Breaking: Baker Commission to call for “gradual pullback” of U.S. troops

posted at 11:39 pm on November 29, 2006 by Allahpundit

Just posted at the Times. The report won’t be delivered to Bush for another week but “people familiar with the panel’s deliberations” say they’re going to recommend withdrawal “relatively soon” but without a firm timetable.

So that’s helpful.

I’m going to read it through now. Update coming.

Update: “It is neither ‘cut and run’ nor ‘stay the course,’” one source told the Times. Right, which is way both sides will hate it.

The military end recommends that roughly half the troops in country redeploy “soon,” hopefully starting sometime next year, either to bases elsewhere in Iraq or the Middle East or all the way home. Which of the three it ends up being will obviously depend on how hairy things are six months or so from now. The other half would stay behind and embed with Iraqi troops in support roles and as instructors, and some would comprise a rapid reaction force. Quote:

[I]t was the military recommendations that prompted the most debate, people familiar with the deliberations said. They said a draft report put together under the direction of Mr. Baker and Mr. Hamilton had collided with another, circulated by other Democrats on the commission, that included an explicit timeline calling for withdrawal of the combat brigades to be completed by the end of next year. In the end, the two proposals were blended.

That’s not a war plan, it’s a deal. How many Iraqi troops do they think are going to hang around waiting to be trained if all-out civil war begins between Sunnis and Shiites? If you’re not going to send American forces after the militias in earnest then you’re abandoning Iraqis to their fate whether or not you’re still physically there on the ground with them. It’s the ultimate manifestation of war by half-measures — almost literally, as it turns out. As for this:

A person who participated in the commission’s debate said that unless the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki believed that Mr. Bush was under pressure to pull back troops in the near future, “there will be zero sense of urgency to reach the political settlement that needs to be reached.”

Maliki was stoned three days ago in Sadr City. The sense of urgency is practically embedded in his skull. What, precisely, would the vaunted political settlement accomplish at this point, though, without a military settlement as a precondition? The Sunnis in parliament can’t compromise with Shiites so long as the center of gravity within their sect lies with the jihadis; likewise the Shiites vis-a-vis al-Sadr. If they managed a settlement, they’d have no way to enforce it. Until the militias are cleared away, nothing that happens within the government will mean a thing to anyone outside the green zone. And with half the U.S. troops in the country heading out, the odds of clearing those militias out are close to nil. But then, addressing that wasn’t really the point. This was the point:

Commission members have said in recent days that they had to navigate around such declarations, or, as one said, “We had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out.”

They moved it. Congratulations.

So there’s the military side. What about the diplomatic side? Is it as bad as we’ve feared?

It is.

As described by the people involved in the deliberations, the bulk of the report by the Baker-Hamilton group focused on a recommendation that the United States devise a far more aggressive diplomatic initiative in the Middle East than Mr. Bush has been willing to try so far, including direct engagement with Iran and Syria. Initially, those contacts might be part of a regional conference on Iraq or broader Middle East peace issues, like the Israeli-Palestinian situation, but they would ultimately involve direct, high-level talks with Tehran and Damascus.

Assad just knocked off one Lebanese minister and there’s a report today that he has his eye on planning to kill dozens more. Hitchens put it well on Monday:

If the latest assassination in Lebanon caused any embarrassment to the enthusiasm of the Baker-Hamilton team for direct talks with Damascus and Tehran, the embarrassment wasn’t evident. The Lebanese Cabinet may have bravely voted last week, in spite of a campaign of blackmail by Syria’s death squads and religious proxies, to establish a tribunal to investigate the murder of Rafik Hariri, but in Washington, the talk is of getting on better terms with the people who, on all the available evidence, blew up his car…

The objectionable thing about the proposed Baker-Hamilton “talks” is not that they are talks but that they give the impression of looking for someone to whom to surrender.

Indeed.

One week until the full report comes out. Can’t wait.


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Why am I not surprised? We have wussed out. we have no backbone, no balls, no nothing. we deserve what we get at this point. I just threw up a little in my mouth as I typed that.

pullingmyhairout on November 29, 2006 at 11:40 PM

uff-da.

infidel on November 29, 2006 at 11:42 PM

Great, a whole bunch more of nothing but wasted time and money. So the media can go with “they recommend Bush pulls out, he refuses”, the terrorists can be emboldened and step up attacks and everyone wins… Well, Democrats and terrorists win, and that’s all that counts.

RightWinged on November 29, 2006 at 11:44 PM

They are bound and determined to turn this into Vietnam. Win a war abroad; lose it at home. Strategy by legislation. Do I need to go on?

