ISG Is an IED to the War Effort

by Mike on December 6, 2006

in Politics

The Iraq Study Group came down from Mt. Sinai today, handing President Bush two tablets containing their recommendations for the future course of the war in Iraq. The media will undoubtedly treat this report as Gospel. Wait a minute, they ridicule the Gospel. Never mind. The media will treat the report as a press release from the DNC. Its findings shall not be questioned. President Bush shall obey or feel the wrath of David Gregory.

The ISG agrees with the President that Iraqis must become responsible for their own security. Their recommendations include the redeployment of our non-force protecting troops by 2008. The reasoning behind this surrender timetable is a rejection of what they call “an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops in Iraq.” Also included in their recommendations is a call for dialogue with the irrational regimes in Iran and Syria and a re-commitment to the Arab-Israeli peace process. That last irrelevant recommendation has Sandra Day O’Connor’s fingerprints all over it.

I have little respect for this group of Monday morning quarterbacks. First, the ISG is not qualified to tell the Commander in Chief how to run a war. Notable committee members include split-the-baby, PTA wannabe Sandra Day O’Connor and Vernon Jordan, the man responsible for arranging glamorous jobs for Bill Clinton’s concubines. To be fair, the co-chairmen of the ISG are probably qualified. Jim Baker’s resume on international affairs is about three miles long and Lee Hamilton served honorably on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Despite their qualifications however, Baker and Hamilton are state department types. They seem to believe that talking to irrational tyrants leads to peace. It’s as if they expect Ahmadinejad to suddenly cooperate in Iraq and abandon his life long dream of Israeli annihilation after listening to Justice O’Connor’s voice of reason.

Another Commission shortcoming is its bipartisan composition. The executive branch was designed to be appointed by and answer to the President. This constitutional framework enables the President to receive advise from those interested in the success of the President’s policies. The decision to allot half of the ISG’s seats to the political opposition ensured that the recommendations would not contain advice but rather buzz words for the media to parrot while they shoot for a self-fulfilling prophecy by repeatedly asserting we are losing. In addition, the ISG’s bipartisan composition lends credibility to the group in the eyes of the public and makes it easier for the media to portray them as omniscient.

A President should seek advice from a wide range of people when running a war. The advice should come from those who are determined to assist the President in leading our nation to victory. The advice should preferably come from generals and other military leaders to ensure its reliability even if it is unpopular. In the event political opponents have significant input, it really should be given behind closed doors rather than by a commission cloaked in moral authority it has not earned and does not deserve. The only ISG findings which should be followed are those approved by the President’s military advisers.

The entire ISG exercise is like President Lincoln asking John Breckenridge for advice on how the Union should win the Civil War and then asking the Lynchburg Daily Virginian to cover the findings. It was irresponsible for President Bush to lead our nation into war without an effective PR strategy to combat the Democrats and the media. It is even worse to cloak weak-kneed Republicans and partisan Democrats with the moral authority of an “independent commission.” This report will only provide the media with fodder to undermine our noble war effort. Although media assertions are no longer unquestioned, normal Americans must still call the media on their inaccuracies and recapture the spirit of 2004 to combat the upcoming ISG love fest. God knows President Bush has already checked out.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Rightonoz December 6, 2006 at 6:00 pm

Sorry, Mike, have to disagree in part.

Having a commission composed only of supporters guarantees that the result will only be what they believe and not open the possibility that there are other valid opinions. Given the total stuff-up of the war since the intiial invasion, it is obvious that those in the President’s circle and the military have no idea of what they are doing.

The noble war you refer to has decended to farce and any attempt to carry on in this veign without admitting the failures is only fooling ourselves. It is not unpatriotic to dissent and say so publicly. It is possible to totally disagree but to have unquestioned support for the men and women at the front. Democracy is founded on that central right/need.

The reality is that the Isreali/Palestinian conflict has significant influence on what happens in Iraq and the rest of the region and provides Syria/Iran with most of their ammunition for condemming the Coalition. The US is increasingly seen as having no interest in a just settlement in Palestine. (Even Blair/Howard have tried to convince Bush to take significant action there). I know there are terrorists in there that need wiping out, however the one sided history has helped Hamas to it’s current position and given Syria/Iran the excuses they needed to whip up more conflict.

