NZ Bear has converted the report PDF file into readable format (Thank you NZB!) The Iraq Study Group Report, brought to you in linkable HTML form. Read it.
In today’s WSJ (by subscription) No Way to Win a War
The theory of the thing is very peculiar indeed. You are in the middle of a war — a hard war, a war that is going badly. If the government has bogged down, if the people inside have gone stale, you would say that the sound thing, the Churchillian or Lincolnian or Rooseveltian thing, would be, first, to fire a bunch of officials (generals as well as top civilians), promote or bring in fresh talent, and put together a small group of people to take a new and unillusioned look. Those people would report back in secrecy to the president and his most senior advisers and aides.
They would consist of experienced soldiers and civilians in whom the president (who, after all, has to make the strategic decisions, and is the accountable executive) has trust. There would not be many of them, a half dozen or so, and they would have to be hardy enough to visit the war zone for several weeks, talking not just to politicians and generals but to captains and sergeants. They would go see things for themselves. They would visit a forward operating base near Tikrit; they would spend some time with Iraqi soldiers in Taji; they would take their chances in a convoy to al Asad, or even a patrol in Tal Afar.
They — not their staff of a few soldiers and secretaries — would do the probing, digging, thinking, discussing and, above all, the writing. The chairman of the group would insist that they air their disagreements candidly and thoroughly in front of the president, engaging in a debate that might last a day, perhaps longer. The rest of us would not find out about the panel until months, or even years, after it reported back; maybe not until the war was over.
Instead, this is how it was done:
Some of the commission members and their advisers cordially detest the president and his administration and opposed him and his war from the outset; others were equally passionate in their defense of both the man and the conflict. And yet this diverse group had an overwhelming mandate, from the beginning, to produce a consensus document. The commission members spent four days in Iraq, and with the exception of a one-day foray by former Marine Chuck Robb, they stayed in the Green Zone, that bubble of palaces and residences that has little to do with the real Iraq of Basra, Kirkuk, Ramadi, Baquba and Mosul. At the end, they had breakfast with the president and a few hours later posted their conclusions on the Internet for all the world to ponder. There is something of a farce in all this, an invocation of wisdom from a cohesive Washington elite that does not exist, a desperate wish to believe in the gravitas and the statecraft of grave men (and women) who can sort out the mess in which the country finds itself.
A fatuous process yields, necessarily, fatuous results.
Ralph Peters: The Iraq Study Group doesn’t get it.
Today’s butchers are far more merciless, indiscriminate and dangerous. For Herod’s henchmen, killing was a job. For today’s faith-fueled fanatics, slaughtering the innocents is doing Allah’s will. Our modern magis’ negotiations won’t fix Iraq, no matter what gifts they bring.
Former Secretary of State James Baker and his panelists are trying to shore up the failing regional system that their generation designed. Released yesterday, their report doesn’t offer “a new way forward.” Its recommendations echo past failures. And it shows no sense of how gravely the world has changed.
Mark Steyn: Iraq is just test of will for America
It’s not the planes, the tanks, the men, the body armor. It’s the political will. You can have the best car in town, but it won’t go anywhere if you don’t put your foot on the pedal. Three years ago, when it was obvious Syria and Iran were violating Iraq’s borders with impunity, we should have done what the British did in the so-called ”Confrontation” with Indonesia 40 years ago when they were faced with Jakarta doing to the newly independent state of Malaysia exactly what Damascus and Tehran are doing to Iraq. British, Aussie and Malaysian forces sent troops on low-key, lethally effective raids into Indonesia, keeping the enemy on the defensive and winning the war with barely a word making the papers. If the strategic purpose in invading Iraq was to create a regional domino effect, then playing defense in the Sunni Triangle for three years makes no sense. We should never have wound up hunkered down in the Green Zone. If there has to be a Green Zone, it should be on the Syrian side of the border.
Perhaps the Baker Commission’s proposals will prove not to be as empty and risible as those leaked. But, if they are, the president should pay them no heed. A bipartisan sellout — the Republicans cut and the Democrats run — would be an awesome self-humiliation of the United States. And once the rest of the world figures it out, it’ll be America that’s the Green Zone.
And Israel will become a memory: Don’t miss also Charles’s post, Iraq Study Group: Selling Israel Down the River
More blogger reaction at Stop the ACLU.
Somewhat related, on the subject of will, Outrage And Deja Vu All Over Again
We noted that ‘…Teddy Kennedy apparently offered to help a foreign power interfere with the internal politics of this nation.‘
In our post, we asked
…If Democrat luminaries such as Teddy Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, et al, had no trouble looking outside the US for political help and campaign money, why on earth should we not assume that some Dems are dealing with Iran, Syria, Al Qaeda, Hizbollah and Hamas, to further their political aims and ambitions?
Well, it seems our question was prescient insight. Courtesy of Dr Sanity and Larwyn comes the rather incredible assertion that Democrats have been in secret meetings with Hamas.
The Jerusalem Post reports that
Meanwhile, sources close to the PA government claimed that Hamas representatives recently held talks with officials from the US Democratic Party at an undisclosed location.
In an environment that has seen leaks of classified and sensitive information to the media in a tsunami-like wave, it is not unreasonable to conclude that sensitive and classified information has been passed on to Hamas and others that this administration and others have concluded are terrorist organizations intent on doing us, the Israelis and other democracies, great harm. It is clear there are Democrats who believe that undermining Mr Bush is more important than the security of the nation, in the same that Teddy Kennedy believed that undermining Ronald Reagan was justification enough to meet with those who declared their malevolent intent toward us.
Bill Clinton goes to pay tribute Ho Chi Minh
Update Why Must Democrats Always Meet With the Wartime Enemy?Gateway Pundit has a list of meetings.
Today is the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Air Raid on Pearl Harbor
Special thanks to Larwyn and Maria.
Update: But tactics aren’t the issue. The issue is will.
War is upon us, whether we wish it or not. We must resolve to win conclusively, absolutely, and undeniably, on all its fronts.
Hitchens noticed that the ISG didn’t bother talking to the kurds
(technorati tags Iraq Study Group Iraq)