Charles Krauthammer’s article at RealClearPolitics is an interesting one. He writes that the ISG report has offered President Bush another chance to alter the tactics in Iraq and offer something bold:
As a result of the Iraq Study Group, President Bush has been given one last chance to alter course on Iraq. This did not, however, come about the way James Baker intended. It came about because the long-anticipated report turned out to be such a widely agreed-upon farce. From its wildly hyped, multiple magazine-cover rollout (Annie Leibovitz in Men’s Vogue, no less) to its mishmash of 79 (no less) recommendations, the report has fallen so flat that the field is now clear for the president to recommend to a war-weary country something new and bold.
The ISG has not just been attacked by left and right, Democrat and Republican. It has invited ridicule. Seventy-nine recommendations. Interdependent, insists Baker. They should be taken as a whole. “I hope we don’t treat this like a fruit salad and say, ‘I like this but I don’t like that.'” On the basis of what grand unifying vision? On the authority of what superior wisdom? A 10-person commission including such Middle East experts as Sandra Day O’Connor, Alan Simpson and Vernon Jordan?
This kind of bipartisan elder-statesmen commission is perfectly appropriate as a consensus-building exercise for, say, a long-range problem such as Social Security. It is a ludicrous mechanism for devising strategic changes in the middle of a war.
I agree completely with Charles here in that President Bush has been given an opportunity to change tactics in Iraq. I think President Bush knows this and is the reason why he’s put off his Iraq announcement to January.
Charles is also spot on in the last paragraph I quoted. The individuals selected to participate in the Iraq Surrender Group are highly educated and highly experienced civil public servants, but not one of them has had any experience dealing with the kind of enemy that we are facing right now – Islamofascists. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have offered their suggestions, but their lack of experience is evident in that what they have offered is so ineffectual that to implement their ideas would only put America in greater danger. Dialing down our troops in Iraq at this moment would be a signal to the Islamofascists that they have defeated us, which would only embolden them in their attempts to attack us. Our leaving Somalia as quickly as we did gave Bin Laden the impression that we were nothing but a paper tiger. We can not do that again.