- The Cat

MirCat on November 29, 2006 at 11:47 PM

What a surprise.

Head for the Grampian Hills, men!

ahem on November 29, 2006 at 11:52 PM

This nation can never defend itself so long as the “surrender first” crowd has such influence, in the press, academia, popular entertainment and other low-crawling venues.

If a nation cannot defend itself, it isn’t a nation.

…so, there’s a definition for treason. Thank you, Mr. Baker.

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2006 at 11:57 PM

Bin Laden should be called Nostradamus–Bin Nostro. He predicted this. You Americans are cowards. You can’t even fight a simple. This is sort of similar to what he said.

Ouabam on November 29, 2006 at 11:58 PM

The situation with the Saudis in this mix is interesting. Saudi against iran. We support the Saudis with weaponry, they provide the money and the manpower (and will to kick ass), and keep the friggin’ iranians in check.

Is that feasible, or am I just dreaming here?

techno_barbarian on November 29, 2006 at 11:59 PM

How is this different from the Demo-dhimmi agenda for Iraq?

Yeah, it’s a Trick Question

Janos Hunyadi on November 30, 2006 at 12:04 AM

It has occured to you, I presume, that even after you read the al-NYT piece you still won’t know what’s in the report. From what was selectively leaked to Sanger and Cloud to create the impression the leakers wanted created they’ve now selected the appropriate portion to create the impression they want created.

bdfaith on November 30, 2006 at 12:12 AM

This has got to be the most pathetic thing i’ve ever read. “Agressive diplomatic initiative” pretty much sums it all up. If you read who’s on the panel (Vernon Jordan? WTF?) it’s a bunch of lifetime politicos who just want to go along to get along. This panel is about politics, not strategy. They don’t take a stand on anything, instead they slice everything down the middle. The only thing this panel will accomplish is giving the cowards in this country the excuse they needed to abandon the war on terror.

Scot on November 30, 2006 at 12:21 AM

I’m not sure that a call for a SLOW withdrawal by some nonspecific time is much different than what has been the plan all along. Maybe couching the same plan in more emphatic terms will scare the Iraqis into being a bit more proactive themselves.

DaveS on November 30, 2006 at 12:32 AM

Also, is Ace dead, Allah?

DaveS on November 30, 2006 at 12:33 AM

This panel is about politics, not strategy.
Scot on November 30, 2006 at 12:21 AM

This is exactly the truth about the panel. I guess: Baker want something more from us after he spent all his time rehashing about the obvious aspect: Withdrawal form Iraq.

Pure Cambodian Breast milk.
mmMMmm.

Ouabam on November 30, 2006 at 12:33 AM

This is not different than what the White House and the Generals have been saying, if the panel said get out now. It would be big news.

Ripclawe on November 30, 2006 at 12:41 AM

So, we’ve got the Dem’s saying we need more troops there and we need them to pull out. This commission now calls for a gradual withdrawal.

This is absolutely about politics, however, we could have waited until the new majority was sworn in before we started playing our hand.

Sure, it forces them to make a move — it’s just too soon.

mesablue on November 30, 2006 at 12:42 AM

What a mess. What will happen if we leave? Iran gains influence and power? Mass slaughter of the Sunnis? Saudi Arabia asserting itself against Iran?

We live in eventful times.

gmoonster on November 30, 2006 at 1:05 AM

This doesn’t surprise me a bit. Of course I’m also not surprised the NYSlimes is also leaking this.

Catie96706 on November 30, 2006 at 1:09 AM

SPINELESS BASTARDS.

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2006 at 2:47 AM

Spineless Bastards.

This nation can never defend itself so long as the “surrender first” crowd has such influence, in the press, academia, popular entertainment and other low-crawling venues.

If a nation cannot defend itself, it isn’t a nation.

…so, there’s a definition for treason. Thank you, Mr. Baker.

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2006 at 11:57 PM

Amen!

How does this “Commission” defend the fact that every proposal, every position, has been “leaked” prior to submission of the report they were “commissioned” to do?

Also, I would like to know how the credibility of the United States can be maintained, if there is such a thing, if we pursue any of these “leaked” paths that seem to be recommended?

Is our power and prestige in the world worth nothing? Does our ability to influence our own future need to be subjugated to political pressure at home and difficult situations abroad?

My answer is a resounding NO. If we give an inch now, what will be the price tomorrow?

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2006 at 2:57 AM

Is it just me, or is the Baker Commission sounding more and more like the 9/11 Commission, in terms of being both politics over substance and a complete farce?

