a taylorist gets his wings...,
| Main |
If I were near Berkeley, there...,
The Way Bogward:
after 9 months of "study" those heroic saviors of America, The Iraq Study Group, have finally published their final report, titled "The Way Forward". Internally and off the record, contributors added, "To Thrash In Quicksand":
Although the study group will present its plan as a much-needed course change in Iraq, many of its own advisers concluded during its deliberations that the war is essentially already lost, according to private correspondence obtained yesterday and interviews with participants.
As Spencer Ackerman reminds us US deaths in the Iraq war surpassed the toll of 9/11 just before its 5th anniversary. This report isn't going to bring the rest home safely. Sawicky put it well enough: the only point of the ISG is
to defend the boundaries of elite discourse on national security. Put another way, to avoid embarrassment. Unserious extremists (not "passion and a point of view") like 56% or more of the public, nevermind far vaster majorities in Iraq, need to be shut out of the conversation, lest they force their unaccountable leaders to act rationally for a change.
Furthermore the final report - which promised to consider "all options" - doesn't acknowledge serious proposals that have been laid out on the table from numerous corners. As expected, because we don't live in the kind of fantasy world where publically announced goals are actual policies generous withdrawals are never considered. The word "withdraw" itself is only used 5 times in this 34,000 word document.
Rather than having "considered a full range of approaches"
they self-righteously pull out a stingy strawman and use its supposed selfishness as a whipping boy for the usual - by now perfectly batshit insane - fantasies about how our mere presence magically prevents something even worse from happening:
Because of the importance of Iraq, the potential for catastro-
phe, and the role and commitments of the United States in ini-
tiating events that have led to the current situation, we believe
it would be wrong for the United States to abandon the country
through a precipitate withdrawal of troops and support. A pre-
mature American departure from Iraq would almost certainly
produce greater sectarian violence and further deterioration of
conditions, leading to a number of the adverse consequences
outlined above. The near-term results would be a signiﬁcant
power vacuum, greater human suffering, regional destabilization,
and a threat to the global economy. Al Qaeda would depict our
withdrawal as a historic victory. If we leave and Iraq descends
into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually re-
quire the United States to return.
All of these things have already long since come to pass, so even with this dumb combination of both troop withdrawal and cutting support in a "precipitous", unnegotiated fashion, the only question to ask is, "OK then, tell me why we shouldn't just do it".
"There is no path that can guarantee success" they say, but they discard the way forward where US troops stop being maimed and killed and we save trillions of dollars, casually excluding the one set of options with guaranteed positive outcomes in a war they believe is already lost.
But for the real "I can't believe it took you 9 months to produce this":
If [our plans] are effectively implemented, and if the Iraqi government
moves forward with national reconciliation, Iraqis will have an
opportunity for a better future, terrorism will be dealt a blow,
stability will be enhanced in an important part of the world, and
America’s credibility, interests, and values will be protected.
Emphasis ours. Any realistic, serious proposal for Iraq requires a strategy that even George W. Bush can't fuck to high heaven. Their plan, as they repeatedly point out, is so frought with diplomacy, coordination, and contingency that it's just begging to be raped.
9 months for this staggeringly cynical nonsense.