I know you guys all hate Clinton, (I see him as a man with MANY failings, though some strength and a desire to solve some conflicts)however the last year of his reign came close to solving the issue. Pity Arafat was too great a fool or too scared of the hard liners to grasp the opportunity presented. Have to remember that Sharon’s perfect timing of his visit caused Palestinian outrage that reingnited the conflict and I can tell you without fear of contradiction that it was Sharon’s plan all along. At that time the last thing Sharon wanted was a peace treaty. It would have doomed his rise to leadership.

I’ll repeat what I have previously said. Bush was wrong! Now having said that, I belive that the correct Conservative president (No weak kneed leftie on the scene would have had the balls to see it through)would have gone after Bin Laden etc with a more narrow focus with a greater chance of success. I see nothing to change my view that Iraq ended up being an additional unneeded weakening of our focus.

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Ryan December 6, 2006 at 6:59 pm

See, the thing is, they’ve (the MSM and the Dems) been calling it a failure since the first sandstorm hit our troops March 25, 2003, so please understand our blighted hope for a fair treatment of this council and its findings. Even the Dems will not implement all aspects of the sacrosanct 9/11 commission report, even after running on doing just that in last year’s elections!

America’s hands are not clean, yet the UN has done a great job, as we saw this summer, in making sure that the Mideast remains a mess in regards to Israel and Palestine, its weak stand on Hezbollah, its inability to deal with Iran’s nukes, and its smugness in refusing to aid in Iraq. Shouldn’t their guilt be getting to them, supporting Saddam for so long through Oil-For-Food, now letting them suffer in Saddam’s absense?

I also believe that negotiating with Syria and Iran will not gets us as far as a few well placed bombs. They have shown since 632 that they do not respect our Western value of “agreeing to disagree” as a way to solve problems. Running in circles only gets you dizzy.

We can all thump our chests and smile a big smile that Iraq is a failure, but where does that get us? Think about who has been trying to make it a farce since Day 1. Think about who’s interest it is in for America’s failure in Iraq. Those thoughts trouble me when people talk about failure as if it’ll solve ANY problem.

If America had been in a kick-ass mood back in 2003 this wouldn’t be a problem: shoot the looters on sight, keep the Iraqi military for public works jobs, kill al Sadr in his Karbala mosque, think about the fact that Saddam was holding a gun when they dug him out of his spiderhole… but, our military commanders were awfully PC back in ’03. In my opinoin, this wuss-like attitude is behind much of this “bipartisan” ISG report.

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Mike December 6, 2006 at 9:00 pm

Oz:

Good to hear from you. I’m a little disappointed in your comment. You said you disagreed in part. What part did you agree with?

I would agree with you that it’s possible to vigorously dissent from a war without having unquestioned support for our troops in battle. Unfortunately, that is not what opponents of the war have done. As Ryan pointed out, these people screamed quagmire from the very beginning, a tactic they also used in Afghanistan by the way until they had the Iraq war to oppose. It was not the Republicans who opposed funding our troops in battle with $87 billion. It was not Republicans who limited their fiscal discipline to the military during the 1990s and was not the Republicans who opposed our military buildup during the 1980s. Opposing a war while supporting the troops is possible, but that is not what is happening today.

I can speak for Ryan and Sal on this second point which is we don’t hate Clinton. We just don’t respect him, and with good reason. I think we might agree on that.

Third, the Israeli Palestinian conflict is not something that can be solved by an American President. You mention that Clinton came close. I suppose that is true but that’s all that can be achieved by an outsider, coming close. Israel occupies territories they gained from wars they did not ask for. Now, Israel’s enemies demand that the Palestinians be given land they never had in the first place. The West Bank belonged to Jordan. If the anti-Israeli nations don’t want Israel on a particular parcel of land, my advice is: don’t invade Israel and then whine when you lose. Only the Israelis and Palestinians can solve this problem. If the Israel thing wasn’t there, Iran and Syria would find some otehr pretext. Ask Lebanon.