ReubenJCogburn on November 30, 2006 at 3:00 AM

Commission members have said in recent days that they had to navigate around such declarations, or, as one said, “We had to move the national debate from whether to stay the course to how do we start down the path out.”

Navigate around? Isn’t that code for chickenshit?

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2006 at 5:04 AM

Maybe if I sneak it in : CHiCken “F:” n SLIP

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2006 at 5:06 AM

Anyway, my original point is that the more I hear of this Commission, the less I like it. I have respect for Mr. Baker, but I fear that he is out of his area of expertise and out of his league in that he dealt with a “kinder, gentler, …” Nevermind. It’s all so ludicrous. The Pres. needs to set a course and stay with it; unless and until the course of events convinces him otherwise. If we had all listened to the platitudes of the naysayers and so-called experts available to us when our fathers and their fathers were fighting for our freedom, these blowhards wouldn’t have a leg, or an amendment, to stand upon. Hypocracy abounds.

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2006 at 5:21 AM

How is this different from the Demo-dhimmi agenda for Iraq?

Yeah, it’s a Trick Question

Janos Hunyadi on November 30, 2006 at 12:04 AM

The only difference I see is the manner in which they recommend that we do an about face. In substantial terms, I see no difference. One option is as bad as the other, if you limit your thinking to the options considered by this groping group of negativity. This “Commission” was convened for cheap political purposes, and nothing more should be expected from such a group. It’s all about political cover, and I am ashamed of my President for taking part in such transparent nonsense.

I hope that this commission comes out with something of substance and proves me wrong. Sincerely

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2006 at 5:39 AM

I am still waiting for Anyone to tell me how my life is going to be better under Islamofacsist rule. My thought is: There is no good answer, because life under this ugly system would be no better than Mussolini’s Facsism or Hitler’s Racist Nazism. Every example of this so-called Peaceful Religion having a say in the political process seems to lead to one tyrant or another having their way. There are a few examples, and the Peaceful Religion is doing it’s all to suppress them. The poor working man (religion not important) in Lebanon has no chance for his efforts to pay off unless and until he pays tribute to the So Called Leaders. The Palestinian Authority suppresses it’s own successful people, in fear that the truth may leak out. I refuse to feel sorry for a movement that wants to shoot itself in the foot every time there is a chance for the Real truth to be told. Makes one wonder.

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2006 at 6:29 AM

The sad truth is the fact that Nasrallah and Hezzbollah are using the passion of youth for their foundation of this attack on Western Civilization, disguised as anti-this and anti that and anti Zionism when it suits their purpose. Until these young people realize how badly that they are being used, I guess we’ll have to put up with all of the malarkey about how WE are the abusers. etc. Until then, let’s not hate them, just kill them in numbers enough to penetrate their blind curtain of fanaticism. It seems like the best way, in the long run, to save some lives.

hillbillyjim on November 30, 2006 at 6:39 AM

I heard that al-Sadr resigned from al-Maliki’s government. Let’s take off the mittens and dispatch al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army before the report is made public.

Aunt B on November 30, 2006 at 6:42 AM

Whatever the over/under is on the date for the US to become part of the Worldwide Caliphate, I’ll take the under (though I highly doubt I will survive to collect on that bet).

steveegg on November 30, 2006 at 7:44 AM

I look in vain for anything about the Maliki incident yesterday (“sorry, forgot I had to wash my hair…”). Fills ya with pride, the way our President is treated by other world “leaders”, doesn’t it? Shit.

People, well at least me, were hoping for something from this commission. It’s high time for adult supervision in this mess.

honora on November 30, 2006 at 8:53 AM

There is a reason that advice provided to the president is generally subject to executive privilege. Quite simply, disclosure of confidential impedes the decision-making process which, for the record, is entirely the responsibility of the president, and not some advisory panel.

Sorry, but Bush appointed these clods and, worse yet, arranged for their recommendations to be a thoroughly public matter. Now, he has to live with the very predictable political consequences.

It’s a pity for all of us.

morganfrost on November 30, 2006 at 9:10 AM

I look in vain for anything about the Maliki incident yesterday (”sorry, forgot I had to wash my hair…”). Fills ya with pride, the way our President is treated by other world “leaders”, doesn’t it?

Huh?

Pablo on November 30, 2006 at 9:16 AM

Huh?

Pablo on November 30, 2006 at 9:16 AM

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/bulletin_061130.htm

honora on November 30, 2006 at 9:24 AM

A Committee: the only form of life with at least six legs and no brain.

