April 5, 2007
Dems: Do As We Say, Not As We Said!
Our commenter Tomy directed my attention to this breath of fresh air on the Iraq supplemental funding bill... an opinion piece in today's Washington Post.
What is most astonishing is that it came from the pen -- word processor -- of former Bush-41 Secretary of State James A. Baker III, the fellow who successfully fought the Florida election debacle in the Supreme Court on behalf of his old boss's son, the current president. Oh yes, and the co-chair of the Iraq Study Group.
I rise in astonishment, because Baker has been pretty much of a pain in the tuchus for some months now, demanding more "diplomacy" with Iran and Syria (he does it again in this Op-Ed, but it's still worth reading).
You remember the Iraq Study Group, right? Evidently Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%) does not. They were the bipartisan group (the other co-chair was former Democratic dauphin of the House Lee Hamilton) which produced a series of recommendations anent Iraq. Way back in the dim mists of January, it pleased the Democrats to declare those recommendations the single most important blueprint for moving that thorny problem forward... and they insisted, nay demanded, that President George W. Bush follow every last jot and tittle of that report.
Well today, Baker reminds us of one of the most important of the ISG's recommendations -- one that appears to have slipped Mr. Reid's mind:
The best, and perhaps only, way to build national agreement on the path forward is for the president and Congress to embrace the only set of recommendations that has generated bipartisan support: the Iraq Study Group report...
The report does not set timetables or deadlines for the removal of troops, as contemplated by the supplemental spending bills the House and Senate passed. In fact, the report specifically opposes that approach. As many military and political leaders told us, an arbitrary deadline would allow the enemy to wait us out and would strengthen the positions of extremists over moderates. A premature American departure from Iraq, we unanimously concluded, would almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence and further deterioration of conditions in Iraq and possibly other countries.
In addition, many of the provisions of Lt.Gen. David Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy embrace the unanimous recommendations found in that document. For example:
The president's plan increases the number of American advisers embedded in Iraqi army units, with the goal that the Iraqi government will assume control of security in all provinces by November. It outlines benchmarks and indicates that the Iraqi government must act to attain them. He has approved ministerial-level meetings of all of Iraq's neighbors, including Syria and Iran; the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council; and other countries.
Well how about it, Sen. Reid? Do you -- or do you not -- wish us to follow the ISG's bipartisan recommendations?
If so, you and Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 90%) surely cannot insist upon timetables for surrender and defunding the troops! As Chairman Baker of the Iraq Study Group writes...
An important way to encourage Iraqis to work together is to hold them to the type of benchmarks that Congress, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have all considered. If the Iraqi government does not meet those benchmarks, the United States "should reduce its political, military, or economic support for the Iraqi government," the report said. But we did not suggest that this be codified into legislation. The report doesn't recommend a firm deadline for troop removal unless America's military leadership believes that the situation warrants it.
Nothing has happened since the report was released that would justify changing that view. Setting a deadline for withdrawal regardless of conditions in Iraq makes even less sense today because there is evidence that the temporary surge is reducing the level of violence in Baghdad. As Baghdad goes, so goes Iraq.
I can only say -- and I know I'll hate myself in the morning -- that the Democrats were for the Iraq Study Group recommendations before they were against them.
I sure hope Tony Snow is in good enough shape to call a bigger than usual press conference, invite the entire White House press gang -- and hurl the Baker Op-Ed right in their fat, pasty, moon faces.
And thanks, Tomy... that was a great comment.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 5, 2007, at the time of 12:45 AM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/1961
The following hissed in response by: Steelhand
Good assessment. The ISG report was always a red-herring for bash Bush, because the Dems never expected Bush to run with it. It also makes Condi's excellent Syrian adventure make more sense; it provided another step towards fulfillment of the ISG protocols without necessarily giving away anything. "Yeah, we spoke with them. Nothing happened, so check that one off the list."
The biggest problem for the Dems was not Bush's "Stay the Course" reputation. It was his willingness to accept the advice of advisors until one found a workable solution. Gen. Petraus seems to have the right idea. As many have posted before, adding troops was only one of the salient features of the surge. It appears to have a positive effect so far.
The strategy of investing in defeat has been followed by the strategy of causing defeat. Chanting Bush Lied as explaining your opposition to the war is one thing; but planning for an acceptable outcome is something else.
The following hissed in response by: madconductor
Great post Dafydd. It is apparent that following a recomendation is not a requirment for "finding middle ground" - though the dumocrats will spit that rancor until doomsday. This country looks weak to the jihadists. And the weakness is advocated by the left as pretense for a planned failure. It's more important to them to see their country defeated so that Bush can be their cause celebre for the next election - and the timing of their plan was wrecked with this surge stuff. Something that made sense for the military, the ISG, and Bush. So it must be bad.
The above hissed in response by: madconductor at April 5, 2007 8:12 PM
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