Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

December 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

PRO FORMA REMARKS ON THE BAKER COMMISSION REPORT.....I can't very well say nothing about the Baker-Hamilton report, can I? On the other hand, I'm sort of shaking my head trying to figure out anything I ought to say about it. But let's take a look anyway.

It calls for a five-fold increase in trainers for the Iraqi military and police, which sounds like a reasonable proposal except for one thing: it's too obvious. If this is such a good idea, why hasn't the military already done it? Or at least planned to do it?

Baker is claiming that the report doesn't set out a timeline, but the report itself is replete with references to "milestones" that have to be met if the Iraqi government wants the U.S. to stay engaged. What's more, the report says all combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the first quarter of 2008. What am I missing? In what way isn't this a timeline?

And what's this about keeping 70,000 non-combat troops in Iraq pretty much forever? That got a unanimous blessing from the commission members? I think that tells you more about who was eligible for the commission than it does about whether this is a good idea.

And then there's this:

Iran should stem the flow of arms and training to Iraq, respect Iraqs sovereignty and territorial integrity, and use its influence over Iraqi Shia groups to encourage national reconciliation....Syria should control its border with Iraq to stem the flow of funding, insurgents, and terrorists in and out of Iraq.

Yes, I suppose Iran and Syria should do these things. And I should probably lose 30 pounds too. But what's going to make it happen? There's not even a hint that there's anything the United States should offer in return for this help.

Etc. I'll continue reading and listening, and I guess I'll concede that the report is more reality-based than the Bush administration, which represents at least a little bit of progress. Though I suspect James Joyner is pretty much right when he says resignedly that nobody is likely to take the recommendations very seriously: "It used to be said that politics ended at the waters edge; it has been many years since that was a reflection of reality. Both sides will use the Report to seek political cover for what they want to do but I suspect they will continue to bludgeon their opponents over the war."

UPDATE: Greg Djerejian emails to suggest I'm being unfairly dismissive about the report's diplomatic section, especially as it relates to Syria and Iran. He has a point. On page 51, the report does mention a few concrete carrots, including WTO accession, diplomatic relations, and a generally friendlier U.S. policy toward Iran (i.e., one that doesn't emphasize regime change and bombing missions). And God knows I'm not opposed to a serious diplomatic approach in the Middle East. On the other hand, there's this:

Our limited contacts with Irans government lead us to believe that its leaders are likely to say they will not participate in diplomatic efforts to support stability in Iraq. They attribute this reluctance to their belief that the United States seeks regime change in Iran.

Nevertheless, as one of Iraqs neighbors Iran should be asked to assume its responsibility to participate in the Support Group. An Iranian refusal to do so would demonstrate to Iraq and the rest of the world Irans rejectionist attitude and approach, which could lead to its isolation. Further, Irans refusal to cooperate on this matter would diminish its prospects of engaging with the United States in the broader dialogue it seeks.

Maybe this is just a realistic assessment. But it suggests to me more a pro forma approach designed to isolate Iran than a serious diplomatic offensive that truly aims to win their cooperation.

But I could be wrong.

Kevin Drum 1:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (149)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Let's leave Hamilton's name out of this. It is either the ISG or the Baker Commission, but hyphenating Hamilton in there hyphenates it into a de facto bipartisan fuck-up, when in actuality Bush owns this swamp exclusively.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 6, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

The Study Group presents a recipe for surrender and surrender the U.S. must for it has lost the war.

Posted by: Robert Dare on December 6, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

When they talk about embedding U.S. advisors in the Iraqi army, is that substantially different from what we are doing now? Does it mean that we are going to be taking orders from Iraqi commanders? Or is the report just calling for an increased focus on what we are currently doing?

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that mystifies me is the almost magical quality that is attributed, by the ISG and almost everybody else, to "training" Iraqi troops.

I'm pretty sure that almost everything I've read about what is really happening today, in existing training programs and exercises, according to the captains and majors who actually conduct and run those programs and exercises, is that Iraqis who are in the army have two principal motivations, to wit, money and training up to fight in their own sectarian militias, and they have essentially no interest in forming a lasting or unified national army.

In other words, the central premise of what will enable us to get out "honorably" is a fiction.

Now, this may be deliberate. It may be just a fig-leaf to allow us to blame the inevitable bloodbath entirely on the people who perpetrate it rather than partially on us who enabled it.

OTOH, they may actually believe it. They may actually be breathing their own exhaust. In which case, it's gonna be even uglier than it could be.

Posted by: bleh on December 6, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Baker is claiming that the report doesn't set out a timeline, but the report itself is replete with references to "milestones" that have to be met if the Iraqi government wants the U.S. to stay engaged.

Milestones are things that should be done. This is basically the same thing as Bush saying we shouldn't leave Iraq until the mission is completed. Baker-Hamilton talking about milestones is just a way for them to say they agree with Bush America shouldn't leave Iraq until the mission is completed.

And what's this about keeping 70,000 non-combat troops in Iraq pretty much forever?

The 70,000 non-combat troops is needed to protect the nascent free and democratic government of Iraq. "non-combat" simply means they are not there to engage in combat but they will engage in combat if necessary to protect freedom and democracy in Iraq.

Yes, I suppose Iran and Syria should do these things. And I should probably lose 30 pounds too. But what's going to make it happen?

We should use our 70,000 non-combat troops in Iraq and other troops outside of Iraq to military pressure them into doing so since preventing Iran and Syria from interfering in Iraq is one of the missions we have to complete.

Posted by: Al on December 6, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "And I should probably lose 30 pounds too. But what's going to make it happen?"

Here's what:

I lost 60 pounds (from 220 to 160) in one year by eating a diet based on filling up on fruits and vegetables, mostly raw (high water content, low calorie foods), with only small to moderate amounts of grains and legumes (dense, high calorie foods).

That's a vegan diet -- I've been vegetarian for 33 years and vegan for 18 years. If you eat animal products include them in the category of dense, high calorie foods and eat only small amounts.

In addition to losing 60 pounds my overall fitness and energy level increased, and I have pretty much maintained my weight at 160-170 pounds since then, although I eat somewhat more cooked (lightly steamed) vegetables now and somewhat less raw.

Oh yeah, and all US troops should be withdrawn from Iraq by July 2007.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 6, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

The Baker Report is a tremendous slap in the face to Bush. Hell, it's a bitch slap because it says over and over exactly the opposite of what Bush has been saying both in its descriptions and in its proscriptions and it says it in great and exhausting detail.

As for the current state of violence, not only does it state that it's bad and getting worse it actually suggests that Americans are not getting the full picture of just how bad it is, and that improvements in reporting need to be made.

Here's a little tidbit:

The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian catastrophe. Neighboring countries could intervene. Sunni-Shia clashes could spread. Al-Qaida could win a propaganda victory and expand its base of operations. The global standing of the United States could be diminished. Americans could become more polarized.

Let's see, violence so bad that it could spread to Iraq's neighbors, a situation so out of control that Bush may have handed a victory to Al Qaeda and a blow to the international standing of the U.S. -- that's some pretty strong stuff.

It goes on to suggest that we talk to Iran instead of bombing it, that we make the budgeting process for the war transparent so Americans can see where they're being duped about its costs, that we focus on the peace process and work toward the return of the Golan Heights, et al.

Pretty starkly different from Bush's "we're winning in Iraq and we're going to continue to win" speeches he was giving prior to the election.

It gets even more stark:

Current U.S. policy is not working, as the level of violence in Iraq is rising and the government is not advancing national reconciliation. Making no changes in policy would simply delay the day of reckoning at a high cost. Nearly 100 Americans are dying every month. The United States is spending $2 billion a week. Our ability to respond to other international crises is constrained. A majority of the American people are soured on the war. This level of expense is not sustainable over an extended period, especially when progress is not being made. The longer the United States remains in Iraq without progress, the more resentment will grow among Iraqis who believe they are subjects of a repressive American occupation.

So to sum up:

1) Bush's policy is a failure

2) "Staying the course" with this failed policy will result in even further disaster

3) This disastrously failed policy has crippled our country's ability to defend itself against other potential threats

4) We cannot afford this failed policy either monetarily or in the cost of American lives

5) The people we were told we were "liberating" actually see the U.S. as repressive occupiers


The report makes it clear that Bush has failed in the prosecution of this war and in making our country safer. Serious charges such as these are grounds for drawing up articles of impeachment, particularly point number three. Perhaps that course of action can be investigated while Congress simultaneously negotiates with the White House about implementing the Baker plan and preparing for troop withdrawals.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

There's not even a hint that there's anything the United States should offer in return for this help.

