So here's a funny story. See, the Iraq Study Group walks into a bar...
Seriously, since the publication of the Baker-Hamilton report Wed., the Right Wing bloggersphere has been in a tizzy. And while I could be tempted to gloat, I really feel more anger than vindication.
There are few on the Right I can read on a regular basis, except Andrew Sullivan (R-coming around), and Rick Moran at the never ironic RightWingNuthouse. Rick, while having an always right, well, far-right of center point of view, still shows some reasoning capability. And he definitely not a complete GWBush suck-up and sycophant.
So here's Rick today on the ISG Report, with my running commentary:
The ISG gave us milquetoast when we needed red meat. Bush gives us platitudes and a maddening vagueness that indicates either he refuses to accept that the mission is in deep trouble or that he can’t decide what is the best of a lot of unpalatable options.
The Democrats appear split. Some want to be part of whatever solution we can come up with. Others not so much.
And the left? The netnuts don’t seem to be interested in anything except humiliating Bush and driving him from office. The idea that the Middle East just might blow up if we do as they suggest hasn’t seemed to penetrate their pointy little heads. If that would be the price of marching Bush off to the guillotine, so be it.
First, GWBush has never given you anything except "platitudes and a maddening vagueness". Why expect anything different now?
And what flavor of red meat would you like? Some al-Qaeda ribs? Some Iranian flank steak? Seriously, dude.
And the Dems are split: Some want to leave Iraq in 1 year, some in 2 years. As opposed to virtually the entire Right establishment in the country who wants a magical pony to appear and fix everything, so until then, it's "Stay the Course." Or something.
And I have exactly zero interest in humiliating GWBush. There's nothing I can do that would be any better than what he's already done to you, me, and the USofA. And no impeachment, please. No one capable of rational thought wants Cheney within pacemaker distance of the Oval Office.
And regarding the idea that the Middle East might blow up was something that many of us were concerned about prior to the Iraq Invasion. Sorry that you weren't.
Well, first the windup, now the pitch:
And for those who believe we’ve already “lost” and there is no hope of retrieving the situation, get out of the way because you refuse to be part of a solution. You are entitled to your opinion. But many millions who look at the same facts on the ground in Iraq as you disagree. We are not stupid. We are not blind. We are not Pollyannas. We don’t minimize the problems or understate the dangers. You only reveal yourself to be a shallow thinker if you can’t see that there are, in fact, avenues to success in Iraq that would allow us to leave behind a relatively stable society not run by terrorists. How to traverse those avenues is the problem, not that the all avenues have been closed off. Yes we agree that this is not the dream of the “neo-cons” or Bush, that Iraq will not be as free as we like or as peaceful as it eventually will be. But if we’re talking about the art of the possible here then what we should be seeking with our exit is basically to avoid catastrophe. And almost everyone agrees that this can be done.
"We don’t minimize the problems or understate the dangers."
Perhaps not now, but back in '03, when the Grand Adventure was being pimped? Dude, it's be a cakewalk. You said so.
"there are, in fact, avenues to success in Iraq that would allow us to leave behind a relatively stable society not run by terrorists".
Right. Sad that Dr. Rice, the ISG, bunches of Generals, and hundreds of pundits and party bureaucrats haven't quite figured out how that works. Enlighten me, oh wise one:
"How to traverse those avenues is the problem, not that the all avenues have been closed off."
Too bad no one has done any thinking on this up 'til now. I'm thinking, how about magical unicorns? They can usually traverse avenues...I'm just saying.
"But if we’re talking about the art of the possible here then what we should be seeking with our exit is basically to avoid catastrophe. And almost everyone agrees that this can be done."
No, that's you, William Krystal, and six other guys at the Young Republicans frat house who think so.
But Rick continues:
The netnuts are making this argument, although why they seem so eager to embrace defeat makes one question their sanity when you realize who then correspondingly would be victorious. Iran and al-Qaeda stand to be the biggest winners. And by gladly handing them the winner’s cup before the race is completely over is nuts.
Goddamit, this really pisses me off. First, we (sane people who actually thought about, you know, consequences of actions) warned that exactly this would happen. So don't turn the desire to stop American deaths into 'defeat'. How freaking dare you!
Of course Al-Qaeda and Iran would be winners in this scenario. There was no other outcome possible! And we don't necessarily have to hand them the winner's cup, we can actually negotiate with them, with Syria, with Lebanon, and the puppet government in Iraq.
And lest you forget, the Iraqi people, in an inconvenient act of, you know, democracy, refused to have anything to do with our hand-picked leader Ahmed Chalabi, being able to see through his slimy reputation and American support. Did you actually think they would accept this international con man?
There is still time to thwart some of what Iran hopes to gain with our hasty exit from Iraq. And there is still time to kill a lot of al-Qaeda terrorists, thus preventing them from realizing their plan to use Iraq as a base to strike western targets around the world. But what do we have to do in order for these goals – less than total victory but still very desirable outcomes – to be achieved?I think the first thing we have to do is pretty obvious; don’t give up.
OK. Well, let's go to the table with Iran, something that should have happened back in, oh, say, 1980. Instead of sending Ollie North with gift baskets full of missiles after they thumbed their noses at us with the hostage deal, we should have had a 'come to Jesus' meeting with them. But no, we don't deal with terrorists, do we? Except when, you know...
And yes, I suppose it's easier now that al-Qaeda has a foothold in Iraq, to go after them. After all, it was so inconvenient to chase Bin Laden in Afghanistan after 9/11, wasn't it?
And Rick, my man? After the first thing, you should suggest a 2nd or 3rd thing. Besides, 'clapping louder'.
Iran is supporting the Shi'ites. Saudi Arabia (our close friend, and sponsor of the 9/11 hijackers) is supporting the Sunni insurgents. And the Kurds are staying put in Kurdistan. What do we do about that?
Me, I'm for spilling no more American blood for the glory of GWBush's Excellent Adventure:
But Rick, your commenter Steven Donegal really said it best:
Your post seems to exemplify the problem everyone has with the situation in Iraq. You write a very long and well written post about Iraq and say:
“I think the first thing we have to do is pretty obvious; don’t give up.”
Unfortunately, your post does not contain a second thing or a third thing. It is fine to argue that some form of success in Iraq is essential for the US. It would be nice, however, to articulate a way to get there from here. This is all reminiscent of a Far Side cartoon:
Step 1. Invade Iraq
Step 2. then a miracle occurs
Step 3. Stable Iraqi democratic government
As the Far Side caption said, I think you need a little more explanation in Step 2.
Damn. I wish I had said that.