Rick Brookheiser proposes a superior alternative to the conclusions of the Iraq Study Group: Kill our enemies, quickly.
We have played the Iraq War various ways. Gen. Tommy Franks drove to Baghdad and resigned. Paul Bremer fired the Iraqi Army and called a constitutional convention. A constitution got written, and most Iraqis rallied to it, but the men of blood continued their work. Lately we have been appealing to Sunni tribal leaders—with some success, though not enough. By this ass-backward route, we have arrived at the place we were in Afghanistan on Halloween of 2001, three and a half weeks into Operation Enduring Freedom, with everyone in a tizzy and the late R.W. Apple savoring the “the ominous word ‘quagmire.’” The solution then was to stop worrying about the effects of our actions on the long-term fate of the country and to kill as many Taliban as possible. Which we did, and which led to victory. (Yes, the Taliban are still out there; no one said freedom is easy.) The solution now is to put 30,000 troops into Baghdad, without stripping Anbar, and kill the enemies of order. If the generals say they don’t need 30,000 more troops, find new generals.
Livy was another old writer—a historian, not a poet. He said that when the ancient Romans were digging the foundations of a Temple of Jupiter, they uncovered a bleeding head (commemorated in the word capitol, which comes from caput, the Latin for “head”). The state begins in violence. Free states give way to order and peace, but they too begin there.
This is not international social work, or finishing a job. Since the violent in Iraq include Al Qaeda, and terrorist wannabes, killing them is a twofer. Let the end begin.
Rush Limbaugh has them pegged:
See? See, ladies and gentlemen? Its value is that it’s bipartisan and they’re attempting to achieve consensus like the new castrati. And they’re doing everything they can to unite the American people — in what? Unite the American people in defeat, unite the American people in surrender, the Iraq surrender group, unite the American people in getting out of there. Now, this is not a cut-and-run document, but it does say we’ve gotta get combat troops out of there, and we gotta train the Iraqis, and then we gotta get out of there. This whole thing has somehow evolved into this is just about Iraq, and it’s not about who’s feeding Iraq and keep Iraq alive as an enemy. I have to tell you, well, I’m not stunned. You know, I held out hope for this. I hoped that some of these leaks were wrong, but I know blue ribbon panels — look, I have hope. I hope I get my hearing back.
You know, I have a lot of hope out there, ladies and gentlemen. You know, but I, nevertheless followed my instincts. Baker said, by the way, during this press conference, hey, we talked to the Soviets for 40 years to justify talking to Syria and Iran. Yeah, we talked to the Soviets, we gotta talk to Syria and Iran, which is simplistic nonsense. Did we negotiate with the Sandanistas in Nicaragua? Did we negotiate with Noriega in Panama? To compare Iran and Syria, which are two Third World police states, with a superpower like the Soviet Union, had nukes, tanks, tens of thousands of missiles, two million soldiers in uniform, is mindless. It’s a silly comparison. We didn’t ask the Soviets to help us solve problems in places where we were engaged around the world. I mean, the Soviets marched into Hungary in the 1950s, we didn’t do anything. When Hussein sent his troops into Kuwait, we attacked him.
There’s a difference between dealing with another superpower and dealing with Third World police states. We’re making these nations much bigger than they are. We’re giving them much more status than they deserve. They are not superpowers. We can’t win anywhere we go, and why is that? Because of Iraq. And this report pretty much confirms it. So now we can’t beat Syria, we can’t beat Iran, we can’t beat Iraq, we can’t beat anybody, the left wins. The US military is incapable of achieving victory. It’s immoral in its very existence. I mean, Jimmy Carter, does Baker remember Jimmy Carter talking endlessly with the Iranians, begging them to release our hostages? Does he not remember that? Does Baker not recall that under his stewardship we talked to the Syrians, too, to no avail, we’ve been talking to the Palestinians, to no avail. Talk to the enemy, talk to the animals, Dr. Doolittle. Let’s make a play out of it. You know, I don’t think we needed the Iraq surrender group. There is one man out there who could have gone up, conducted a press conference and answered questions and said the same thing, and that’s Jimmy Carter.
Says Mark Steyn in response to the piffle released today.
Isn’t the main problem with the Iraq Study Group that it’s just majorly lame? Almost anybody could crank out this kind of generalized boilerplate (“We were told by a general/a translator/my taxi driver/my Ukrainian hooker…”), and most of us could do it without a budget of gazillions of dollars and an Annie Leibovitz photo session.
Of course, Syria “should” do this and Iran “should” do that and, if they were Sandra Day O’Connor, I’m sure they would. But they’re not. And the only specific strategic proposal is a linkage between Iraq and a “renewed and sustained commitment” to a “comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace” — which concedes the same ludicrous rationale that the Saudi King Abdullah and all the rest of them make: that one tiny ten-mile sliver of Jews is the reason why millions of Muslims from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Emirates are mired in dictatorships, failed economies and jihadist fever. For the Baker group to endorse this clapped out pan-Arabism is disgusting. An “Arab-Israeli peace”? What does that mean? What exactly is Israel doing to Iraq, or Tunisia, or Qatar, or any other Arabs except those in the “Palestinian territories”? To frame it in those terms is to adopt the pathologies of the enemy. Shame on Baker, Hamilton and all the rest.
As for the insight on page 94 that so impressed Rich, yes, it’s true that the DIA and other analytical agencies don’t have a lot of strength in depth. But why is that? It’s certainly not because the US taxpayer isn’t showering them with dollars. It’s to do with a bureaucratic torpor that has proved almost totally resistant to any attempts to reform it since 9/11. And, while we may well “engage” with Syria and Iran to no effect, and US troops may well put their left foot in and take their right foot out, the one thing you can guarantee won’t be shaken all about is the torpid bureaucracy — of which this stillborn report is yet one more example.
The Times reports a leak from the James Baker-led Iraq Study Group. Predictably, a committtee made up of nearly-all-liberal has-been political hacks and trimmers (and mysteriously Alan Simpson) produced exactly what one would expect: a highly unspecific affirmation of the preferred policy of the chattering class establishment, i.e. withdrawal, cravenly couched so as to affix to the committee as little responsibility for any actual decision or result as possible.
The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.
The report, unanimously approved by the 10-member panel, led by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, is to be delivered to President Bush next week. It is a compromise between distinct paths that the group has debated since March, avoiding a specific timetable, which has been opposed by Mr. Bush, but making it clear that the American troop commitment should not be open-ended. The recommendations of the group, formed at the request of members of Congress, are nonbinding.
At the present time, as I watch one ambitious member after another of our policy establishment hold his finger in the air, conclude that the media and the domestic left has won, that the United States has been beaten by the Avenging Swords of the New Yorker and the Party of God of the Times, and that the time has come to scuttle over to the domestic camp of defeatism and make his personal obeisance in the direction of Michael Moore, I really wonder if it might not be possible to trade our entire corps of policy intellectuals to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for some inferior quality herd of sheep.