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December 07, 2006


Hamilton too!

While I support the idea of a regional conference or conferences, particularly if not called and dominated by the US, we should not be overoptimistic what such an endeavor can accomplish. But it is better than stony silence alternating with overheated rhetoric.

On the other hand, the recommendation to scale back to 70,000 or so "advisers" seems ill-advised and unworkable. Is the military really going to leave that many of its people embedded with ill-trained troops of dubious loyalties, without the ability to call in reinforcements or even medivac helicopters? What are the US advisers going to do when the Iraqis with whom they are embedded want to take reprisals, as has become commonplace? Aren't we asking for more massacres and even fragging of hesitant advisers? I can't see how this will really work. But as a prelude to full exit, it may be the best we can do as an initial move.

Of course I have very little idea what would help the situation on the ground, which seems to be deteriorating into an even worse humanitarian catastrophe. Which is why I think leaqving is our best course.

"What are the US advisers going to do when the Iraqis with whom they are embedded want to take reprisals, as has become commonplace? Aren't we asking for more massacres and even fragging of hesitant advisers?"

Bullseye Mimi Katz, thank you!

There was a lot in the report from the Iraq Study Group about theories of how to organize civil peace in that difficult aggregate of mid century XX nationstates, in a complicated region.

The credits at the end of the 85-page report were impressive, given the abbreviated list of plenary meetings. In this age of fully meshed communications, much of the group's work likely could have been accomplished by secure weblog.

Recently I began review again of the report on the ten years of US policy working with politicians who were in various minorities in Iraq before the US Baghdad invasion. Rather than linking directly to it, I would like to show the page on which the link is available easily, as numerous companion reports, several more recent, are germane to the context in which the current ISG report is set: there; I am sure many TNH visitors know that historical profile; curiously, one of its most prominent characters is unnamed in the current ISG report; such is politics. Although blue ribbon panel reports often are consigned to bookend status, clearly much work went into the ISG effort; however, I wonder what a different composition of the panel would have reported based on similar information. I sense that 2008 will be the start of answering that, if the political tides shift continuously as they have commenced in our recent elections in th US.

I was pleased to see the ISG report named the Arab League, and often discussed UN involvements. But reading many passages is very laborious, as one sees the partisan filters that overameliorate the possible, yielding a rotund but sparse array of insights and recommendations. My impression was it is a methodical approach to a yet volatile region where a combination of natural resources and archaic social institutions are clashing with modern civilized procedures; and many of the brightest views are absent from the report. Perhaps it lays a foundation for a future effort best accomplished by leadership assisted by those intelligent individuals.
In all the recriminations about the Lancet counts, I have yet to see a depiction of the forecast for the mental health of the families of participants in and victims of the military strife. Fortunately, an accounting is to begin in the 110th US congress. I have little confidence Bush will choose other than yet another partisan of Bolton's style to be the US interface to the UN for two more years; though there was a moment when even a diluted presence there created a stir, though it took a patriotic exculpatory work by Woody to manufacture the controversy about the supposed misattribution of the chinashop caveat; read the sole post in the thread; Powell spent time in NYC, and evidently he reads signs; bargain basement.

And funny thing about Baker's FL loyalism 2000; one of the hanging chad butterfly ballot misleading design districts has done it again and may face revote if a 2006 legal action is successful, as the recent election saw a Republican win in a situation in which the layout of the graphics misled voters; same old.

I'm one of the 100 percenters. I'm a seether until we see some real seeking on U.S. foreign policy.

As JL points out, this report "yield[ed] a rotund but sparse array of insights and recommendations." Stuff that, indeed, could have been put together on a "secure weblog" over a much shorter period than nine months (during which 750 Americans and countless/uncounted Iraqis died).

As Russ Feingold has noted, there are, in the ISG's 160 pages, some good recommendations - some of the best of which are old recommendations. But what is missing is anything that prevents the next war, that will lead us anywhere near what is sorely lacking now, a complete makeover of American foreign policy which is - pretty much by both parties - been based on the U.S. post-Cold War role as hyperpower, as the French like to say.

To repeat a cliche, we need a paradigm shift. The ISG doesn't recommend that even for Iraq, much less put down a foundation of one for overall foreign policy.

looooooook, if I am a tool and am used by the gubment, I would like to know.

but will someone try to explain Iraq in a rational way with any basis for facts that have been reported, known to be fact, you know, guesswork to our press corpse

and then explain it if the sole purpose was to foment terror and control the oil fields from now on.

I have not seen a rational example of the former, and I have not seen enough people embrace the idea that the latter could be, or is most likely to be the driving cause.