A Commission: a committee with an oversize ego.

secarr on November 30, 2006 at 9:46 AM

Is our power and prestige in the world worth nothing? Does our ability to influence our own future need to be subjugated to political pressure at home and difficult situations abroad? — hillbillyjim

Any prestige we had has been traded away by the Democrats and those further left in an effort to hamstring this president. Any power we might’ve had was then traded away by this president in the spirit of “can’t we all just get along” with the Democrats and Lefties who’ve been hamstringing him.

…then there’s the media, which operates on the “it’s a lie that tells the truth” principle, as Da Boss has been highlighting in her vents this week.

Any ability we might have or have had is *FIRST* politicized in this, the post-Clintonian world, where politicians are *ALWAYS* running for reelection and competing for face-time on their enabling networks. We can sell the nation, just as a farmer can grind his seed corn, if it’ll mean that we win some petty argument amongst ourselves.

This is all exacerbated by former cabinet members and staff — Powell, Armitage, CIA leaksters — who seem to feel themselves empowered to make unilateral policy pronouncements in wartime; and by a president who won’t defend himself or his administration’s efforts in the face of a snarling press and an empowered paddy-wagon full of Keystone Kops which is the Democratic Party today (apologies to Mr. Sennett for the comparison).

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 9:50 AM

Direct engagement with Iran and Syria? That sounds like a GREAT idea!

Tony737 on November 30, 2006 at 9:59 AM

Fills ya with pride, the way our President is treated by other world “leaders”, doesn’t it? Shit.

…am I to understand that you’re sympathizing with this president? That would be easy to do, given the caliber of those who’re “dissing” him…but, then, I’m used to his being “dissed”, dismissed, and fantasy-assasinated by the American Left. Seeing towel-heads do it is a twist, but basically is more of the same, egged along by the new, blundering Democratic Congress…which every day is looking more and more like a clown car, the passengers of which can’t decide amongst themselves which ring to unload in….

“Ringling Brothers!” “Big Apple!” “Ringling Brothers, you b*astards!”

People, well at least me, were hoping for something from this commission. It’s high time for adult supervision in this mess. — honora

If this president does *ANYTHING* but take the recommendations of this commission and toss them straightaway into the nearest trashcan, he’ll be abdicating his presidential responsibilities as Commander-In-Chief. If he does that, he’ll have betrayed not only his base this time, but the soldiers — living and dead — who’ve engaged in this fight.

I’ve said it before: this is a political shell game, where old unemployed politicoes are called in to give those elected with the duty to lead cover. We elect leaders, then they elect “blue ribbon panels” to make policy. That is a direct abnegation of their mandate. *THEY* are elected and empowered to lead.

As far as I’m concerned, Jim Baker and his fellow-travellers are traitors of the lowest water. They are compounding the illusion that this war is somehow off-course. They are joining the dread chorus to lead it. Their refrain: “Quagmire, quagmire, quagmire, QUAGMIRE!”

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 10:00 AM

A Committee: the only form of life with at least six legs and no brain.

A Commission: a committee with an oversize ego. — secarr

There is a Kennedy quote saying something like “a committee is seven men doing the work of one man”, but, in searching for it, I ran across two *EXCELLENT* quotations, which go to my poing on this whole, sad and seditious Baker business:

What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary. (Richard Harkness)

…which I like, but better is:

A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled. (Barnett Cocks)

…or, in this case, “down which national sovereignty and political accountability are lured and then quietly strangled, politicians receiving a ‘get out of jail free’ card”. I know that this makes the quotation unwieldy, but it’s accurate in this case.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 10:08 AM

Re: Talks/negotiations with Iran/Syria.

Does anyone really believe that Iraq could survive without some tacit consent from these two countries? The sad part is that we’re now in a terrible position with Iran and Syria because our sudden willingness to negotiate/talk with them now smacks of weakness and they know it. Any concessions/cooperation will be very difficult to pry from them, though they don’t want a civil war in Iraq either. We should have “negotiated” with them right after Baghdad fell in 2003, from a position of strength, just like we did in Afghanistan.

I’m continually amazed at the difference on the diplomatic front between Afghanistan and Iraq. After all, we brought the Iranians in right after Afghanistan fell and they were actually helpful.

The Bush administration simply relied on empty threats in the case of Iraq and Syrian/Iranian interference. Any idiot can see that course of action would be a failure.

NPP on November 30, 2006 at 10:20 AM

They are bound and determined to turn this into Vietnam. Win a war abroad; lose it at home. Strategy by legislation. Do I need to go on?

