December 7, 2006
Important Readers Note
Big Lizards analyzed the entire James Baker-Lee Hamilton Iraq Study Group report in a pair of posts yesterday:
- Skip the Dicta; Read the Recommendations - Part Uno
- Skip the Dicta; Read the Recommendations - Part Zwei
It's important that we make clear the purpose of our posts. Many people deride the report on the grounds that the ISG really want us to withdraw, but they were too craven to call for it outright... so they instead (this theory goes) recommended "withdrawal lite."
Maybe, maybe not. Big Lizards could not care less what the commission thought it was doing.
I approached this analysis entirely, ah, analytically: given the facts on the ground and in D.C., the political reality that the voters will demand that President Bush accept most (if not all) of the ISG's 79 recommendations, can he do so while still fighting for true victory in Iraq?
And the answer I came up with was: yes he can.
Mind, I consider most of the ISG's recommendations silly and unworldly. Jed Babbin, whom I mostly disagree with, hit the nail with a needle:
The ISG report has all the attributes -- and all of the failings -- of an academic study. It is both theoretically sound and thoroughly inapplicable outside the laboratories of the schools of diplomacy.
The great majority of the 79 Commandments, including the entire "diplomatic offensive," by which we're going to persuade Iran to act against its own interests and help us stabilize Iraq as a democracy, is nought but a big time waster.
But since it only wastes the time of people whose time I consider valueless -- diplomats, even good ones like John Bolton -- I brush that aside. Besides, if properly construed, even the "diplomatic offensive" could conceivably be of some use... if we send someone like Bolton, who would use it as an opportunity to issue a series of ultimata to Iran and its organ-grinder's monkey, Syria.
In fewer words, Bush can take these recommendations and run with them. Most recapitulate what he's been trying to do anyway; and with the extra "bottom," or gravitas that the ISG adds, he will better be able to counter the Democratic floccillation, as they try to pick off this or that vital national-security program.
So take the analysis for what it is: not an examination into the motives or ultimate goal of the commission members, but rather as an examination of whether there are any underwater mines in the ISG report that will blow the Iraq war -- hence the larger GWOT -- out of the water.
And the answer is no, if President Bush chooses not to let it. Everything the report proposes can be squared with winning the war and standing up a stable, functioning democracy in Iraq (which, as a irrelevant aside, is clearly what the entire operative second section of the ISG report assumes is the ultimate goal).
Bush can accept the document and make frequent reference to it, even as he takes the upcoming Pentagon assessment as his actual lodestone. He might even get a little mileage out of it, in terms of holding the Democrats' noses to the fire on some of Bush's policies.
So everyone stop kvetching and bellyaching, and let's get back to our regularly scheduled war!
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 7, 2006, at the time of 2:27 PM
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