Fourth, I disagree that the president did not focus on Bin Laden. Due to President Bush’s policies, Bin Laden lost his state sponsor in Afghanistan, in the process a base of operations for his terorrist plans. His finances have been severely damaged. He lost nearly 75 percent of his terrorist network becasue we killed or captured them. He hasn’t successfully launched an attack on American soil in five years. He may at some point, but his ability to do so has been hampered. The only thing Bin Laden produces today are videotapes from his somewhere deep inside a cave studios.

Fifth, we can do more than one thing at once. Using the logic that “we took our eye off of the ball” (my quotes, not your words), that’s what happens anytime a leader does anything other than a particular priority. Bush presumably works on economic matters or social policy. The fact that he does so doesn’t mean his eye is off of the ball. We can do both and we have.

Finally, of course some things have been failures. I agree with Ryan that we should not have been PC at the beginning. Of course it could be better. But the fact that Iraq is in a dangerous if not chaotic situation is not evidence of defeat. It is evidence that there is a war going on. Many war oppoenents (please forgive me, I can’t recall what your position was at the time), opposed the conflict from the beginning because they are naturally queesy about the horrors of war. What I fail to grasp is how someone can support a war without realizing there could be casualties. War is not a video game. When I supported the war after reserving judgment for a good while, I concluded that Saddam’s ties to Al Qaeda (proven by the translated documents) justified asn invasion. I prayed for a war similar to Gulf War I but did not expect it. That said, Saddam is gone. The state sponsor of terrorism is gone. Casualties are fewer than in other wars which everyboody recognizes as successes.

Is it perfect? No. It’s war. Given the difficulty, the last thing the President should have done is establish a group the media will utilize to undermine the effort.

Sorry for the long response. You raised some good arguments. (wrong, but good arguments)

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Rightonoz December 6, 2006 at 9:35 pm

Hi guys,

I have to be honest and say I did not support the war from day one, not because of any unease about fighting the good fight, just because I believed it was the wrong one.

I agreed with your summation of some of the panel members.

Afgahnistan was necessary, and I stated once before that we dropped the ball by allowing local militia to take certain locations where senior Talliban officials and A Q supporters were trappped with the result they were allowed to slip away. (Yes money changed hands/favours were called, the reality of the region). I still believe that Afghanistan should have been the continued focus for some time with significantly more pressure on Pakistan.

I have no problem at all with war as essential at times. Apart from my own background I have a family history, with 4 family members killed in WW2 including 3 on the same day in 2 related actions, one being summarily executed in France for being a Commando, so I’ll happily kick the Sh.. out of anyone that accuses me or family of being weak knee’d. (not that I’m suggesting you have)

As I’ve previosuly mentioned I believed that Iran was the logical next step.

On Palestine, hey, I know only too well that it was the surrounding countries that caused the whole stinking heap it is today, however believe that there have been a couple of chances to clean it up provided both sides had taken the opportunity. Clinton’s effort to get into the history books was the closest and failed not due to him, but Arafat etc with help from Sharon. Unfortunately the reality of the world is that it will have to be fixed by a US president. The US holds so much sway over Isreal and moderate Palestinians that very forceful diplomacy over both will be the cure. Forget about the Russians, their main interest is strategic power that is enhanced by the struggle and most of Europe are too weak to insist on the concessions from the Palestinians that will be necessary.

On Clinton, let’s face it he was a sleaze when it came to women and deserved/s all the caning he got for it however I do respect hime for his efforts on Palestine and since on AIDS, so some good in everyone. (perhaps hate was a bit strong)

As always my comments are not aimed personally and appreciate the dialog (even though you’re sometimes not right :-) )

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Rightonoz December 6, 2006 at 9:41 pm

BTW guys, agree totally with your summation of the UN!

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Sal December 8, 2006 at 11:45 am

I think Rush’s re-naming of the group is rather apt: The Iraq Surrender Group.

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