Ditto what ‘The Cat’ said

Wade on November 30, 2006 at 10:20 AM

Ditto what ‘The Cat’ said
should have read…no strike thru

Wade on November 30, 2006 at 10:21 AM

Sorry, but Bush appointed these clods and, worse yet, arranged for their recommendations to be a thoroughly public matter. Now, he has to live with the very predictable political consequences.

Perhaps that is why he formed it – to back him out of a corner with other well-respected folk’s opinions? This report is just a political cave-in to the perception that the people have been defeated and it demonstrates to everyone that our leadership is inadequate to remain committed to winning the true War on Terror.

shuzilla on November 30, 2006 at 10:25 AM

Half-measures to fight a battle will only get more soldiers killed. PC wars are NOT winnable!! And talking with Teheran and Damascus? This commission too inflated to be of any use.

Troy Rasmussen on November 30, 2006 at 10:25 AM

Re: Talks/negotiations with Iran/Syria.

Does anyone really believe that Iraq could survive without some tacit consent from these two countries? The sad part is that we’re now in a terrible position with Iran and Syria because our sudden willingness to negotiate/talk with them now smacks of weakness and they know it. Any concessions/cooperation will be very difficult to pry from them, though they don’t want a civil war in Iraq either. We should have “negotiated” with them right after Baghdad fell in 2003, from a position of strength, just like we did in Afghanistan.

I’m continually amazed at the difference on the diplomatic front between Afghanistan and Iraq. After all, we brought the Iranians in right after Afghanistan fell and they were actually helpful.

The Bush administration simply relied on empty threats in the case of Iraq and Syrian/Iranian interference. Any idiot can see that course of action would be a failure.

NPP on November 30, 2006 at 10:20 AM

Bingo. This notion that we simply won’t talk with our enemies is ridiculous. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

honora on November 30, 2006 at 10:49 AM

…am I to understand that you’re sympathizing with this president? That would be easy to do, given the caliber of those who’re “dissing” him…but, then, I’m used to his being “dissed”, dismissed, and fantasy-assasinated by the American Left. Seeing towel-heads do it is a twist, but basically is more of the same, egged along by the new, blundering Democratic Congress

I do sympathize with him. He is being made to look a fool. I do get a kick out of how eager you are to shift blame to the “new Dem Congress”. I know this is the big out for you folks on the RW fringe, but seriously, can we wait til they actually take office. Bush boy is still the Commander in Chief and will remain so (God help us) thru 2008. He is the one driving this train (wreck).

honora on November 30, 2006 at 10:53 AM

As far as I’m concerned, Jim Baker and his fellow-travellers are traitors of the lowest water. They are compounding the illusion that this war is somehow off-course. They are joining the dread chorus to lead it. Their refrain: “Quagmire, quagmire, quagmire, QUAGMIRE!”

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 10:00 AM

Suggestion: why don’t you list the people you

don’t

feel are traitors. Much shorter list.

honora on November 30, 2006 at 10:55 AM

Does anyone really believe that Iraq could survive without some tacit consent from these two countries?

It isn’t their lack of consent that’s a problem, it’s their active undermining and interference.

We do need to talk to them, however. Something along the lines of “Cut the crap, or else.”

Pablo on November 30, 2006 at 11:08 AM

Well… if it’s a “gradual pullback” of U.S. troops, while at the same time a build up of Saud/Emirates/Jordan/Kuwait troops, I can get behind that.

If it’s just a cut and run, then buggar it.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on November 30, 2006 at 11:26 AM

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

honora on November 30, 2006 at 10:49 AM

When we drop that 50 megaton bomb on Iran, we’ll all be breathing vaporized Ahmadinejad for about a year.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on November 30, 2006 at 11:28 AM

Suggestion: why don’t you list the people you don’t feel are traitors. Much shorter list. — honora

…I can’t…BECAUSE THEY’RE EVERYWHERE…EVERYWHERE, I TELL YOU…MMMWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….

…well…that’s the response you were looking for…you know I’m always eager to oblige.

Treason isn’t at all a slippery thing. It’s betrayal. The president empanels a group of has-beens, he’s betrraying his mandate for leadership. Baker and his collection of stiffs accept the second-hand mandate, they’re betraying themselves and then us. The Democrats in Congress trip all over themselves to implement the recommendations of this politicians museum, they’re icing the betrayal cake.

…get the picture. People are rushing to give away their constitutionally delineated respoinsiblities.