I don't think any thing else makes sense when the demo's cave in to gates, willingly it seems. my guess is that our congress believes it is the end of life as we know it.

please, someone, point me to where this can be proven wrong, or even give me one scenario that makes even nearly as much sense as the permanent war preparation.


I think there's a space between 100 percenters and Bakers. They're called "those who were right." I think Feingold's critique is one of the best--where are all the damn people who had the judgment to know this thing was doomed from the start? Because those are the ones who made the good proposals about 2 years ago.If Reul Gerecht can be on there in all his wrongness, why not Meteor Blades, or Jimmy Carter?

I agree with oldtree---the implentation of the "creative destruction" plan was somehow aimed at combatting China's influence, IMO>

Dems put Bush in the White House, they knew they'd been bad and were in deep trouble.

What were the expectations of Bush if the US was attacked on it's own soil?

besides being used for toilet paper over in bush's private quarters in the white house, my opinion is that the isg essentially counts for absolutely nothing... it's been clear from the outset that the isg was intended to be nothing but smoke and mirrors, to buy time and provide cover for the bush administration to keep on doing exactly what it pleases, and i disagree with aj on americablog that the group "caved..." i think they were quite well "caved" before they ever started, and we americans, endlessly hopeful that the wise ones sitting on the dais really do know best, ate it up, hook, line, and sinker... we've been hoodwinked and bamboozled yet again... everyone's aflutter - over nothing... all you need to know about what bush will really do with the isg is contained in this squib from isg member lawrence eagleburger...
Eagleburger said after the event that when the group met with Bush, "I don't recall, seriously, that he asked any questions." Even the loyal Baker had to advise his friend's son that "it is time to find a new way forward."
and there ya have it...


My father calls it being between a rock and a hard place, and that is where America is right now..

This study group seems to have taken very different people, put them in a room, and tried to reach a consensus over a 9 month period.

If you have ever had that kind of training, you know that the answers you come up with are no one individual's answers, and maybe that is the key to the consensus strategy. At the end, you all agree and sign on to support the consensus.

The problem is getting people that weren't in that room to also agree.

Can we? Or are we going to just keep up the name calling, and back biting, and let this thing grow from a single malignant mole to an all encompassing, metastasizing world cancer?

"So it is perhaps fitting that Baker co-chaired the panel that has at last said out loud what 2/3 of the American people have concluded: George W. Bush and his Iraq War are disasterous failures and things must change for the survival of this country, let alone Iraq and the Middle East. And that, as I opined last week, is the most important accomplishment of the Baker-Hamilton Commission, to declare Iraq officially a failure."

Welcome to reality W! Mimikatz nails it, this is W's failure, period. And the Neocons. It's that simple. It is not the troops fault - they accomplished their mission. Now we need to get them the hell out of there.

The question, raised by Joe Wilson the other day at FDL, is can we even get 260,000 Americans (140k soldiers, 100k contractors, 20k administrators) out of Iraq safely? What do we have, 2 main roads south to Kuwait? Do they want us to leave badly enough that they let us go is really the question because otherwise getting out will be deadly.

This situation ain't no joke, yet The Delusional One dares mock at the presser: "I know it's hard. There. heh heh heh." Absolutely disgusting! The Wannabe King needs to be dethroned. Lives are at stake and we cannot endure another 2 years of this. Something's got to give.

I must say that I cannot wait until the books on the bush years that include how it came about and the whole ISG drama is written about. It will be a fascinating read.
I hope this is a wake up call to the rubber stamps in Washington, wingnut bushbots who delude themselves that Bush is the greatest president, the hate mongering talking heads and all the others who promoted this war, brooked no dissention and kept pushing for more and more outlandish behavior including torture.


Thanks for an interesting post. I agree with you that the most important objective the report accomplished was to finally and publicly say with some official imprimatur that the Iraq War/ Democracy Experiment has been a failure. One reason the report recommendations appear so timid is because the options are so few. The Iraq Debacle has accomplished what so many experts on the Middle East said would result from an invasion of Iraq - it would ignite a firestorm that would set the whole of the Middle East ablaze in sectarian strife which is the most favorable environment for Iran, Al Queda and Hamas to dramatically increase their sphere of influence.

The Iraq War is on course to become one of the top 10 worst strategic mistakes in international affairs in modern history. The stakes are high; the way forward, uncertain. Iraq must be stablized. This will require the active support of the other moderate Arab governments to achieve. It is in their urgent interest. Unfortunately, they will pay a price for this. It will exacerbate their own internal political situations. They are essentially "damned if they do and damned if they don't" so they have no choice but to intervene and suffer the consequences. The Middle East must be stablizied in the short term. This requires sophisticated diplomatic, economic, paramilitary, and policing skills that the Bush Administration does not have and it is most likely that the Administation will be unwilling to acquire the talent needed. It also requires a sustained and concentrated effort, another skill which does not exist in this Administration and it is highly doubtful that any outsider could be brought into the Administration to execute and manage the herculean efforts needed to stabilize the Middle East. Meanwhile, the Israeli-Palestinian problem continues to fester.

