Friday, December 08, 2006

The Iraq Study Group Report: The Big 3

I've seen enough. This is mandatory reading for the American people because it is primarily addressed to us.

Basically, this is a Shoulda Woulda Coulda indictment on American foreign policy in the Middle East during Bush and Cheney's 'watch' (for lack of a better word). This is a description of their crime scene. Their criminal indictment will have to wait a while longer.

The New York Times says that ISG member Sandra Day O’Connor served as an exacting editor and insisted that the report be written and organized so that it could be readily understood by people who are not foreign policy wonks or pundits. I think we should all embrace this Report as a document addressed to us, the American people.

It is neither a complete nor a compleat statement on Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

It is a list of set of policies needed for moving forward to reduce further damage to ourselves, the Iraqi people, and to the critical area of the Middle East - with no guarantee that, in these circumstances, that they will be sufficient or timely. Co-chairs, Baker and Hamilton caution that Bush and Cheney have weeks, not months, and maybe days” to move to halt the deterioration in Iraq. And that "people talking about very elongated time frames" for developing a new strategy will not serve America well because the moment for effective action already may have passed. In this context, I feel that it's critical that my fellow Americans pay special attention to three basic admonitions.
  • The ISG Report is not a 'fruit salad' to be cherry-picked:
. . . . altogether in this report we make 79 recommendations. In addition to military, political and diplomatic recommendations, which . . . are equally important and reinforce each other . . . It’s a comprehensive strategy designed to deal with the problems in Iraq, but also to deal with other problems in the region. These are interdependent recommendations.
  • And, time's running out:
Events in Iraq could overtake what we recommend. And for that reason, we believe that decisions should be made by our national leaders with some urgency.
  • And a social contract between Americans is recoverable:
We believe that a constructive solution requires that a new political consensus be built, a new consensus here at home . . . We also hope that our report will help bridge the divide in this country on the Iraq war and will at least be a beginning of a consensus here. Because without that consensus in the country, we do not think ultimately you can succeed in Iraq.
I have reservations. You have reservations. But you and I could come together if Bush and Cheney would only eat their fruit salad in total. If they refuse, then they should be made to eat their vanity war before they are excused from the table. Progressives should demand that Bush and Cheney should be excused from the White House by November 2008, or our troops are excused from Iraq by the same date.

In the meantime, I have ordered my copy of The Way Forward - A New Approach. I plan to read it. But more important than that: I plan to carry it around with me as I go shopping, to work, to walk my dog, to wait in the doctor's office. I intend it to become my own personal bumpersticker. Wherever I am, it will say to everyone who notices,
I have a stake in my country's struggles. I am not a consumer. I am not a spectator. I will fight for my country, in the streets if need be.
Because I believe if the 110th Congress cannot secure the return of our troops, the American people must.