Then again, we’re so very tender on the subject of treason. Actors, writers, professors and other bottom-feeders can run this country, its government, its armed forces, and ultimately its citizens with impugnity. News outlets can publish classified material to the benefit of the nation’s sworn, active and armed enemies. Folks rush to defend our enemies in court and in the court of public opinion, often using materials provided by the wider enemy, and their open-mindedness and citizenship in the world are applauded.

The real wonder isn’t that I say “treason” so often, but that you and some of the Lefties here *DON’T* say it more often…or ever.

Vigilance and defense against treason is defense of the freedom to dissent.

Dissent isn’t treason. Dissent is looking at the question from a different angle, suggesting other options, *BEING WILLING TO BE WRONG*. Dissent is patriotic when it proceeds from the impulse to serve the wider national good. Betrayal is treason. Betrayal proceeds from the impulse to win the argument and humble ones opponent. Betrayal permits no question of infallibility. No fine line there.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 11:35 AM

Dissent isn’t treason. Dissent is looking at the question from a different angle, suggesting other options, *BEING WILLING TO BE WRONG*. Dissent is patriotic when it proceeds from the impulse to serve the wider national good. Betrayal is treason. Betrayal proceeds from the impulse to win the argument and humble ones opponent. Betrayal permits no question of infallibility. No fine line there.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 11:35 AM

Cool. So why is Baker a traitor in your opinion?

honora on November 30, 2006 at 11:40 AM

Cool. So why is Baker a traitor in your opinion? — honora

…because, as I said earlier:

Baker and his collection of stiffs accept the second-hand mandate

(…oooo…I love to quote myself as a source….)

He took the job. He’s accepting a position which puts him in line to oversee the production of a document of recommendations which will end up being used as cover either by this president, this congress, or both, to justify a betrayal of national defense and of national defenders in the face of a mis-reported and politicized war.

As it seems to be unfolding, the recommendations of this commission will be tweaked, thrown around, but ultimately accepted. It will be doing what this president *SHOULD* be doing: providing a way forward.

He should have offered his advice, and left it at that.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 11:59 AM

FLEE NOW-PAY LATER.

Now there’s a plan with a future.

(The same kind that appeared ahead of 1938.)

A speedwalking retreat -instead of a headlong panicked flight- is still a retreat.

The only ‘talk’ needed between us an Iran is:

-cut the terrorist support for the chaos in Iraq or face an evisceration of your nuke program.

Syria should be struck with several near-miss IED’s as Assad and his upper cabinet travel their favorite roads. As a hint of how easy it would be to trigger the devices properly next time.

All these dictatorial weasels care about is their own skin and power. Threaten that, and the rest will become easier to manage.

(Withdrawing troops from Iraq -as well as some from Afghanistan-…and moving them into the border regions of Iran, however, might make sense… once their nuclear infrastructure has been gutted. But I doubt Baker has that even as a sub-sub-option anywhere in his impending report.)

profitsbeard on November 30, 2006 at 12:46 PM

He took the job. He’s accepting a position which puts him in line to oversee the production of a document of recommendations which will end up being used as cover either by this president, this congress, or both, to justify a betrayal of national defense and of national defenders in the face of a mis-reported and politicized war.

But of course, his advice being “a betrayal of national defense” is your opinion. My opinion is that taking us into a war that had a very distinct possibility of ending as it is ending, and refusing against all evidence to acknowledge this, well it isn’t traitorous. It is stupid and wasteful and sorrowful.

honora on November 30, 2006 at 1:02 PM

“That’s not a war plan, it’s a deal.”

The “deal” they want to broker is the ulitmate defeat of the United States in the GWOT. That’s the treason here.

georgej on November 30, 2006 at 1:04 PM

Isn’t that what we’re already doing, lettin’ Iraqi units take over section by section? Wow, it’s a good thing we have this I.S.G. to tell us what to do.

Tony737 on November 30, 2006 at 1:27 PM

The Commission should be renamed THE NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN COMMISSION.

pocomoco on November 30, 2006 at 2:47 PM

But of course, his advice being “a betrayal of national defense” is your opinion.

…well, this *IS* the blogosphere. It’s *ALL* opinion.

Until it comes to pass, and we can pick through it after the fact, it’s all opinion of greater or lesser value. We can assess value once we can review things afterwards and find out how close those opinions were.

My opinion is that taking us into a war that had a very distinct possibility of ending as it is ending, and refusing against all evidence to acknowledge this, well it isn’t traitorous. It is stupid and wasteful and sorrowful. — honora

…one semantic point, but a *VERY* important one: there’s a lot of talk today about “ENDING” the war. Wars aren’t “ended”. They’re either won or they’re lost, and there are consequences either way. Wars aren’t arguments. They have an actual, physical presence in the world.