Last I looked Iran and Syria don't make contributions to the Republican party. The Decider doesn't offer anything to anybody who doesn't make large campaign contributions.

We are so screwed.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 6, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Iran should stem the flow of arms and training to Iraq, [...] Syria should control its border with Iraq to stem the flow of funding, insurgents, and terrorists in and out of Iraq.

Just because this is repeated by all official sources does not make it true - if there were evidence that Syria or Iran were engaged in smuggling arms into Iraq that evidence would be trumpted by official military people, and the neo-cons who write for our newspapers. IOW, since there hasn't been such evidence reported, IT ISN'T HAPPENING.

When officials claim something, something difficult to verify out of a war zone, and this something is favorable to the narratives being spun by interested parties, you should be suspicious.

Iranian and Syrian involvement initially was claimed because neo-cons wanted to keep the invasion rolling into those countries. This "foreign involvement" narrative also makes it look like the Iraqis themselves aren't resisting our occupation as forcefully as they are, AND it helps to turn this war of choice into a part of the war on "Global Terrorism".

Everyone knows this, so why do they repeat the administration's spin? The admin is covering it's ass, the neo-con writers got a hard-on for killing more muslims, and "sensible, balanced, moderate" voices repeat it to, what?...keep their seat at the table with the Kewl Kids and deep thinking, serious-minded fucks?

How'd that reasonable middle position work out the last time? Supporting the war, believing Iraq had weapons and was a threat, believing Saddam wasn't complying, etc?....Halfway between a lie and the truth ISN'T the truth, it's a lie.

Posted by: luci on December 6, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the part about possibly removing financial support for the Iraqi Govt is a good idea. Could that force them to actually use oil revenues for legit purposes instead of supporting pet causes of the various MP's?

Posted by: b on December 6, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Later. I think I'll go actually read the report and that won't happen while I'm sitting here talking about it.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 6, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it is a fine report, but, then I have to consider all reports.

One of my favorites is from the highly secret mission of Barney. He recently returned from a clandestine tour of Baghdad. He said, that with the exception of there not being enough fire hydrants, all is well and that we are winning. As a result of this report, I have authorized a $100,000,000 contract to Halliburton to provide more hydrants. It will also help to wash the streets of all of that residue from car bombings.

Denial is a Loon's best friend.

Posted by: George W on December 6, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

The Baker Report is a tremendous slap in the face to Bush.

I'd be willing to bet Spock/Thomas1/Charlie/Chuckles' eternal soul that even the dimmest of PA readers have already comprehended and absorbed this report better than Bush ever will. The executive summary is what, 11 pages. That means 11 bullet points for Bush to get through this weekend.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK
He, and Senator Warner, will do everything possible to draw in, and ultimately blame for the entire failure, Democrats in both Houses when the time comes. It will have the added benefit for them of permanently trashing James Baker too.

And how pray will this occur, young fascist?

Posted by: SavageView on December 6, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK
What's more, the report says all combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the first quarter of 2008. What am I missing? In what way isn't this a timeline?
Actually, it says "could", not "should". It is in that way that it is not a timeline. Posted by: adsfjklljkj;l on December 6, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

After reading the report it's clear why Bush the Elder was weeping in public the other day.

Baker must have clued him in to its devastating findings, and he had to be thinking "why wasn't Jeb appointed president instead of that moron? He's ruined our family name forever!"

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Any plan that has neocons like William Kristol hyperventilating with anger should be taken seriously!

Posted by: Marty on December 6, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

To Trex's last comment: You nailed it. Seriously, that must've been a big part of it.

Posted by: Marty on December 6, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie's co-opting of "Spock"'s handle has to be some kind of record, even for him.

Kevin, please: some kind of comment verification system. Fools like Charlie are ruining your blog -- and i'm sure it isn't by accident.

Posted by: Gregory on December 6, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Spock" is Charlie Lawrence, who is a raving idiot as well as a pathological liar.

Posted by: Troll Detector on December 6, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read the ISG report, although I intend to download it tonight when I get home from work and begin reading it. However, I still want someone to explain to me, without mentioning petroleum, why the United States military is occupying a country in a different hemisphere where the residents want us to leave, and every justification for invading in the first place has subsequently been shown to be utterly bogus?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 6, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

he had to be thinking "why wasn't Jeb appointed president instead of that moron? He's ruined our family name forever!"

Not to mention the Republican Party's decades-long brandign effort as "strong on defense."

Posted by: Gregory on December 6, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Spock: ...when that all blows up, he will be able to blame the Democrats for not staying the course. You just watch and see.

And isn't that sooo good for your boy Bush? He gets to screw up our country's national security and blame the Democrats for it! What a stud!

And: Actually makes my job easier.

At least you're finally admitting that you're getting paid for trolling here.

Posted by: Wonderin on December 6, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Baker's report repudiates just about every Bush policy related to Iraq.

It calls for re-Ba'athification.

It calls for amnesty for insurgents and national reconciliation.

It tells Bush to butt out of interfering with attempts at amnesty and reconciliation.

It calls for talking to Iran and Syria and not freezing them out (or obviously threatening them with attack.

It rules out unilateral action towards Iran by the U.S. and refers it instead to the U.N. Security Council.

It repudiates efforts at limiting oversight or obfuscating costs by proposing a permanant Reconstruction Auditor and transparent budgets.

It specifically mentions that we should not keep permanent military bases in Iraq, and that Bush should make clear that this is the case.

It states that reconstruction contracts should go to foreign corporations and not just American ones.

It's diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy and it's quite damning, really.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I still want someone to explain to me

It's very simple. The Shia elite benefit from us being there. Those that don't, have made the situation so chaotic that we face real physical danger if we try to leave. We also have no sense that the our benefactors can survive without us protecting them.

For us to leave, we need to have a safe exit, or some assurance that the current government can survive. Right now we have neither.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Don't you hate it when someone say, "should". This is a Repub snow job to try to salvage Jr.'s reputation. The only thing we can do is retreat and set up a defensive position. Bush is and American Tragedy.

Posted by: David Triche on December 6, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Our limited contacts with Irans government lead us to believe that its leaders are likely to say they will not participate in diplomatic efforts to support stability in Iraq. They attribute this reluctance to their belief that the United States seeks regime change in Iran.

Hmmm - whatever gave them that impression?

Beats me . . . those crazy Iranians . . .

Posted by: Chuck on December 6, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is my take-away from listening to the Iraqi Study group radio news show this morning:

Iraq is screwed. And it cost us $400 Billion to get it that way.

We are recommending the same thing the Democrats recommended last summer, but we are bipartisan, so we are right and they were wrong.

Our main proposal is to increase military advisors. After all, that worked so well in Vietnam in 1965.

One critical element of our plan is that we are setting mileposts for the Iraqi government because the words benchmark and timetable have already been taken.

We will withdraw as the Iraqis meet those mileposts.

If they fail to meet the mileposts, we will withdraw anyway.

We particularly mention Al Queda because they are responsible for, what, 2% of the violence.

In the short term, there may be a troop increase. Or maybe not.

The war has been very divisive for the US: there are those who think it was a bad idea then and a bad idea now, and there are those who thought it was a good idea then and a bad idea now.

We reject a devolution into a three-state system because there might be violence.

Our proposal may not work, but it increases our odds of success to that of a snowball on a mild day in hell.

We can predict how this plan will work two years from now, but we cant predict whether President Bush will accept this proposal now.


The response from Bush:
Condi hasnt finished reading it to me yet.

Posted by: mcdruid on December 6, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

mcdruid: excellent synopsis.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'm certain that if we threw Iran a bone (like leaning on Israel to come clean on ITS nuclear programs, and signing the international nonproliferation treaty - I mean really, what would we have to lose here? If Israel has a right to defend itself, surely Iran does too) -

. . . then Iran would very likely become more cooperative, both on its own nuclear ambitions, and on Iraq.

Why don't we lean on Israel for this very simple thing?

Are we afraid of being accused of being anti-semites? Sure, Israel has a right to have a nuclear arsenal. But I don't believe they have a right (and I don't believe it actually SERVES them), to keep it a secret. Not in this day and age.

Maybe after the first nuclear exchange, folks' attitudes about nuclear weapons will change.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 6, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Spock: I don't get paid to post here. Do you?

Yes. By your momma.

Posted by: Wonderin on December 6, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth: I can't believe any intelligent person thinks if Israel just gave up some more land, they could live in peace with their neighbors.

Then, conversely, do you believe that as Israel continues to appropriate more land that doesn't belong to them, they can live in peace with their neighbors?

