Thursday, December 07, 2006

Iraq Report: Spanking "The Decider"

The Iraq Study Group report takes Bush and his gang to the woodshed.

Drop your drawers fellas. Daddy’s got the oak switch and he’s ready to tan some hides!

The ISG repudiates the neo-cons and Bush’s diplomatic and military policy in the Middle East. From the excerpts and summaries, looks like they systematically demonstrate the kind of unrealistic thinking and incompetence that produced the really nasty scenario in Iraq.

Surprise, surprise. :^)

The folks on the panel aren’t exactly Daily Kos or Mother Jones style radicals. Not when guys like Ed Meese and Alan Simpson are doin’ the spankin’. Yet they ended up describing the situation in Iraq in almost the same terms as the most strident opponents of the war have been doing for a few years.

I know the kinds of folks who read P&P will look at the report excerpts and summaries, so I won’t go into details on their description of a war that the report says could cost the US 2 trillion dollars.

I was struck by two items, though, that I thought sort of summarized the whole Iraq fiasco and the Bush presidency in general:

• Only 6 people in the 1000 person US Embassy in Baghdad can speak Arabic fluently

• The ISG recounted how the military counted 93 acts of violence on a particular day in July. The group re-examined the data and found that 1100 acts of violence had actually been committed that day.

They summarized Bush’s approach by dryly noting that “Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes discrepancy with policy goals.”

Two quick summary comments:

• Not sure how you can look at a report like this and still think Condi Rice has been a competent public servant as NSA and Secretary of State.

• In some polls, President Bush is still pulling down popularity ratings as high as 39%. My only question is, “who are these people?” Can’t be the Religious Right cuz only folks smoking substances could approve of the President at this juncture :^) So the mystery remains....


Blogger Lexie said...

Hi Tom I checked your blog cause i thought you'd have some things to say about the Iraq report! i guess my question with this now is: what IS a just response. ?

i went to hear John Edwards speak on Monday and I wish that he would have touched more on both Iraq and immigration-- I think these are the two most confusing issues right now... and we can talk forever about what we've done wrong, but what IS the right answer? People in the crowd on Monday didn't ask... i think because they didn't know.

It's comforting to hear politicians speak about issues when you know you'll heartily agree with their stance...(for bush fans, maybe abortion) and comforting to skirt issues where neither you nor they know where to stand.

from, Lexie in Claremont

PS Yeah Bruins! !!

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the 6 people who actually spoke Arabic, Harper's Magazine did an investigative piece some time back on the numbers of people in the military who have been kicked out for being gay - I wish I still had the article - but the upshot was that one of the interesting things they discovered was that of the gay people forced out, a high percentage of them had foreign-language skills - many of them in Arabic. Priorities.....

6:02 PM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

Good to hear from you Lexie.

Yes, the key is what to do now. But sometimes you can't go forward until you recognize where you got off track.

Re immigration, I'm with Bush. He recognizes that a wall across the Mexican border isn't going to work. But politically you've got to satisfy the nativists and conservatives who like walls and boundaries. It's comfort food for a lot of people. I think the best and most realistic outcome will be a program to make the people already here into citizens, a guest worker program for the people headed here, and a wink wink nudge nudge effort to build a wall that probably won't be built.

Re Iraq, I think we're talking about a way to withdraw and recognize defeat without having to admit that we're doing either. The Iraq study report, for all its realism, bases its hopes on the idea that the US military can somehow prepare the Iraqi army and police force to control the country if we just convert our forces into trainers and advisors. I hope that approach works. Don't see much evidence that it will.

Sometimes you take risks with good intentions but end up making things worse because of your own unacknowledged weaknesses. That's life.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Lexie said...

yeah that's actually the one issue i've been with bush on too, and maybe the one where being from texas really helps his perspective :-) Also with Iraq, if we end up taking the suggestions, maybe with a truly multinational peacekeeping force including the other Middle-Eastern nations outlined in the report we can make some head-way. We've just so obviously failed at this alone and i just wonder if we really have the humility to devote a ton of resources to an effort in which we'd take a back-seat. my guess is no, that we'll gradually cut off our resources (which i don't think has as much leverage in a chaotic gvmt) no matter what and chaos will continue. :-P

12:51 PM  
Blogger Samer Farhat said...

'My only question is, “who are these people?”'

That's exactly what I was yelling at the TV while we were watching the news the other night.

6:00 PM  

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