There's a lot of silly posturing and illogical punditing in Charles Krauthammer's piece today, "What did the Iraq Study Group tell us?" There's nothing new in his doing that.
There's also nothing new in his acting as if he is considering all aspects of a situation, but not really doing so.
He writes that there is a "certain conventional wisdom that the war is already lost. And if that were true, we should indeed be retreating." But Krauthammer never actually addresses the point. Is the war lost? If not, he must provide some argument or evidence to support his position. But in his arrogance, he feels no need to respond. By his dismissive suggestion that it's "conventional wisdom," he thinks he's dismissed the argument. But it's not the same.
Similarly, he asks: if Israel were to disappear tomorrow, "Does anyone imagine... that al-Qaeda stops killing Americans?" By demonstrating his disdain, he believes he has answered the question. In fact most Americans know that if Israel did not exist, and no U.S. bases were in Arab countries, Osama bin-Laden would not have led attacks on the U.S. This is not to say that we should close all of our bases or stop supporting Israel. It is to point out the dishonesty of Krauthammer's arguments.
By lying about al-Qaeda, he also makes it clear that fighting terrorism is not what this war is about. In fact, almost no reasonable person believes that there can be long term peace in middle east without resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Krauthammer is wonderfully dismissive of the ISG members - a reminder that when push comes to shove, loyalty is a one-way street to the Bushies. A recommendation by James Baker is responded to with some nasty sarcasm
"On the basis of what grand unifying vision? On the authority of what superior wisdom? A10-person commission including such Middle East experts as Sandra Day O'Connor, Alan Simpson, and Vernon Jordan?"
Krauthammer himself is an authority on lots and lots of subjects. (North Korea, Steroids,
Immigration Policy, Failings of our Judicial System, Education and Evolution, History, and of course Polygamy, among others)
And even though Condi Rice had absolutely no Middle East experience when she decided that "Osama determined to Strike in the U.S.' was "historical," I never heard Krauthammer complain about her qualifications.
Krauthammer seeks to make a mockery of the commission's report, calling it a "widely-agreed-upon farce" which "has invited ridicule. Seventy nine- recommendations" echoing his earlier crack that it's a "mishmash of 79 (no less) recommendations." The truth is that if this administration itself were not such an incompetent "widely-agreed-upon farce", 79 recommendations would not have been required. It's as if team W had asked MapQuest for directions from the White House to the Capitol, and MapQuest, knowing who was asking, felt the need to begin it's instructions:
- Open Car Door
- Get Into Car
- Insert Key into Ignition
- Check position of mirrors
- Check to see if Safety Brake is engaged
Clearly, and correctly, the ISG had no faith in the Bush Administration. Read the report. Some of the recommendations include:
- That the U.S. stop it's "systematic" underrreporting of "the violence in Iraq in order to suit the Bush administration's policy goals."
- "The panel pointed to
one day last July when
U.S.officials reported 93 attacks or significant acts of violence. "Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence," it said.
- "The panel pointed to one day last July when
- "RECOMMENDATION 49: The administration, in full
consultation with the relevant committees of Congress, should assess the full
future budgetary impact of the war in
Iraqand its potential impact on the future readiness of the force, etc etc
Metering should be implemented at both ends of the supply line. This step would immediately improve accountability in the oil sector.
A Final Question: If a committee chaired by a longtime friend of the Bush family feels the need to recommend that the adminstration stop lying, start figuirng out the cost of the war, and install some oil meters, which is the "farce?" the adminisitration or the Iraq Study Group?
Hint: you might see if you find any farce in George Bush's leaving the White House to visit Condi at State AND leaving it to visit his boys in the Pentagon - you see, W is seriously reconsidering changing his policy