I don’t have much to add to what others have said in criticizing the Iraq Survey Group’s report. Much of my reaction can be summed up in short pithy words that I don’t ordinarily use. It’s a pile of this, it’s full of that, and the vaunted bipartisan Solons who met, achieved consensus and reported their solemn findings can do this or that to themselves.
But here’s a question: Since when did the United States or any country wage war by publishing its plans or suggested plans for all the world to see? Since when did the United States or any country let its enemies see internal deliberations and strategic pivots, and since when did we think our enemies shared our interests, either in one war theater or on a more broad strategic plane? Since when did we wage war by a geriatric committee of has-beens and shady Washington insiders? Since when has there been anything to talk about with the world’s two worst remaining terrorist states?
To me, the ISG report represents the end of the sole-superpower world. We’re not a superpower anymore, not if our so-called best and brightest think that this report represents anything useful, and not if we think it’s wise to put our war planning up to a body of old hands with no new ideas, and subject their findings to an international review.
I thought we voted against the international test when we rejected John Kerry? Guess not.
The ISG, with its “dialogue to consensus,” represents the worst about US policy deliberation and ultimately shows that we’re not serious about our own defense. It’s a dead end, and for the president to adopt its most ridiculous assumptions and vague suggestions means the end of his presidency, the end of the Bush Doctrine and the end of our pre-eminent place in the world.
We’re waging war in Iraq to defeat Islamic fascism, or Islamism or whatever -ism that our best and brightest can’t make themselves say today. You know, the people who attacked us on 9-11-01? Remember them? The best and brightest seem to have forgotten all that, and now want us to mitigate defeat in Iraq.
Well, how do you ask a man to be the last man to die so that we might mitigate defeat? You don’t. You honor his sacrifice by keeping your plans within your war council, by adjusting to the enemy’s strategies and turning his flaws against him, and using your strengths to win the war. Instead, we have let the enemy turn our worst flaws, our preening political class and our preening narcissism and our impatience and our gotcha politics, against us.
I’m sure the ISG avoided releasing their report today because they wanted to avoid associating their labors with the historic day of infamy. Well, they failed and have added to Dec 7 and 9-11 a third day of infamy, Dec 6, 2006. It’s the day America’s best and brightest failed our troops and our people. Of the three, yesterday may end up being the most significant over the longest slice of time. Our best and brightest gave our enemies present and future a reason to cheer, and to fight on against us. They know they can wear us down.
To me, there’s only one policy to pursue when you’re at war: victory. The ISG report should have contained some element of this:
You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs – Victory in spite of all terrors – Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.
But it didn’t. The ISG report only used the word “victory” in the context of handing one to al Qaeda. And in its spirit, that’s what the ISG report has done.