Posted by: Wonderin on December 6, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Are we afraid of being accused of being anti-semites?
Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld

Well, some wingnut is going to use that line of attack for sure. What's Pammy from Atlas Shrugged up to these days? This report might push her the rest of the way into full blown psychosis.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

After reading the report it's clear why Bush the Elder was weeping in public the other day.

Baker must have clued him in to its devastating findings, and he had to be thinking "why wasn't Jeb appointed president instead of that moron? He's ruined our family name forever!"

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 1:45 PM

Sorry, George H.W., but it's partially your fault. If you had only named Jeb "George," and George "Jeb" (based on the assumption that the American public would never elect a president named "Jeb").

Posted by: Vincent on December 6, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

...momma jokes are real mature...

How's this for mature: eat me.

Posted by: Wonderin on December 6, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, and all US troops should be withdrawn from Iraq by July 2007.
Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 6, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Feed them only that crap, and they'll leave by themselves.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 6, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

I mean really, what would we have to lose here?

Well, it must be super fun for Israelis to deny their weapons program.

Q: Do you have nuclear weapons?

A: What a preposterous question! *wink*

Q: Are you trying to tell me something?

A: No, no, nothing... *wink* Seriously, we've got nothing, you..know..what..I..*wink*...mean?

Who would give that up?

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie posting as "Spock" wrote: I am neither Charlie nor a Republican.

You are Charlie and you are a Republican, and you are a raving idiot and a pathological liar. Who do you think you are fooling with your silly, crude, obvious lies?

Posted by: Troll Detector on December 6, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Troll Detector: Yesterday, Spock/Thomas1/Charlie/Chuckles claimed that he was against the war from the start and that Bush and Cheney are war criminals. It was a lie of course, but it makes his comments today even more pathological.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

TCD: "However, I still want someone to explain to me, without mentioning petroleum, why the United States military is occupying a country in a different hemisphere where the residents want us to leave, and every justification for invading in the first place has subsequently been shown to be utterly bogus?"

It is because if we leave it will make things worse. We know this because we have been told in no uncertain terms by the same people who assured us that we would be in and out of Iraq in a few months with the whole thing paid for by oil revenues. Clearly we should trust them.

Posted by: EmmaAnne on December 6, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Here's another body slam to Bush:

First, most of the costs of the war show up not in the normal budget request but in requests for emergency supplemental appropriations. This means that funding requests are drawn up outside the normal budget process, are not offset by budgetary reductions elsewhere, and move quickly to the White House with minimal scrutiny. Bypassing the normal review erodes budget discipline and accountability.

Detailed analyses by budget experts are needed to answer what should be a simple question: How much money is the President requesting for the war in Iraq?

Finally, circumvention of the budget process by the executive branch erodes oversight and review by Congress.

Shorter Baker: Caught ya with your hand in the cookie jar Bush Jr! Remember, you can't fool me. I used to change your diapers when Barb was on a bender.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

enzinho: "Yesterday, Spock/Thomas1/Charlie/Chuckles claimed that he was against the war from the start and that Bush and Cheney are war criminals. It was a lie of course, but it makes his comments today even more pathological."

Right, just like in October he was posting as "Thomas1" and claiming to be a Democrat and blathering about how "our party" needed to go along with every bit of the right-wing Republican agenda if "we" ever wanted to win elections again.

He is truly sick, genuinely mentally deranged.

Posted by: Troll Detector on December 6, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, there was that long post in a BCS thread that "Spock" plagiarized from an ESPN columnist the other day. That was so not-cool.

Posted by: First-time poster on December 6, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

[Spock, etc.] is truly sick, genuinely mentally deranged.

My guess is that he just thinks that he's really clever.

Posted by: Wonderin on December 6, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that he just thinks that he's really clever.

*Frantically tugging on ear*

Posted by: Carol Burnett on December 6, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

The Perrspectives Iraq Document Library has been updated to include the findings of the Iraq Study Group. The document repository includes the ISG's final report as well as its executive summary.

The Perrspectives Iraq Document Library also provides one-stop access to all the essential documents surrounding the Iraq war, pre-war intelligence and the hunt for weapons of mass destruction. This includes the WMD findings of the Iraq Survey Group, as well as the report of the Robb-Silbermann Commission. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Phase I and Phase II reports on the uses - and misuses - of pre-war intelligence are also featured. Among other key materials are the Downing Street Memos, Colin Powell's 2003 presentation to the United Nations and President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address.

Visit the Perrspectives Iraq Document Library here.

Posted by: AngryOne on December 6, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I see Charlie's calling himself Spock now. Die soon and wallow, Spock.

Posted by: Santa Ana on December 6, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

luci hits on an important perception of the war in Iraq. It is a perception that informed Major General Caldwells comments and it is something he was strategically trying to communicate. There is the belief that the Iraqis really do support the American invasion and they support the administrations nation-building strategy. In this narrative the strife in Iraq comes from foreign elements and from a few bad apples. Part of this is fueled by the observation that the fighting factions are not state or sub-state entities but are decentralized and nearly invisible. This is classic fourth generation warfare and it is a staple of anti-colonial war and of intra-state political war.

But they know the aim of this type of war is to reduce the opponents will to win because the opponent cannot be defeated militarily. It is to the Pentagons strategic military advantage to present the resistance as non-native- as not an anti-colonial struggle. It is on the home front and in the minds of leaders that fourth generation war is won or lost. If it is native resistance to foreign invasion than the war in Iraq is oppression and probably futile. But if it is only a few political elements causing the chaos than it is moral and winnable. They need us to know it and they need to beleive it themselves.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 6, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad that Spock no longer believes in "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 6, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 2:27 PM:

This report might push her the rest of the way into full blown psychosis.

"The rest of the way?" Pammie went over the cliff when her hero, The Walrus, resigned...

Posted by: grape_crush on December 6, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think that, in your obsession with "recommendations" and "solutions" and "feasibility", you're all mired in needless details and trivia. Davey Broder wrote a whole column on what's really important -- all the members of the study group got along swimmingly, and were nice to each other!

Posted by: sglover on December 6, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Extradite Rumsfeld on December 6, 2006 at 3:04 PM:

Too bad that Spock no longer believes in "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

He must be near that Vulcan 7-year mating frenzy period...Acting all irrational and shit. Luckily, if it persists, Spock will die in eight days from physical and psychological stress.

One can hope.

Posted by: grape_crush on December 6, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Serious question (I know, I know, wrong venue): Do we benefit, in a structural sense, from widespread warfare between Shi'a and Sunni?

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 6, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read the ISG report, although I intend to download it tonight when I get home from work and begin reading it. However, I still want someone to explain to me, without mentioning petroleum, why the United States military is occupying a country in a different hemisphere where the residents want us to leave, and every justification for invading in the first place has subsequently been shown to be utterly bogus?

Because that would make the Beltway Clausewitzen -- the Baker commission's real constituency -- look bad. Jeez, do we gotta spell out everything?!?!

Max Sawicky has the best summary of this bullshit exercise's charter that I've yet seen.

Posted by: sglover on December 6, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a sampling of today's headlines about the Baker Report:

"Baker report: Iraq grave and deteriorating"

"Baker reports whiff of realism on Iraq"

"Baker report: Withdraw US troops by 2008"

"Pelosi: Baker Report Proves Bush Has Failed"

"Baker Report Puts Bush in a Corner"

"Bush's Shrinking Options"

(from none other than Powerline)

"[Iraq]: About as bad as advertised"

and the piece de resistance:

"Baker Report Like Family Intervention With Drug Addict"

What was that sound? Oh yeah, it was the sound of the wheels coming off of this administration.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist on December 6, 2006 at 3:13 PM:

Do we benefit, in a structural sense, from widespread warfare between Shi'a and Sunni?

Define 'we'...Or perhaps the question should be "Who benefits from widespread warfare between Shi'a and Sunni?"

Posted by: grape_crush on December 6, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Serious question (I know, I know, wrong venue): Do we benefit, in a structural sense, from widespread warfare between Shi'a and Sunni?

My stars!

What a ridiculous question! Perhaps I can stand way, way out in left field and try to answer that one for you:

NO.

Does that answer your "serious questions?"

Do you know that I have several investments in an oil company that shall remain nameless and my returns have shrunk since investing? How do you think that makes me feel to know I could be making a great deal more money if oil were flowing out of Iraq via contracts this company was supposed to hammer out two years ago?

Seriously--what derangement do you have that makes you inquire as to whether or not "war" benefits anyone. War is only good for business when you have a piece of the action, and right now, no, I do NOT have a piece of the action and I am FURIOUS about it.

Think about how your question makes me feel before you ask it.

