Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Iraq Study Group: Reflections

I have a number of reflections on the ISG report that I thought might help prompt more discussion here.
1. In 1991, Baker was involved in the first Gulf War, counseled against its extension to Baghdad, and, in its immediate aftermath, convened the Madrid Conference, exactly the sort of broad regional meeting he is proposing now. In many ways, the ISG report is a condemnation of GWBush's foreign policy team of neocons who failed to follow up on the Madrid Process.
2. The subtle conclusion is also that if Clinton had followed Madrid to reach a general regional settlement, rather than being sidetracked by starry-eyed Oslo process, 9/11 might not have happened. Baker's Madrid process was upstaged by the secret Oslo deal that stunned everybody. Baker has some sense of Schadenfreude that he can again publicly advocate a return to his ideas from 15 years ago. What followed Oslo, peace with Jordan, was nonetheless consonant with that process. The failure to make a deal with Syria thereafter, and the failure, indeed, of the Oslo process, has much to do with the assassination of Rabin and Netanyahu's unfortunate election. Netanyahu is sort of the GWBush of Israel. Of course, Arafat deserves much of the blame also, but he was much more of a known quantity. When the fox eats the chickens, you can blame the fox, but you should also blame the farmer for not anticipating the fox. As I say to RBR, what do you expect from a pig but a grunt? As for whether 9/11 could have been prevented, it is impossible to say. But the elimination of the two main irritants in the middle east - the Arab/Israeli conflict and the US troop presence in Saudi Arabia, might hav helped.
3. This report is a body blow to the Bush administration. The inescapable conclusion is the whole Iraq project was wrongly conceived from day one, then bungled with shocking incompetence thereafter. Bush said just last month that we were definitely winning in Iraq. The ISG said that is totally false. It leaves Bush marginalized and isolated. Beforehand, his stance: ("we are fighting a war on Islamic Fascism and terrorism, the soul of the Western civilization, WWII all over again blah blah blah") not the only game in town. Lots of moderates in Washington who thought that to be pure BS nonetheless supported the White House and the war believing that we were winning, or going to win, or could win if we just stayed the course. After ISG, that is gone. You can only support the Bush administration if you are prepared to adopt its bizarre ahistorical messianism.
4. It shows just how impossible Iraq has become that the ISG suggests that part of solving the Iraq problem is to solve the Arab/Palestinian problem. Next up: cold fusion and the perfect souffle.
5. "Mission Accomplished" never sounded more stupid.
6. The real message of the ISG is that the whole situation in the Middle East is far, far worse than it was the day before the Iraq war. This has been a blunder of epic proportions, on the order of the Intolerable Acts of or Napoleon invading Russia.
7. Bush has one card left to play: increase troop levels. It's the only thing he can do that the Congress will not dare oppose. More war will make it harder to criticize the war. It's the only thing he can do that he has not yet tried. Once again put scenes on our TV screens like we had in the initial days of both Iraq and Afghanistan, when the whole public supported our war efforts and cheered for our troops. Make it look and feel like a great national crusade. Then start the Baker international conference, once everyone is scared shitless.


Anonymous said...

Of course the problem with option 7 is two fold. First, where do we get all these extra troops? Second, from a purely political point of view, increasing the number of troops would be the Iraq equivolent of invading Cambodia. It would bring people out into the streets. 

// posted by RBR

Anonymous said...

I agree with RBR, especially since my brother just got promoted to Platoon Srgt. ( and E-8 job) from Staff Srgt ( an E-6) and yet to recieve training for his previous job of Staff Srgt. For those who don't know what E-6 and E-8 mean, these are the pay grades used by the U.S. Military. Civilians have a GS (government service) rank that runs in a similar fashion. In effect, my brother, who is considering leaving the service in 2008, has jumped 2 pay grades in terms of his position and that means in terms of repsonsibility without having been given training or passing through the normal process of promotion. 1: They don't want to loose him 2: they are so desperate for work horses, they are promoting through the ranks very quickly. And this means that he will most likely do another tour in Iraq. And this time, he will be much more of a target regardless of what he tells my mother.

On the radio the other day, they are talking about changing National Guard rotations. National Guard are supposed ot be our reserve force. In effect, we no longer have a reserve force. By law, for every year in, National Guard are supposed to be 2 years out. These guys are being called back to do 2 and three tours and they have to leave their equipment when they come home. So you have a "reseve" force that has no equipment and bascially no staff.

The only thing you can do is draft. And you know who will get stuck having to do that . . . Democrats. And you know what that will do do Democrats.

The the Iraqi Study Group just said is that you must always take a holistic approach the the Middle East. And it doesn't help when you have the Saudis paying for insurgencies while at the same time helping us by flooding the market with oil and operating as a middle man for us to buy wepaons for the Pakistanis. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

Yep, Iraq is a mess-o-potamia alright. Best to just cut bait and stop risking US West's brother's life and those of his comrades, to protect the egos of the misguided policy makers in the Bush adminstrations whose arrogance got us into this mess in the first place. 

// posted by RBR