Nobody predicted the way this war would proceed with any accuracy. There were a lot of SWAGs (scientific wild-ass guess) prior, the ones on the edges of *BOTH* points of view — bomb ‘em back to the Stone Age and it’s twin America is exporting terrorism — being more wishful thinking than prediction.

I don’t think that Roosevelt *KNEW* how his war would go when he stood before congress on 8 December 1941. He and his government — and the rest of the nation — focused their efforts to do all they could to ensure that the outcome they though best would come about. There was no talk in 1944 — which were pretty dark days, actually — of “ending” that war.

The war today is a bit more complicated than Mr. Roosevelt’s war inasmuch as the enemy today is a lot more unpredictable and very much more numerous, and the war’s being waged in the second level of a house of cards…the ummah of Islam, so called. Throw too wide a punch and you have to deal with tens of millions of pissed of Indonesians, or you lose bases in Pakistan, or the double-dealing Saudis feel safe to come out of the closet and spend money like drunken sailors trying to kill you.

This war was *ALWAYS* a risk. The UN — charged with just this sort of international diplomacy between competing interests, especially regional ones — was brought in, and we now know that the UN was as dirty as a chimneysweep with money from our opponents, as were 2/3rds of the Security Council.

It looks as if it was rushed into, especially when you look at the whole “can’t transit through Turkey” thing and its effect on opperations, but the guys on the ground — the lieutenant colonels and gunnery sergeants/sergeants first class, the company and platoon and troop and wing commanders and their subordinate leaders — moved and grooved and adapted, and I can’t see how, even with the screw-ups which accompany war, this could’ve gone any better or have cost any less.

That said, somebody — you, Honie? — is going to pipe up with the boilerplate about not seeing the insurgency coming, the tribalism and its effects, and that sort of rot. These factors were key in keeping the military under Schwarzkopf and Powell — turning out to be a black hat in this business — and the Elder Mr. Bush from going “on to Baghdad” in ’91. This wasn’t a surprise, and it’s been handled about as well as this sort of thing can be, especially considering that these murderous bastards are operating in a fluid social environment peopled with tribal folks of slippery allegiances.

Finally, the options were clear in 2003. We could’ve left Saddam in charge, feeding, transiting and giving aid and comfort to guys like Abu Nidal and Ansar al-Islam. We were serious about stemming the tide of terrorism, so the decision was made to go in. Once engaged, things went amazingly well, despite the apparent chaos which is war.

Attendant on all of this has been a *LARGE* and vocal and increasingly organized faction in our nation who would’ve opposed Mr. Bush going into Hitler’s Berlin to rescue prisoners from Auschwitz with the promise of a cure for cancer as a bonus. That group — MoveON, Soros, Moore, a great many folks in Congress including Pelosi, Murtha, Reid, Kerry, Kennedy and other unindicted co-conspirators, 90% of Hollywood, 99% of the popular music industry, most of establishment academia, and almost all of the establishment press — has been outing secrets, misrepresenting almost every action of our military, publishing enemy propaganda as fact, and in general been doing the work of our enemies.

So, when a major portion of the nation’s national life is opposed to *THIS* administration at an almost visceral level, the nation is already fighting with one hand behind its back…and we’re fighting an enemy that takes both hands, both eyes, both feet and most of our teeth to fight.

Roosevelt *NEVER* had to fight against his own nation when fighting the Nazis or the Japanese.

Finally (and, there actually are some “finallys” in my posts), anything that works towards “ending” this war — which I’ll join you in saying is “stupid and wasteful and sorrowful”, as *ALL* wars are — is treasonable. History, particularly of that region, teaches us that you either win the war or you’re only postponing your own ruin.

Your next post will probably say something like “define ‘winning’”, to which I’d say (as I’ve written here on HotAir several times): the enemy is too terrified to even *CONSIDER* using terror as a weapon. Their relatives, tribes and neighbors are all digging out, and are looking toward a less confrontational future, and the “fighters” themselves are reconsidering the promise of an eternal orgy in Paradise when death is the only thing guarenteed them.

I wish we weren’t in this war. In case I haven’t said it enough times before, my wife and I have four kids. The two eldest are boys. One is in the Army as a medic, the other is in the Marines as a rifleman. My wife is still serving, as well. “Stupid and wasteful and sorrowful” hits very close to home in this house.

