeli/Arab conflict is the be all end all of every problem in the Middle East is beyond childish is utter garbage.

A major objective of the New Diplomatic Offensive (as if pompous capitalization makes for substance) is to bring Arab-Israeli peace. Baker thinks that if only the Israelis would surrender to Arab demands, all would be well in the Middle East.

OK. Imagine that there is peace between Israel and the Arabs. No, imagine an even better solution from the Arab point of view -- an earthquake that tomorrow swallows Israel whole and sinks it (like Santorini, 1650 B.C.) into the Mediterranean. Does anyone imagine that the Shiites stop killing Sunnis? That al-Qaeda stops killing Americans? That Iran and Syria work any less assiduously to destabilize post-Saddam Iraq? It's these obvious absurdities that made the report so dismissible.

Now that these 10 establishment sages have labored mightily to produce a mouse, the president has one last chance to come forward with a new strategy.

Bush now has to come out with a bold plan, one that his military believes will work, one that will address the issues of the reconstruction, since the actual war (which was toppling Saddam) has been won.

As Krauthammer points out:

It is our last chance for success. Bush can thank the ISG and its instant irrelevance for making it possible.

On the Iran and Syria front, Rice flatly rejects the idea of engaing them because the cost would be too high.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday rejected a bipartisan panel's recommendation that the United States seek the help of Syria and Iran in Iraq, saying the "compensation" required by any deal might be too high. She argued that neither country should need incentives to foster stability in Iraq.

"If they have an interest in a stable Iraq, they will do it anyway," Rice said in a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post reporters and editors. She said she did not want to trade away Lebanese sovereignty to Syria or allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon as a price for peace in Iraq.

She is right, you cannot trade Lebanon or allow Iran nuclear capabilities as some kind of "trade" for stabilizing Iraq. Again, it is like suggesting to a fireman to use gas to put out a fire.

She is right. To suggest engaing Syria and Iran is nothing short of extreme stupidity.

The lessons od history should have taught us what appeasement does NOT accomplish, the most recent was our attempt to appease North Korea and il-Jong, which backfired in our faces. (No, I am not insulting Clinton, it was worth a try, it is simply a lesson that we needed to learn, which hopefully we now have)

Another example: I often compare Ahmadinejad to Hitler, and the comparison is sound. Not only is the similarities there in
Ahmadinejad's words toward Israel, they are also there by way of Rice's comments, we cannot sacrifice Lebanon to obtain Syria's and Iran's help with Iraq.

The appeasement of Hitler by Britain and France in 1935-1939 was a huge mistake. Hitler's Germany was initially weak, and gradually became more aggressive as it became stronger. Hitler, the ultimate aggressor who wanted the entire world and said so clearly, could be stopped sooner. But instead, these countries turned to appeasement and to great unilateral reduction of their own military forces. The result was that when Hitler invaded France in 1940, their armies were weak and not modern, while his modern army used not only German weapons, but also the arsenal of the dismantled Czech army, enough to equip 40 divisions. Sacrificing Czechoslovakia to appease Hitler just gave him much more power to defeat the western allies.

No one claims that mistakes have not been made in Iraq and if they have they are deaf, dumb and blind. That is a fact. Mistakes have been made in every war because war has the element of the unknown that cannot be mystically seen and known beforehand.

People forget their history and the mistakes made in other wars, from the generals that Lincoln handpicked in the American Civil War that he then had to replace, to the mistakes made in World War II, the lack of American submarines that historians say would have ended the war two years earlier, is but one example of the greatest mistakes in World War II.

Mistakes are made in all wars and will continue to be made, new mistakes, but the lessons of history should be learned, so we do not repeat those mistakes also....that does not mean that we should chose to be defeated. Success in making Iraq a democratic country that can rule itself, sustain itself and defend itself is a goal worth the fight.

Blue Crab Boulevard has more on King Canute that Krauthammer refers to in his article.

Right Wing Guy has an idea for the first bold move.

Others dicussing this:
Decision `08.
Jules Crittenden.