Posted by: H. Merriwether Carlyle on December 6, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I don't mean this in any way to sound like a cynical, kneejerk response to the Baker Report, but it's increasingly looking like the main if not the only reason why Bush agreed to the commission was so that it would look like he was doing something before the election without actually having to do anything. Before the election, people kept talking about what the Baker Commission was going to recommend any number of things but that these weren't going to be implemented until after the election. This all gave the illusion of progress. But now that the election is over, it looks like Bush is going to pretty much ignore the commission since he doesn't need it anymore and continue to stay the course.

Posted by: Stuart on December 6, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK
If I were doing it, I would force the Democrats to either defund the war or pass these recommendations over a Presidential veto. Then make a big stink on all the Sunday morning shows (maybe even an Oval Office address directly to the American people warning of the dire consequences) and how specifically this will impact the war on terrorism, the entire region, and our troops. That should be more than enough for the 2008 GOP candidate to spin any eventual withdrawal, defeat, and maybe even the next 9/11 attack on the Democrats. But, then again, I'm not Karl Rove.

How, pray, are you going to force them to defund the war when the Democrats control the legislative agenda?

What difference would an Oval Office address make when 2/3rds of the American people do not believe Bush on Iraq? Indeed, each time he opens his mouth on the subject he loses support.

The Dems have the easier path now. Suppose, arguendo, that we had 30k more troops. Label it the McCain Plan and send them in. When it too fails, so does McCain, which means we have President Clinton, Obama, Gore, or Edwards come January 2009.

Sadly, then, we will have to withdrawal from Iraq, but it will be Bush's fault for taking us there in the first place, and McCain's fault for proposing a failed scheme.

Next issue, young fascist?

Posted by: SavageView on December 6, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

More:

U.S. military forces, especially our ground forces, have been stretched nearly to the breaking point by the repeated deployments in Iraq, with attendant casualties (almost 3,000 dead and more than 21,000 wounded), greater difficulty in recruiting,and accelerated wear on equipment.

Well that rebuts about a thousand comments from trolls on this blog alone.

And here's a slapdown of Rumsfeld's management style:

The U.S. military has a long tradition of strong partnership between the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense and the uniformed services. Both have long benefited from a relationship in which the civilian leadership exercises control with the advantage of fully candid professional advice, and the military serves loyally with the understanding that its advice has been heard and valued. That tradition has frayed, and civil-military relations need to be repaired.

Ooooh, ouch! So Donnie's legacy is that he single-handedly wrecked the long tradition of frank advice from the military? Nice.

They actually created a proposal for this one:

RECOMMENDATION 46: The new Secretary of Defense should make every effort to build healthy civil-military relations, by creating an environment in which the senior military feel free to offer independent advice not only to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon but also to the President and the National Security Council, as envisioned in the Goldwater-Nichols legislation.

Mmmm, I loves me some good Baker Commission Report.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

"The rest of the way?" Pammie went over the cliff when her hero, The Walrus, resigned...
Posted by: grape_crush

D'oh! I completely forgot what the civilisation rending results of that resignation would be. Tsk.

Thanks for the link g_c; that was a class A rant by her.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Every time theAmericanist walks into a thread and leads with a gratuitous, preemptive sneer, I'm reminded of those poor souls we all knew in junior high. There were one or two in every class. You know, the ones who, their offers of friendship roundly rejected by all the other kids, turned to commencing all interactions with hostility in a smack-before-you-get-smacked maneuver.

Most of them eventually figured out that sort of thing is a vicious circle leading to more rejection, and grew out of it.

trex: Shorter Baker: Caught ya with your hand in the cookie jar Bush Jr! Remember, you can't fool me. I used to change your diapers when Barb was on a bender.

That made me laugh really hard. Then I pictured Smirky's face contorting with impotent rage when he read it--er, when it was read to him--and I laughed even harder.

Posted by: shortstop on December 6, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Do we benefit, in a structural sense, from widespread warfare between Shi'a and Sunni?

Probably not, but more importantly, allowing or encouraging it would probably require that we return our membership to the human race.

As to why we wouldn't benefit? Iraq is different from most of the Muslim world in the sense that the Shia/Sunni fighting is more about power than ideology. There were Shia militia plotting to take Saddam's place for decades. We were just stupid enough to unleash it.

As for the rest of the Muslim world, just look at Lebanon. Shia/Sunni/Christian violence didn't stop the Lebanese from turning their sites on us.

But the simple answer is that if you don't know what the likely result would be, probably best not to wish for it. Crazy, I know.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

"It calls for a five-fold increase in trainers for the Iraqi military and police, which sounds like a reasonable proposal except for one thing: it's too obvious. If this is such a good idea, why hasn't the military already done it? Or at least planned to do it?"

I have read a bit about this training recently. And I think the downside is reasonably clear when you think it through.

The US Military trains the iraqi military in large part by embedding US personel in Iraqi units and may extend that to embedding Iraqi personel in American units. In the first case we take US soldiers out of thier very well equipped and well trained american units and put them into vastly inferior Iraqi units in terms of both equippment and training. In a rough quote from one of the US soldiers so embedded "these guys are going to get me killed". In the second case there is greater risk of infiltration of the US military by insurgents, but this is probably the lesser problem.

It seems likely that increasing training of Iraqi forces will increase US casualties because it means putting US troops into poor quality Iraqi units which have higher casualty rates.

It is also possible that in the short term this would reduce the effectiveness of the overall security force in the hope of increasing them over the long term. Basically those US troops will be taken from effective US units and put into ineffective Iraqi units. There will be some lag time before the effectiveness of the Iraqi units would begin to improve (if, in fact, it did).

Posted by: jefff on December 6, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

...Luckily, if it persists, Spock will die in eight days from physical and psychological stress.
Posted by: grape_crush on December 6, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno, given the level of mastrubation he typically displays on this blog, you'd think he'd have that covered. (Unless he's like Rev. Haggard, and feeling guilty about jerking furiously to the WRONG thing. . . )

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 6, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

trex,

Nice job extracting some trenchant points from the Baker report. How much thread space has been taken up with Thomas1 et al arguing that we don't have more troops to send?

And the smackdown of Rummy? So nice to have it enshrined for posterity.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks cyntax, I appreciate it.

Here's one more:

RECOMMENDATION 49: The administration, in full consultation with the relevant committees of Congress, should assess the full future budgetary impact of the war in Iraq and its potential impact on the future readiness of the force, the ability to recruit and retain high-quality personnel, needed investments in procurement and in research and development, and the budgets of other U.S. government agencies involved in the stability and reconstruction effort.

Shorter Baker: this debacle is bankrupting the country and breaking the military coming and going. Come down from the ledge and let's talk nice with Congress about wrapping it up.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that we'll spend upwards of $1,000,000,000,000 on the Iraq debacle, regardless of any recommendations, sucks.

I haven't a trace of certainty that any of that money is (will be ) well spent.

But then again I don't own stock in Bushworld.co

The real plan for Iraq was clearly NO PLAN, just mayhem....ah hemm ahemmm.

My apologies to all the dead and their loved ones.

War sucks.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 6, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

So, what do the 'boots on the ground' think?

From the Associated Press, via Yahoo:

..many of the soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment were skeptical they'll be going home anytime soon, despite a high-level U.S. panel's recommendation that most combat troops leave Iraq by early 2008.
"There's no way we're leaving in two years, no matter what any recommendation says," Spc. Eisenhower Atuatasi, 26, of Westminster, Calif., said. He thought 2012 was more realistic.
Sgt. Christopher Wiacik, 28, of Livonia, Mich., also was pessimistic.
"It's just a study group. It's not really going to affect the president. I don't see any major changes happening until presidential elections start," Wiacik said. "I think both sides will promise to get troops out and give timelines then, but not before."
The U.S. Army troops, based in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, are still reeling from learning two months ago that their tour was being extended until at least February.
"We've been here for 12 months now and there's been no progress," said Spc. Richard Johnson, 20, of Bridgeport, Conn...
Posted by: grape_crush on December 6, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who thinks the Iraqi resistance is just a few bad apples backed by Iran and Syria should listen to First Lieutenant Dow from grape_crush's article:

1st Lt. Gerard Dow said he agreed with the commission's assessment that the situation in Iraq was "grave and disappointing."

"In Iraq, we try to win the hearts and minds of population," said Dow, 32, of Chicago. "They want Americans out of here. They blame us for all their problems. They look at us as the terrorists and then they turn around and help the terrorists who are trying to kill us."

"U.S. soldiers are dying trying to help people who don't want their help," he said. "That makes you angry."

Posted by: bellumregio on December 6, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Spock:
Here's some more of Bush's press secretary's Greatest Hits:
"Freedom's on the march."
"A few dead-enders."
"turning the corner."