It is almost inconceivable that an American Administration could be so inept that its policies and the execution of those policies would accomplish the objectives of its enemies more efficiently and more effectively than they could do for themselves. The Iraq War is a collosal failure. Its repercussions could be catastrophic for the Western World and the Moderate Arab Governments. We lose. Iran and Al Queada win.

The Report in effect is a stunning indictment of the Foreign Policy of this Administration. It is remarkable for that. As a consensus document, it must navigate the shoals of many rivers of thought. Hence, it is more "Washingtonian" than one would hope, but it is exceptional in that it gives an official imprimatur to the conclusion that the public had already reached, Iraq is a mess and getting worse quickly and a change of course must be made immediately. What the report could not offer is a definitive course of action. The choices are stark. It's either stay and bleed with the goal of eventually stablizing the situation or to leave. If it becomes evident that the U.S. can no longer influence the eventual outcome in Iraq then to stay and bleed is unconscionable. Is it worth the extra lives lost to stablize Iraq? That becomes a much thornier debate. When is enough finally enough?

We aren't going to solve a damn thing until the 14 permanent bases and the ultra palace embassy are abandoned. It has to start with getting rid of those for anything else to work. IF that isn't done, then the fighting will never stop. I don't see that mentioned in this "report" anywhere. This bail W's ass out while staying the course is nothing more than a propaganda bullshit report.
The purpose of the ISG report in the first place was to put the fig leaf of 'independent comission'on the Bushco "stay-the-course-until-the-defeat-and-pullout-can- be-blamed-on-the-incoming-administration-in-2008." And nothing more. The ISG was NEVER going to cause a change. Bush is incapable of admitting he's a moron, and has never done one thing right in his entire life. I certainly don't expect him to start now. His ego matters more to him than the lives of every soul killed in his private, personal "war".
While all the hoopla has been going on about the ISG report, ELEVEN MORE OF OUR KIDS GOT KILLED .
Closer to home, today a co-worker and long time friend of mine found out that a friend of hers had just lost a son in Iraq, to which I loudly exclaimed for the whole office to hear,"THAT'S FUCKING BULLSHIT!" And I am sure that my republicunt and war supporting employers heard it too, but fuck 'em. Every death in Bush's fucked up folly brings back bad memories of MY BROTHER'S DEATH in the equally stupid and equally based on lies Vietnam war.

I agree that the ISG report is far too "Washingtonian" and that it doesn't actually take the reins and declare anything new, yet it still serves a purpose. It will further drive the public opinion of Bush and his war into the toilet.

Just read that W's approval/disapproval on Iraq stands at 27/71. These are bad #'s. Between diving poll #'s, the ISG report and more daily death, W's presidency is on a death watch. I have no idea how it will turn out, but it's gonna get interesting...

As actual policy guidance the Baker report is lame, especially the business about training. The problem with the Iraqi security forces isn't training, it's motivation and loyalty.

But the Baker report isn't really policy guidance in the usual sense - it's more like a parent-teacher conference. We are now at a point where Establishment mouthpieces like David Gergen speak openly about the Bush family psychodrama.

This is all about trying to get the kid to pull over before he wraps the car around a telephone pole.

That's what I was trying to say, al-Fubar. But I think it does and was intended to set the stage for more serious recommendations such as start getting out now before it gets any worse and while we can still get out. It is an effort to box Bush in so tightly he can't move.

There was no way out of Stalingrad, the number 1 failure of the 20th Century. It's very likely that the car is wrapped around the pole, in other metaphors. We may be living in that split second between the hard landing and the transfer of energy from the nose of the plane to the back.

Fahrenheit ISG: Coup d'etat by kanaan
Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 02:52:27 PM PST


Maybe you guys should introduce yourselves to each other?
I think you'd be friends.

I think the ISG Report needs to be viewed as an element in a new dynamic that will play out as Biden, Levin, Ike Skelton (and his "new Truman Commission") and Waxman set the schedule and topics for extensive hearings beginning in mid January. (C-Span needs more channels!) The key thing this report accomplishes is re-framing the problems -- The follow on of extensive and in-depth hearings (Biden promises 8 weeks of them) hopefully sets the stage for Congress to recapture its co-equal role in setting policy. I actually expect some parts of this to likely be as dramatic as Watergate Summer.

Hearings are only as good as the questions. Frankly, I would like Biden to let Boxer, Webb and Feingold do a 1,2,3 on every person called before the committee instead of the usual one Senator at a time approach.

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