I don’t want this war “ended” and my boys to have to face, in six months or a year’s time, a rested, reenergized, reequipped enemy with new recruits, freshly trained and infused with the notion that, if they only hold out long enough, they’ll win. They don’t want the war to end. They want to win…and the Left and many so-called political pragmatists (Powell? I’d say so.) on the Right will encourage them in that regard. You don’t even have to make it too costly for America to keep fighting for them to start talking about “ending the war”…you only have to fight long enough for them to lose interest.

It will be a *LOT* less “stupid and wasteful and sorrowful” in the short and long runs if this war is fought to win, not to end. That is because a war which concludes with clear advantage on one side puts back the start of the *NEXT* war until a generation is born which hasn’t had direct experience in such a war. Look back to the example I’ve been using: how eager are the Germans and Japanese of today to come out swinging?

“Stupid and wasteful and sorrowful” though this war may be, it has to be won…or those who will have “ended” it will have betrayed us. Betrayal = treason.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 3:15 PM

We need the Hot Air Commision on Iraq . I think we have a just as or maybe even better qualified group of people posting ot Hot Air as any big name Commission. We meet at Michelles Kitchen as in the videos and conductlive hearings on the net. (Hopefully cookies will be provided). My main point is what is that they do that a group of regular readers and posters to some of the blogs are less qualified to do, looking at the names on there besides Baker. We not taking any money from any foreign country, or necessrily high paid attorneys or lobbyists.

StuLongIsland on November 30, 2006 at 3:17 PM

(puritan)

“Wars aren’t “ended”. They’re either won or they’re lost, and there are consequences either way.”

Excellent point.

Can you say: North Korea???

pocomoco on November 30, 2006 at 4:02 PM

I don’t think that Roosevelt *KNEW* how his war would go when he stood before congress on 8 December 1941. He and his government — and the rest of the nation — focused their efforts to do all they could to ensure that the outcome they though best would come about. There was no talk in 1944 — which were pretty dark days, actually — of “ending” that war.

Wrong. He knew we would defeat the Axis or they would defeat us. We are at the point that we no longer know whow “they” are–the Sunnis? the Shiites? the Iranians?

He also, and here’s a novel idea, knew why we were going to war. This whole movable feast of rationales highlights how ill advised this whole adventure has been.

honora on November 30, 2006 at 4:26 PM

He also, and here’s a novel idea, knew why we were going to war. This whole movable feast of rationales highlights how ill advised this whole adventure has been.

honora on November 30, 2006 at 4:26 PM

I knew why we were going to war. The 13 UN resolutions knew why we were going to war. There was no fog about the situation, Saddam posed as clear and present threat to the nation.

He did not perpetrate 9/11. He did have ties to terrorists, we did find WMDs. Our initial mission succeeded, the removal of Saddam and the formation of an Iraqi government of the people, for the people.

“Mission(s) Accomplished”

Our last mission/goal is to be able to leave the country in a position to be able defend itself.

There is nothing unclear about this. There never was. Just because you deluded mind can’t remember the past five years doesn’t mean you can just change history to your liking.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on November 30, 2006 at 4:54 PM

Wrong. He knew we would defeat the Axis or they would defeat us. We are at the point that we no longer know whow “they” are–the Sunnis? the Shiites? the Iranians? — honora

…the short answer to the above question is: yes.

All of ‘em. That is because there are Sunnis, Shiites and Iranians there, on the ground (and, yes, Iranians are there, as they are in Lebanon) with weapons pointed at us.

It’s hard to keep track of the players in this one. A large part of the difficulty stems from the fact that the media — lazy, naive, nearly ideologically blinded — aren’t informing us. They’re too busy “changing the world” to do any of that “reportage” stuff.

“WE” may not have a clear idea of who the enemy is, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that the guys on the ground right now could tell you, down to a 10-digit grid coordinate.

Reread my earlier post about the administration being progressively hamstrung by an ambitious opposition. Then, read it again.

Yes, Mr. Roosevelt knew the criticality of his undertaking. This president does, as well. The problem is that at least half of Congress, most of the media, and so-called intellectuals abroad today don’t.

Puritan1648 on November 30, 2006 at 4:54 PM

I know this commission was “political” but even so I dont really understand it. The point was to study and come up with a better solution to win this thing. Arent there people like graduates from West Point or Annapolis on this thing or just “diplomats”? What kind of war plan in all of history is withdraw your forces and send in diplomats? Isnt that the definition of a defeat? Im not a military expert but my understanding is the way to win a war is bomb the enemy until they come to you wanting negotiations.

Resolute on November 30, 2006 at 10:30 PM