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 6, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Spock,

Rather than post such a long screed, why don't you first explain why we should care what Tony Snow is being paid to say? Gawd knows what he thinks; it certainly has no necessary relation to what he says.

Look at what the soldiers on the ground are saying (h/t to grape_crush for another great link):

    "U.S. soldiers are dying trying to help people who don't want their help," he said.

Now kindly tell me, if you know, what military objective are our soldiers dying for?

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Spock on December 6, 2006 at 4:56 PM:

Here's what the Press Secretary thinks:

All Snow says is that 'Stay the Course' is now called 'Sustain, govern and defend' by the Bush administration. Business as usual. The 'boots' I cited above aren't fools.

Oh, and provide a shorter version or summary. Links are good, too.

Posted by: grape_crush on December 6, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK
They actually created a proposal for this one:

RECOMMENDATION 46: The new Secretary of Defense should make every effort to build healthy civil-military relations, by creating an environment in which the senior military feel free to offer independent advice not only to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon but also to the President and the National Security Council, as envisioned in the Goldwater-Nichols legislation.

We need a special commission to recommend that the Secretary of Defense should perform the basic duties of his office as laid out in law faithfully and competently?

Posted by: cmdicely on December 6, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

We need a special commission to recommend that the Secretary of Defense should perform the basic duties of his office as laid out in law faithfully and competently?
Posted by: cmdicely

I think cmdicely and trex are on to something. Apparently the Bush Administration has set the bar so low for the competence of their appointees that all of them should be given three ring binders, just like a McDonald franchise, outlining all the steps needed for performing each and everyone of their responsibilities.

Hell, they may even need instructions for putting on their pants: one leg at a time guys.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Some others may actually want all available information before making their informed decisions.

I think you're confusing spin with information if you see Tony Snow as a source of anything other than rhetoric.

No Spock, I'm asking you. If you understand then tell me. If you don't know what the goals are or can't articulate them, then just say that.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I'm having a little trouble understanding how a report that just came out about what should be changed in Iraq would be the source for our current goals. That sounds like we don't currently have any goals, but by all means tell me what our current military goals are, if you know them.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Spock, getting from here to there is not in any way a military goal. It's a tad vague.

What is the military expected to do? Aside from getting shot at?

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

For how long? How many Iraqis need to be trained?

How do we measure success?

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Baker-Hamilton isn't our current plan. I'm asking if you know what our current military objectives are.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

cyn, you're betting off not feeding the Spork. you only give it false legitimacy by addressing it. it's got nothing to add but it will happily spout nonsense all day long like a parrot because it's desperate for attention.

having neither the rounded grace of a spoon nor the sharpness of a fork, the Spork is both dull and prickly.

Posted by: the other utensils on December 6, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Spock on December 6, 2006 at 5:31 PM:

I could care less if you guys don't want to know what all sides are saying.

Funny...Then why do you bother posting here?

I'm not sure that Snow actually said anything, much less answered the reporter's question.

I'm going to keep posting it.

Then do try to practice brevity when doing it, m'kay?

Some others may actually want all available information before making their informed decisions.

Reaction 1. So, um, you think you are providing some form of public service?

Reaction 2. Too bad those 'others' don't work in or for the White House.

Bush says he will take a long, hard look at the ISG Report, as well as the DoD, State, NSC, and other reviews before he decides.

And while The Decider is decidering...

Deride that as "faith-based" if you want.

More like 'policy-based', similar to this:

U.S. military and intelligence officials have systematically underreported the violence in Iraq in order to suit the Bush administration's policy goals, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group said.
The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases." It said, for example, that a murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack, and a roadside bomb or a rocket or mortar attack that doesn't hurt U.S. personnel doesn't count, either. Also, if the source of a sectarian attack is not determined, that assault is not added to the database of violence incidents.
"Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals," the report said.
A request for Pentagon comment on the report's assertions was not immediately answered.
Some U.S. analysts have complained for months that the Pentagon's reports to Congress on conditions in Iraq have undercounted the violent episodes. Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq watcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in a November report that the Pentagon omits many low-level incidents and types of civil violence.

The military objective is to help the Iraqis get from here to there.

The military's objective in Iraq is to mold Iraq into a stable democracy? Hussein's gone, and there's no WMD. Mission (and objective) Accomplished.

That's one of my criticisms of how the military is being used by Dubya: Used a bandaid for the lack of post-invasion planning and used to make PNAC's middle-east wet dreams a reality. Our military is good at killin' and blowing shit up...as good as our soldiers are, they're generally not Peace Corps volunteers, civilian policemen, and infrastructure reconstruction specialists.

It pisses me off that our military is being used in this manner, and our soldiers are being asked to perform tasks that they haven't been well-trained to do.

Posted by: grape_crush on December 6, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Not as interesting as the fact that you can't seem to articulate what our current military objectives are. Seems odd that in this war for civilisation you keep pointing me to a report that came out three years after we invaded Iraq, after nearly 3,000 service men and women have been killed, and after approximately 55,000 reported civillian deaths.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Other Utensils,

You're right. I'll refrain from feeding the troll. Apologies, but sometimes the mendacity is too much.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

grape crush, this was a great catch and bears repeating

U.S. military and intelligence officials have systematically underreported the violence in Iraq in order to suit the Bush administration's policy goals, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group said.

unfuckingbelievably heinous.

Posted by: the other utensils on December 6, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

So...The Lancet Study they tried so hard to denounce is probably right? Hmmm. Interesting.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 6, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK
BREAKING: The Senate votes 95-2 to confirm Robert Gates as President Bush's new defense secretary. So much for Democrats taking things over.

The Democrats don't take anything over until January. Maybe you missed that?

Posted by: cmdicely on December 6, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

"We were just stupid enough to unleash it."

Um -- what, exactly, is stupid about majority rule? Most Iraquis are Shi'ites, so why was it "stupid" to "unleash" their self-government.

Besides, that's not my question: Islam is currently the world's premier us vs. them ideology.

It seems a reasonable question to ask if we benefit from exacerbating a fundamental, violent conflict WITHIN Islam since, as it is an us vs. them ideology, we're the them.

I forget who posted someplace the other day about how folks tend to say Islam needs some version of a Reformation, the way Europe needed the original to establish the separation of Church and State, but they pointed out that there was about 150 years of violent bloodshed IN Europe, and we pretty it up as "the Reformation".

In this instance, the fact is, Islam is not a "church", so it can't have quite the separation of "church" and state that we're used to, exactly.

But the question stands (and, if shortstop will pardon me for observing the general inability of a thread to follow substance where it leads), it's a damn sight more to the point than most of the posts.

Just as a f'r instance, if Iran is weakened by fighting Saudi money in Iraq, does that hurt us? If Saudi Arabia continues to depend on us to protect 'em from military threats, don't we benefit -- or, if you like, isn't that how Baker and the elder Bush have ALWAYS thought about foreign policy?

So -- get the point, shortstop? -- isn't that what the ISG actually produces?

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 6, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

In this instance, the fact is, Islam is not a "church", so it can't have quite the separation of "church" and state that we're used to, exactly.

What the hell are you talking about? Christianity is not a "church," either, and yet we have separation of Church and State in predominantly Christian countries.

Posted by: Stefan on December 6, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

the Spork is doing backflips to get attention and nobody is watching it.

sad.

Posted by: the other utensil on December 6, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Seems odd that in this war for civilisation you keep pointing me to a report that came out three years after we invaded Iraq, after nearly 3,000 service men and women have been killed, and after approximately 55,000 reported civillian deaths.

The "reported" deaths are off by a factor of 10. Try about 600,000 civilian deaths.

Posted by: Stefan on December 6, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Um -- what, exactly, is stupid about majority rule?

The majority does not get to rule the minority out of existence. make sense?

It seems a reasonable question to ask if we benefit from exacerbating a fundamental, violent conflict WITHIN Islam since, as it is an us vs. them ideology, we're the them.

So we're the "them". We should get them, not us, but "they", to fight eachother so "they" don't fight "us". Thus turning "us", from "them" back to "us". So, when "we", meanings "us" say we are fighting "them", which used to be "us" over there, so that "we", that's the new "us", don't have to fight "them" here, we're not engaging in the same "us", which was "them" vs. "them", which was "us" mentality?

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

It seems a reasonable question to ask if we benefit from exacerbating a fundamental, violent conflict WITHIN Islam since, as it is an us vs. them ideology, we're the them.

Al Qaeda's Salafist ideology is part of a fundamental, violent conflict within Islam. How's exacerbating that split been working out for us?

Posted by: Stefan on December 6, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Eno - you ever going to update your blog? You have been a very neglectful bloghost, young man! How many times do I have to read "With Respect To..."?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 6, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize for this repost from yesterday but this story dovetails nicely with the topic of this thread:

The Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies has a new survey of Iraqis.

19 of 20 Iraqis say they felt safer under Saddam.

9 of 10 say they feel unsafe around American soldiers.

Over 50% say they want American all troops out right now, and another 20% say they want a withdrawal to begin immediately.

2/3 say they will safer when U.S. troops leave.

You can watch the CNN video here

The views of the Iraqis surveyed confirm the opinion in the ISG report that they indeed want us to withdraw our troops.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

The "reported" deaths are off by a factor of 10. Try about 600,000 civilian deaths.
Posted by: Stefan

Yeah, probably so, but rather than hear a bunch of trollishness about a larger number, I thought I'd use the number coming from http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ which is using deaths directly attributable to coalition actions as opposed to death squads, health issues, etc.

Posted by: cyntax on December 6, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

GC: I was wondering when you were going to get on my case! I'm collecting ideas for my triumphant return. But the nudging helps.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

After reading the ISG report I've come to this conclusion: Dam, where were you guys two years ago?

The ISG report is brilliant, and informative, and details the challenges that face America in Iraq. To bad it's too late to do anything about it now.

It's time to bug out, and bug out now!

Bring the troops home for Christmas, damn you!

Posted by: sheerahkahn on December 6, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, probably so, but rather than hear a bunch of trollishness about a larger number, I thought I'd use the number coming from http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ which is using deaths directly attributable to coalition actions as opposed to death squads, health issues, etc.

I see what you mean, but the only way to get the truth out it is to repeat it as loudly and as often as possible. By retreating from the real number to the politically acceptable one out of fear of the rabid Republicans' lies, we're only playing right into their hands and reinforcing the message that if they whine and lie they can make us back down.

Posted by: Stefan on December 6, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

McClatchy, via TPM

"The standard for recording attacks acts a filter to keep events out of reports and databases," the report said. "A murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database. A roadside bomb or a rocket or mortar attack that doesn't hurt U.S. personnel doesn't count."

Sick. And for the benefit of whom? The liars that love this war don't care how many people have to die for their mistakes.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, here's the Link.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

For no particular reason, this is the song going through my head tonight.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

"History might notice the invasion has arguably acted as the best recruiting sergeant for al-Qa'ida ever."

Posted by: Colonel Tim Collins on December 6, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Toby Keith a heterosexual male under the age of 42?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 6, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

The ISG has crafted a brilliant plan for smoothing our transition from Iraq. Now if they can just create that time machine so they can go back to October 2003 the war will end in victory and democracy (now with flowers and candy)

Posted by: the time machine project on December 6, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

You can't train someone who doesn't want to be there. No platoon of Shia Iraqis is going to go after Shia militia. If you are lucky they will fight Sunni militia. This is Vietnamization all over again.

Posted by: deja vu on December 6, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

5) Wouldn't 600,000 missing people be noticed in such a small country...

Come to think of it, we haven't seen my grandmother since my mom buried her 15 years ago. I wasn't there, so maybe she's missing too. I can't verify her death, so she must hiding. Or she's very small.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Matt Yglesias' has a take on Gates that applies to the other stay-the-coursers:

Gates seems to be part of the "mainstream" elite consensus which holds that Iraq is almost certainly doomed, but that we should sort of keep on prosecuting the war for years and years just because it would be embarrassing to give up and, hell, who knows maybe a pony will come along. That sort of thing works, I think, if and only if you regard the war as a total abstraction, rather than actual events happening to actual people.

For the dead-enders the real horror in all this isn't about the suffering and deaths of Americans and Iraqis - their fear is that both they and Bush might be publicly embarrassed at having been proven wrong.

That is simply depraved.

Posted by: Windhorse on December 6, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Remember before the election when Jim Baker said they couldn't release the report until after the election because they didn't want it to influence the election? While that was a preposterous reason to embargo the report in the first place, it's now clear even if it is a highly compromised, inadequate, cover-providing document that it would have been disastrous for Bush and the GOP and probably turned all those close races into clear-cut Dem victories. Every Bush-loving war-backing just got their teeth knocked back into their throats with this report, not that they will ever be able to see long enough past the blood in their eyes to take responsibility for the pit they've dug for the rest of us.

And Spock is a delusional twit. And, yes, that's an ad hominem attack without links or citations, except everything he writes. Perhaps he can quote from the Baker-Hamilton report he seems to have gotten in advance and memorized to justify his positions? Hmmm?

Posted by: secularhuman on December 6, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

In no particular order: Christianity is more or less the definitive 'church' in the world, since historically it defined the concept. The basic idea is that a religion is something one is bound to, which underlies all legitimacy. Since Constantine, there has always been a separation of the secular arm from "the Church", but it was a continuum for a very long time, which is why the Reformation effectively separated "church and state", at least in Western Europe, and thus to the U.S., and so forth.

Islam has never had that, largely because in the Christian sense, Islam doesn't think of itself as a church, but rather as a way of life, like being male or female: you're either someone who bears Witness and Submits to the Will of God, by praying five times a day, etc., or you're an infidel, a member of the House against which Those Who Obey God must struggle.

THAT is why Islam is the world's premier 'us vs. them' ideology, Enz.

And -- were you trying to be stupid, btw? "The majority doesn't get to rule the minority out of existence..."

The Shi'ite majority in Iraq was ruled by a Sunni minority for a long time, most recently by Saddam and his thugs. A considerable chunk of the militias shooting Americans in Iraq right now are Sunni, and most folks figure a major precipitant of the unholy mess was the de-Baathification Bush did, which basically fired all the Sunnis from power after we knocked off Saddam.

While it is not impossible the Shi'ite majority will get genocidal (I doubt it, they're not that organized among other things), are you SERIOUS that we're somehow DEFENDING the Sunnis, after we knocked off their minority rule?

My question stands: Do we benefit, from widespread conflict between Shi'ite and Sunni? Cuz that's pretty much the result of Bush's invasion of Iraq, it would seem.

The result of the first Gulf War (besides ejecting Iraq from Kuwait) was making all the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia even more dependent on American military power than they had been, including us infidels guarding the Holy Cities, which led to 9-11.

But I can see (it was said at the time) why Baker thought that result was a good idea.

I can see this result now: is IT a good idea? Probably not.

My question is -- why do THEY think it is?

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 6, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

The Baker-Hamilton report makes me feel like a drunk teenager at a party, making out with a girl who will only let me suck on her tits.

Posted by: elmo on December 6, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist: Are you or have you ever been Bill O'Reilly's left nut?

It is impossible to argue with someone who's ideas are a sloppy layer cake of cliches, propaganda, and glaring false assumptions. You've piled a bunch of assumptions onto your original idea, that "they" are evil meanies, and "we" are totally awesome and sweet. What a waste of time. Please refrain from prefacing your questions with the word "serious" next time, so I don't bother.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 6, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

"It is impossible to argue with someone who's ideas are a sloppy layer cake of cliches, propaganda, and glaring false assumptions. You've piled a bunch of assumptions onto your original idea, that "they" are evil meanies, and "we" are totally awesome and sweet. What a waste of time. Please refrain from prefacing your questions with the word "serious" next time, so I don't bother."

Please refrain from posting altogether, enozino. You're wasting valuable space.

Posted by: Encino Man on December 6, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Gandalf has spoken! Middle Earth will be at peace forever thanks to the wise men of the ISG! Let us all praise the "serious elder magician" and toot our elf-horns in unison!

Seriously, though, in two weeks no one will give a shit about any of this. What has the ISG said that any number of "experts" hasn't already said? So an "official" body has declared that Iraq is a mess? That's nothing new--jesus, everyone knows that everyone knows this, no matter what non-entities like Tony Snow spout. As far as the specific proposals go, what on earth is new in any of these? You could have read some shitty Fareed Zakaria op-ed from 2004 and gotten the gist of it. It was too late in 2004 and it's even more too late now.

Are people really this stupid? Is the bar for governance now set so low that we throw a half-hour party on the nightly news anytime someone official says something that doesn't sound like a baboon on the warpath? I thought the funniest part was how everyone was saying the ISG report wasn't a "magic bullet". It's a good thing they said that, though, because the rest of their breathless commentary might have led some viewers to the opposite conclusion.

The worst, though, is the term "bipartisan", favorite of James Baker. "Bipartisan", my ass. The only way you stop such disasters from happening is by laying the blame on the party that caused the disaster. That's what happens in a democracy. That's really the best thing about democracy. You don't just get a "Crimean War Study Group" and promises to reform the light cavalry like in tsarist Russia. No, the kings don't get to keep sitting on their thrones. You get an ass-whupping of the people who fucked everything up. You get a party that is crippled for thirty years for fucking things up so badly. You get public humiliation, mockery, and Robert McNamara boo-hooing in his beer. Hell, that might be the ONLY good thing left about our democracy: the possibility for justice. That is why you need politics and voters and why Gandalf just won't cut it.

"Bipartisan", sure, I can deal with that. As long as the second party isn't the GOP.

Posted by: kokblok on December 6, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

What has the ISG said that any number of "experts" hasn't already said?

To go you one better, what has the ISG said that any number of progressives weren't either predicting or proscripting prior to the invasion? Not much. Progressives were ahead of the curve by about three years.

But as much as the report may, in reality, be a weak tea, relatively speaking it is a terribly bitter brew for the administration to have to swallow, and it is helping to raise awareness about the true state of affairs in Iraq among the less politically informed.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist:

"Islam is the world's premier us vs. them ideology"

Maybe so. But I wasn't aware that there were too many ideologies that weren't "us vs. them".

If you mean to say that Christians are unzealous slackers who don't currently manifest the latest bloodlust to be found in the Christian tradition, the cult of martyrdom, the missionary spirit, etc., then I'll agree. But so what? "Christians" of today are lazy and comfortable. Conservatives would be the first to admit this, with their critiques of "cafeteria Catholics", etc.

In other words, Christians don't really have an ideology, "us vs. them", or otherwise. So the comparison with Islam doesn't really make any sense.

Posted by: kokblok on December 6, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

kokblok, it's called "blue balls"

Your forced to whack off to relieve the pressure, left only to reveal in the fantasy that was soooo (yeah right) close to being reality.

Posted by: elmo on December 6, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Islam is the world's premier us vs. them ideology

Did you get some fries with that stupid you ordered?

Islam is a religion that people follow. Any other pronouncement is a judgement based on some sort of preconceived notion filtered through a Westernized worldview that that which we cannot understand has to be evil or bad in some way. Hey, what if it's just a religion that brings peace and calm to the lives of millions? What then? What if it's just misundertood as to what a few people claim the religion to really be about? Oooh, there are no FUNDAMENTALIST interpretations of Christianity, are there?

I know--what if Islam is actually the religion we're all supposed to be following and everyone else is going to hell? Crap! Sucks to be me, I guess. Or it could be the Mormons that are going to Heaven and everyone else is on the freight train to Hell. Ooooh--sign me up and introduce me to the Prophet.

How do you go out in public, Donnelly? Can't your friends drag you into some kind of halfway house where you can get someone to talk to you about your lack of social graces?

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 6, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

trex--

Well, like you said, it's not that what the ISG is saying is "wrong" or "stupid". It's the strange consensus to keep quiet: no one seems to want to notice that there actually were people that predicted exactly these issues before the war even began. And this was not a small number of people, nor were all of them marginal characters. You'd think that these folks would be treated like Gandalfs, since they had to do something a little more difficult than point out the blindingly obvious.

So my question is simple...why aren't we listening to those people who were right from the beginning, rather than trying to rehabilitate a number of folks who were so wrong so recently? Where were these wizards back in 2002? It's like Americans can't stand having any kind of new sort of authority, they always have to reach back to the old men for their policy shifts. First Kissinger and now the ISG.

Not to toot my own horn, but I could have written the ISG report myself in a couple of weeks. So could almost anyone with a brain who has been following the news for the past three years. The process really needs to be de-mystified, so that people can recognize that, no, it doesn't take a genius to see the fairly predictable consequences of a crazy policy.

Posted by: kokblok on December 6, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

elmo--
hey are we talking about the same thing here? blueballs? who has blueballs? baker? hamilton? me? bush? fareed zakaria?

you? (god, I hope not)

I'm confused.

Posted by: kokblok on December 6, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

no, it doesn't take a genius to see the fairly predictable consequences of a crazy policy.

I've helped prove that...

Posted by: elmo on December 6, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

So my question is simple...why aren't we listening to those people who were right from the beginning, rather than trying to rehabilitate a number of folks who were so wrong so recently?

Russ Feingold was asking this same question on Olbermann's show tonight. I suppose the answer is that hearing the truth from the "converted" is more powerful to the skeptics (in this case the Bush adminstration) than hearing it from those who've been preaching it all along but were deemed to be "partisan" or "enemies."

If Bush capitulates to Russ Feingold he may as well hand over his ball sac to him because it would be a politial humiliation. But if Bush capitulates to Baker it can be spun as a good honest man getting a little help from an older, wiser friend.

You'd think that these folks would be treated like Gandalfs, since they had to do something a little more difficult than point out the blindingly obvious.

Well, like the dynamic you see with the trolls here, they just can't take the truth. It's too threatening to their egos. They're afraid of Gandalfs because they themselves are Gollums (to really wring out the analogy). So they need to hear the truth slowly, in little bits, from people like themselves -- Wormtongues.

Posted by: trex on December 6, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

So my question is simple...why aren't we listening to those people who were right from the beginning, rather than trying to rehabilitate a number of folks who were so wrong so recently? Where were these wizards back in 2002? It's like Americans can't stand having any kind of new sort of authority, they always have to reach back to the old men for their policy shifts. First Kissinger and now the ISG.

Sounds like the same main stream media that has Joe Lieberman on their news talk shows every week--they are terrified that the American public will realize that their "Walter Cronkite" moment passed a long time ago and they were too busy fawning all over Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

The Walter Cronkite moment occurred, I think, when the battle of Fallujah happened in late 2004. The fight was delayed because of the elections and an entire Iraqi city was destroyed, systematically, and the populace was displaced by an attempt to chase some insurgents down a rat hole.

The insurgents lost the battle, of course. But could the Americans keep them from returning to Fallujah or popping up somewhere else? No, of course not.

So what should have happened is, the MSM should have said: "The tactics of the US in Iraq are not working and are only destroying any legitimate claim that the US has of trying to secure Iraq so that the people can have elections and govern themselves."

Didn't happen. Would have gotten us to where we are today in, oh, say mid-2005. That's a lot of lives that could have been saved, huh? Would you want to be Tim Russert right now?

Not to toot my own horn, but I could have written the ISG report myself in a couple of weeks.

Agree completely. It's crystal clear to anyone who is not facing a revolt by the American public. If accuracy were applied to the Washington punditry class, you'd have three or four of them who would still have jobs. Assclowns like Russert, Friedman, Kristol--they should all be consigned to the unemployment line.

Never in the course of human events have so many gotten so much wrong so often and on a more important and on a more glaringly obvious subject where the truth was so clear but so willingly ignored.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 6, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

PR - "Never in the course of human events have so many gotten so much wrong so often and on a more important and on a more glaringly obvious subject where the truth was so clear"

Oh yawn. Pale Rider got all the pre-war intelligence right, too. Saw right through it at the time. Putz.

Posted by: Simon on December 6, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Well, he was a military intel guy...

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 6, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

From AP news:
The report noted that Iraq costs run about $8 billion a month and that the bills will keep coming. "Caring for veterans and replacing lost equipment will run into the hundreds of billions of dollars," the commission said. "Estimates run as high as $2 trillion for the final cost of the U.S. involvement in Iraq."
--

2 Trillion = That's $6000 for every man, woman, and child in this country! Bush BROKE this country. Unbelievable.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on December 6, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

elmo--
hey are we talking about the same thing here? blueballs? who has blueballs? baker? hamilton? me? bush? fareed zakaria?

It was a passing reference to my 9:48 PM post, sorry.

Posted by: elmo on December 6, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Simon--

Oh yawn, what?

What if people like Pale Rider did get the pre-war "intelligence" right? What then?

That seems to be the case, doesn't it? I mean, that's actually what happened, right? A lot of people saw through that "intelligence".

Posted by: kokblok on December 6, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

everyone pretty much ignored Charlie today so he's pissy. why wouldn't anyone play with him? plus it's a full moon. plus he's hurting and angry now that his precious ideology has come to naught.

spoofing handles and cutting and pasting nigerian spam emails - truly the extent of his ability.

in other news the baker study did not go nearly far enough. it should have called for immediat pullback. doesnt' matter, events on the ground will dictate that soon enough. well I guess it does matter to the guys who die between now and then

Posted by: the other utensil on December 6, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

elmo,

Oh, I get it now... thanks for the explanation. I thought for a second I was being mocked in some impossible to understand way, but now I see....

Posted by: kokblok on December 6, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Prewar Intelligence? No.

Hell, common sense is all anybody needed.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 6, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Birthday Girl, if you're not going to post the obvious, I'll have a go :
U.S. foreign policy is doomed to failure if it is not supported by a broad sustained consensus.
Aim of Report is to move our country to such consensus.
Right. A problem of domestic perceptions of reality.
A consensus that never existed - not even at the start.
Most important questions are the responsibility of Iraqis.

Right. Iraqis have the decision making capacity.
Americans are required to believe and all will be well. Perhaps if they click their heels together three times they can fly.
The neighbours of Iraq have caused all their problems.

Who invaded and occupied and shot up the joint ?
Whose civilian contractors moonlighted as assassins ?

My shorter interpretation :
Restate and renew shoveling the shit.

Posted by: opit on December 6, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

And a great cry of "motherfucker" was heard across the land, and the people did weep, and tear their hair."Motherfucker!" they said once more, and raised their fists to the sky, questioning the Lord, "Why another preteen squealer, Lord? Why?"

And the Lord said, "Preteen squealers can't grasp the enormity of the moment, much like dogs or squirrelly commitment-phobic men. To be light in the heart and thick in the head is to skate perfectly. Remember the Book of Tara, my children."

"But, Lord," the masses blurted, in that whiny voice that makes them seem pretty unattractive, "Lord, why not Michelle? Why not, Lord? What did she ever do to you?"

"That Chinese good luck charm she wears on her neck? First of all, it's a bad luck charm, she's got it all wrong. Secondly, that's worshipping a false god, you dimwits. Don't you even read my Good Book anymore? I admit the first few chapters are kind of slow, but... it gets better! Did you even read past the first few chapters?"

And the people did stare at their shoes and scratch themselves and try to think of ways to change the subject. "Lord, all we ask is that after four years of dedicating her entire life to this sport, you could reward a woman, particularly when she ditched her coach and showed such..."

"Silence, fools! You know nothing! Your pompousness astounds. Do you forget so quickly what I see, what I know? I know everything, you morons! I know which of you eats oranges standing over the sink, and which of you pees in the shower, and..."

"But Lord..."

"Enough! OK, fine, you want the truth? I'll admit it, but only because I missed therapy this week: I got bored. To let Kwan win it all? That would've been too predictable. No one would've bought that ending. Sure, you'd all go home feeling warm inside, but then you'd forget, by the next day, why you cared. Besides, this way, you're reminded once again of who the boss of you is. I'm the boss of you, you idle stupids! You lowly beasts! Me! G.O.D.! My power is off the chain, yo!"

"God, don't speak in teen lingo. It really dates you."

"Don't tell me what to do, pigs, or I'll...make a really big storm and kill George Clooney again!"

"That didn't really happen. That was a movie!"

"You think I don't know that, you smart-mouthing brats? Why I oughta..."

Posted by: tarzan on December 6, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

"To be light in the heart and thick in the head is to skate perfectly." Author !

Posted by: opit on December 6, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

The London Telegraph observes that Bush was served on the issue of political debate.

In the preamble the co-authors deliver a thinly-veiled indictment of Mr Bush's presidency, saying many Americans are dissatisfied not just with the situation in Iraq but with the state of political debate.

"Our country deserves a debate that prizes substance over rhetoric," they argue.

"We are winning in Iraq and we will continue to win." (Bush just five weeks ago)

Posted by: st on December 6, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Are you positioning yourself to be the "cry wolf" poster child of the 21st century, nina?

Posted by: elmo on December 7, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Also Christopher Dickey has a good article in Newsweek about, among other things, the difficulties of implementing some of the key ISG proposals:

Theres a particular irony in Iraq. As respected Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld pointed out when I called him at Hebrew University in Jerusalem the other day, the notion that Americans can teach Iraqis the brutal arts of counterinsurgency is at best improbable.

I think that this whole idea of Americans training Arabs is so silly I cannot take it seriously, said Van Creveld, whose new book, The Changing Face of War (Presidio), will be out early next year.

If winning hearts and minds is supposed to be part of the plan, then the U.S. troops just dont have the means. They dont speak Arabic, they dont understand the culture, they dont share the faith, they dont know the history. Van Creveld doesnt mince his words: The American military have proved totally incompetent.

Posted by: st on December 7, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - when you upgrade your software, can you put a character limit on that prevents these cut-and-paste assholes from cluttering up the threads with their pet obsessions?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 7, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

enozinho says:

I'd be willing to bet Spock/Thomas1/Charlie/Chuckles' eternal soul that even the dimmest of PA readers have already comprehended and absorbed this report better than Bush ever will.

Hell, many of us have been saying the exact things reported and recommended by the Baker Commission for months, while others have been accusing us of having the fantasy of "wishing the US would lose" and not having the will to win. Anyone with the ability to reason rationally and who examined the facts of how we got here (from the PNAC to Shinseki to Cheney's "last throes" - does Cheney still think the insurgency is in its last throes?) would've come to the same conclusions. And we didn't need to spend any taxpayer dollars to do so. It's beyond me why Bush needs "experts" to state the blatantly obvious.

Posted by: Andy on December 7, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK
Hell, many of us have been saying the exact things reported and recommended by the Baker Commission for months

For someone with loads of time on their hands it would be an interesting exercise to take the report's recommendations and its descriptions and put together a list of quotes of liberal voices saying the same things two and three years ago when no one was listening.

And then re-release it for public consumption.

Posted by: elbub on December 7, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

It brought up another excruciatingly dim idea. Embedding Americans in Iraqi units. Ohhh. Shit !
Can't communicate, don't understand, don't respect. Of course ! They're modeling it on the way the administration deals with the American people !

Posted by: opit on December 7, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the RNC could just robo-call the insurgency into submission?

Posted by: Ferruge on December 7, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

A free audio download of The Iraq Study Group Report is available at www.audible.com/iraqreport.
Listen to the report on an MP3 player and decide for yourself!

Posted by: Jonathan Korzen on December 7, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I never said Islam was bad, Enz. I merely noted the House of Submission vs. the House of War (and I'm reasonably confident that the work I did on this a few years back still points toward the way out of that mess, so I dunno that it's legit to attack me for, er, knowing what I'm talking about).

That said, the thread pretty much shows I was right in the first place: this simply isn't the venue for a serious question.

Posted by: theAmericanist on December 7, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

WM is finally doing a good job of censoring the anti-Jewish trolls; now how about censoring the anti-Persian trolls?

Posted by: Disputo on December 7, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

LMAO. Good one Charlie/Thomas/Jeffery/Spock/nina. You had me fooled there for a second.

Posted by: Disputo on December 7, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

The ISG report undercuts the Murtha crowd by delegitimizing the quick bug-out (AKA redeployment) option and makes staying in Iraq at least until '08 the "conventional" or "mainstream" point of view. For Bush, isn't this the only part of the ISG report that matters? And when it comes to the actual situation in Iraq, the report basically confirms established policies of the White House and the Pentagon. So, in effect, doesn't the heralded bipartisan commission in effect give Bush the leeway to ahem stay the course?

Posted by: Gregory (the real one) on December 7, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

OK, this is what's going on--I think:

There is a kind of a weird attack underway on this blog. I think it would be a good idea to maybe stop bitching at Kevin Drum, the Washington Monthly, the people who are having their handles appropriated to conduct this attack. It might also be a good idea to stop thinking that if you see a bizaare anti-semitic rant or an obvious 'cut and paste' job of several dozen paragraphs of text that it's what the person whose handle appears at the bottom is actually responsible. That's a tactical move to try to whip up animosity towards the person who is actually innocent and didn't post the actual post.

There is no organized attempt to force moderation on this blog by a regular--what you are seeing is either the work of one disgruntled troll who has been spanked hard or is the work of a juvenile who has discovered that he/she has the ability to post here without moderation and carry out the attack.

This happens on Moveable Type blogs all the time--I've found articles on it going back to 2003-- and there's nothing anyone can do about it except educate themselves as to what it is and use a little common sense.

It is a one-person (maybe more-who know?) Denial of Service (DoS) attack. Usually, this is done with an attack on a network of some type--sending repetitive pings to overload a network, sending E-mails with large attachments, etc.

What this person is doing is attempting to deny the users access to a blog comment thread on a website run by a Non-Profit Organization.

That's my take on it--I hope I'm in the ballpark.

The anti-semitic stuff is not being posted by anyone who frequents the blog or comments on a regular basis; if someone wants to contact the Anti-Defamation League, go ahead.

Their website is here.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 7, 2006 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

Follow the link and look in the mirror...

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 8, 2006 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly