Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 8:34 am

The blue blooded “wise men” have spoken.

The Iraq Study Group has dumped their report on the American people and surprisingly, there seems to be a somewhat unanimous feeling about what our foreign policy elites labored to produce; it sucks.

The right hates it because “victory” isn’t mentioned. And because the group gave an honest assessment of what was actually happening in Iraq. And because they want the United States to talk to Syrian cutthroats and Iranian fanatics. And because it calls the President’s policy a failure. And because James Baker is a poopie head.

Taking these bullet points one at a time:

1. Since the world, the media, and the left have already decided we’ve “lost” in Iraq there is no sense in working toward something that doesn’t exist.

2. The ISG assessment of what is happening on the ground, in the councils of government, and in the streets is, by my reading, not scary enough. Very little about the Shia v Shia battle being fought in the south between Sadrites and the Badr Brigades (where the two sides ignore the government in Baghdad and have set up their own Islamic courts and police forces). Nothing on Shia incursions into Kurdish oil areas in the north that has resulted in violent confrontations. In fact, no word on the PKK, the Kurdish terrorist group, and their influence on the the Peshmerga or the Kurdish government and how that spells trouble for NATO ally Turkey.

3. The ISG recommendation that we talk to Syria and Iran is probably a non-starter as far as bi-lateral exchanges go. But in a regional framework, it might just work. I will say to my friends on the right that we desperately need the help of Sunni Arabs in Saudi Arabia as well as the political muscle of Jordan and Egypt if we are going to get a handle on both the insurgency and the sectarian violence. And in any regional context, you simply cannot ignore the Iranians and the Syrians. Such a conference would not be rewarding them for anything and may lead to their helping us.

Why? The one thing that neither Syria nor Iran wants is a failed state on their borders. Syria is already bursting at the seams with Iraqi refugees, straining their ability to take care of them and/or integrate them into Syrian society. Something similar could befall Iran if all hell breaks loose in Iraq as Shias stream toward the only bordering state with a majority Shia population. In short, it is in the national interest of Syria and Iran to help tamp down the violence and prop up the Iraqi government if we make it clear that we’re leaving.

How they would exercise their influence after that would be beyond our control anyway so why worry about it?

4. The President’s policy is not working and hence, is a failure. This is one of those self-evident pronouncements from the ISG that they shouldn’t have had to put in there but were forced to because of the extraordinary myopia of some of my righty friends. Let’s give it the Reagan test, shall we?

* Are Iraqis better off today than they were two years ago?

* Is it easier for Iraqis to go and buy things in the stores than it was two years ago?

* Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was two years ago?

* Do you feel that Iraqi security is as safe as it was two years ago?

* Is America as respected in Iraq as it was two years ago?

With the possible exception of a marginally smaller unemployment rate (it’s tough to get much worse than the estimated 50% unemployment rate from 2004) every Reagan inspired benchmark trends downward. Bush’s plan is an utter and complete failure. Eleven million people voted for a government whose writ does not run much beyond Baghdad; a government people do not trust to protect them and a government that has proven itself weak, corrupt, divided, and unable to stem the vicious sectarian violence that kills 200 people a day.

These are not the conclusions of the media or left wing loons. Most of these conclusions come from our own military and State Department, from people whose job it is to give policy makers honest assessments of what is going on. I feel ridiculous having to say these things because this information is out there for anyone who is truly interested in finding out what is happening in Iraq. And at the moment, this idiotic denial of reality on the part of many on the right is not only getting on my nerves but making them part of the problem - as much as the idiot lefties who only want to get out of Iraq regardless of the consequences.

5. Yes. It’s true. James Baker is a poopie head.

Only Baker could propose a regional conference of all the “important” countries in the Middle East and not include Israel. Only Baker could advocate putting pressure on Israel to commit suicide by returning the Golan Heights to their mortal enemy Syria. Only Baker could advocate a “right of return” for Palestinians (whose “return” would displace Israeli citizens who have lived on that land for nearly 60 years). And only Baker could advocate a peace between Israel and the Hamas terrorists that contracts the Jewish state to its 1967 borders.

On the left, they hate the ISG report because they see it as a gigantic conspiracy to deny them the fruits of their electoral victory. And because it doesn’t advocate an immediate withdrawal of forces. And because the word “defeat” isn’t found anywhere in the report. And because it isn’t hard enough on Bush. And because Bush will ignore recommendations that they disagree with too. And because James Baker works for the Bush family and is a poopie head.

Although much harder to come up with intelligent commentary given the material, here are a few thoughts on liberal “critiques” of the report.

1. The ISG’s mandate was to come up with recommendations on how to improve the situation in Iraq. They were not charged with validating leftist talking points about the war.

2. The consequences of an immediate withdrawal would be catastrophic . Even Democrats are coming around to that conclusion.

3. The word “defeat” is absent for the same reason that the word “victory” doesn’t appear. Politics. And the fact there are still options that would bring the United States something short of both “victory” but a long way from total defeat (if they work). If not, we may revisit this issue in a couple of years.

4. The report doesn’t blame Bush enough? I’ve seen this criticism on a couple of lefty websites and I’m puzzled by it. It reminds me of the criticism by the left about The Path to 9/11 where the Administration was rightly skewered for its handling of both the intelligence leading up to the tragedy as well as its handling of the attack while it was underway. But because the show dared to show some of the failings of the Clinton people, the entire project was condemned.

With the ISG report, it seems that because there wasn’t a picture of Bush with a dunce cap on his head on the cover, the left believes they went too easy on him. No accounting for taste. Or stupidity when it comes to our lefty friends.

5. The idea that the left is complaining that Bush will ignore the recommendations of the ISG - recommendations that they violently disagree with - is pretty amusing. The irony inherent in their criticism seems to escape them which isn’t surprising - the capability for introspection being necessary to appreciate this kind of an ironic juxtaposition is not present among most lefties.

6. Baker’s ties to Bush 41 (and the shadowy Carlysle Group) have brought out both the humor and paranoia of the left. They actually applaud most of Baker’s prescriptions for a general settlement between Hamas and the Jews since they would mean the almost certain destruction of Israel. And there have actually been some pretty funny allusions to Baker pulling “daddy boy’s” chestnuts out the fire. But the descent into paranoia about the all powerful Carlysle Group wanting to control the world gets to be a bit much, especially when you consider that our corporate masters have botched things royally.

And yes, The left agrees. James Baker is indeed a poopie head.

Those Americans in the middle seem to take the attitude that the ISG’s finished product has some good things and bad things but that most are disappointed. I mentioned the other day that Baker settled for a single when he might have tried for the home run. That seems to be the consensus among many Americans who view the group’s finished product as an interesting, yet fatally flawed document.

It’s not quite back to the drawing board on Iraq. But clearly we need a better “Way Forward” than that offered by the ISG.


  1. [...] Right Wing Nuthouse says the same thing.  It’s a stinker. [...]

    Pingback by The Coffeespy » The ISG, CYA, and Fruit Salad — 12/8/2006 @ 8:48 am

  2. Rick, that’s got to be the most balanced assessment of the ISG’s report I’ve read. Thanks.

    Comment by gregdn — 12/8/2006 @ 9:21 am

  3. Video: Analysis: Russert on Iraq report

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  4. Web Reconnaissance for 12/08/2006

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  5. Rick,

    In short, it is in the national interest of Syria and Iran to help tamp down the violence and prop up the Iraqi government if we make it clear that we’re leaving.

    Do you know something the rest of us don’t?

    In light of the evidence that the Iranians have done their damnedest to incite sectarian violence by arming militias and sending Hezbollah trainers and their own agents to Iraq, it’s more likley they’ll feed off the carcase of a dead nation rather than attempt to fill whatever vacuum appears if the US disengages.

    I’m aware this comment could very well elicit an acerbic reply, but I really don’t understand where you’re getting this idea from. We know the Iranians have been engaging the United States, Israel and other Western nations by terrorist proxy since the revolution. Iraq as a failed state would give Iran the same thing Iraq as a stable democracy would give the United States: a base from which to operate. Arguably, they already have one in Lebanon, but that’s small potatoes compared to being able to siphon off Iraq’s oil wealth and use it to expand terrorist operations.

    Again, Iraq as Afghanistan before 2001 provides Iran with the territory it needs to transform itself into the regional strongman. If one if it’s neighbors has a problem, all Iran will have to do is dispatch a bunch of terrorists to take care of it. Nothing like a few car bombs going off to advance your strategic interests.

    Comment by Sirius Familiaris — 12/8/2006 @ 12:22 pm

  6. No acerbic reply. Just reporting the fact that Iran is scared of a massive refugee crisis - as is Syria - if Iraq becomes another Somalia.

    And make no mistak the potential is there. The difference is that there are about 3 times more Iraqis than Somalians. With only 10% of Shias on the move that would mean about 1.5 million refugees pouring over their border.

    Iran also fears an independent Kurdish state given their own problems with the Kurds on their side of the border.

    And let’s differentiate here between talking to Syria and Iran in a regional context where other factors will be at play and bi-lateral talks which I oppose for the reasons that you cite.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 12/8/2006 @ 12:29 pm

  7. Rick - With all due respect, I couldn’t possibly disagree more. Where is God’s name do you get the idea that Iran “is scared of a massive refugee crisis”?
    Are you actually suggesting they want a stable and viable democratic Iraqi government on their border so they won’t have to have the Salvation Army come in and set up soup kitchens?
    Why have they been sending IED’s and training in how to use them into Iraq if not for the purpose of thwarting the establishment of a stable government?
    I would suggest to you that they fervently desire chaos in Iraq, refugees be damned. They want to expand their base and taking over Iraq after we tuck our tails and run is their dream scenario.
    You think Saudi Arabia is going to take them on? I don’t. If possible, they have even smaller cahones then we do.
    By the way, the Iranians have a perfect solution to any possible “refugee problem”. It’s one they’ve exercised frequently in the past. It’s called the muzzle of an AK-47. They don’t seem to be as concerned about the reaction of Katie Couric and the New York Times as we do.

    Comment by Keith Kunzler — 12/8/2006 @ 3:00 pm

  8. Rick

    A massive refugee crisis is of no concern to Iran or Syria. After an American withdrawl, they will deal ruthlessly and efficently with a “refugee” or anyone else who gives them any trouble. They will crush the problem with the use of massive and decisive military force. They will not worry about “collateral damage” the way Americans do. They will not do any soul searching over how many innocent bystanders they kill. They will act proactively to deal with any threat to their hegemony and it will be done with extreme force. In other words, they will do what the Americans should have done when they invaded Iraq. We should have commited overwhelming force and we should have used it decisively. We did not commit enough troops and the ones we commited have not been used decisively enough. The msm and their supporters assume the problem is we used to much force. They are incorrect. The problem is we did not use enough force.

    The enemy we face today is far more dangerous than the ones we faced during WWII. We should treat it as such. Anyone who thinks Iran or Syria will assist us in stabilizing Iraq because they are worried about a refugee crisis is deluding themsleves.

    The optimal solution to this threat to the survival of our civilization is to properly define the enemy. The enemy is not “terrorism” or “terror” as the President and others have defined it. Terrorism and terror are merely military methods and they are very effective ones. The actual enemy are those who operate in the name of Islam to try and conquer the world. Right now the primary countries are Iran and Syria. Also any country who aids and abets Iran and Syria will need to be considered an enemy. Instead of declaring war on “terrorism” war should be declared on Iran, Syria, any nation who conducts war against the US in the name of Islam, and any nation who assists those nations.

    After we have identified the enemy, the country should be placed on a war footing. This means we will need a draft. The US and its Western allies will probably need to place about 40,000,000 people under arms in order to win the war. Also, equipment, transport, and all other logistics that go with this large force wil be needed. The size and capabilities of the Air Force and the Navy will need to be enhanced significantly. The nuclear arsenal will need to be upgraded. In addition to this, our human intellegence will need to be improved significantly.

    Is this tough medicine? Absolutely!! Leaders should be frank enough to explain to the American people the nature and the magnitude of the threat. They should explain that, in the event of failure, the best that can result will be the US loses its place as one of the most influential countries on earth. Also, in the event of failure, the very survival of the US will be very precarious.

    Unfortunately we cannot implement the optimal solution right now. Even if we could, I seriously doubt many people would trust either President Bush or British Prime Minister Tony Blair to lead this effort.

    Since the politcal will to implement the optimal solution is non existant, policy makers must select poliies that have a chance to work. It seems to me that we should have no problem finding people within Iraq who are opposed to Iran and Al Qaeda. We should identify these groups and militias and work with them to contain and roll back the influence of Iran and Al Qaeda in Iraq. Part of the strategy used to win the Cold War was containment. Perhaps it can work here. In any event, Iran MUST be contained. America’s influence in the world and probably its very survival depends on containing Iran and its supporters. This policy is somehting we can probably do and if it is properly implemented it has a good chance to work.

    To any one who thinks Iran or Syria are going to help us with Iraq because they are worried about a refugee crisis or a failed state on their border, I would very respectfully say, “try again please.”

    If this post comes across as being a bit harsh or offensive, please accept my apologies. I simply could not think of another way to state the points. Hopefully with practice I can be more articulate.

    Comment by B.Poster — 12/8/2006 @ 7:18 pm

  9. I should clarify my previous post. The reason I think such a large number of troops from the US and its allies will be necessary to implement the optimal solution is becuase at some point Russia and China may enter the war. As it stands right now, they would not be on our side. The military capabilities need to be adequate to handle this, as well to provide security for the new ME governments.

    Comment by B.Poster — 12/8/2006 @ 9:07 pm

  10. * Are Iraqis better off today than they were two years ago?

    * Is it easier for Iraqis to go and buy things in the stores than it was two years ago?

    * Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was two years ago?

    * Do you feel that Iraqi security is as safe as it was two years ago?

    * Is America as respected in Iraq as it was two years ago?

    With the possible exception of a marginally smaller unemployment rate (it’s tough to get much worse than the estimated 50% unemployment rate from 2004) every Reagan inspired benchmark trends downward. Bush’s plan is an utter and complete failure.

    Okay, WTF?

    Try putting those benchmarks back THREE years, then see what you’ve got.

    Comment by RHJunior — 12/8/2006 @ 10:03 pm

  11. RGJunior

    You are quite right. The trends you mention are headed downward. If America is to have a constructive role in improving any of these things, we will need to be begin by establsihing a secure environment. This would have to begin with committing significantly more troops. We can do it, if we had the national will. The notion that we cannot do it is simply an excuese to not do something that is difficult. While our Iraq polices are a failure to date, this can be turned around. It will need the appropiate course corrections and the appropiate commitment on the part of the American government and the American people. Nations and people have faced tougher challenges in the past than America faces in Iraq and they managed to emerge victorious.


    I think your notion that the ISG report sucks is spot on. Our terrorist enemies are extrenely pleased with this report. The Kurds are unhappy with this report. The Kurds are our second most important ally in the Middle East. The terrorist pose the greatest threat to the US in the Middle East. Great nations and great civilations do not remain great for very long by trying to appease their enemies while simultaneously squeezing their friends.

    I think the most ridiculous suggestion of all is to have a regional conference and not even invite Israel, our most important ally. They seem to think that some how pressuring Israel to give up the Golan Heights will get Syria to help us. The bottom line is, to date, America has horribly botched its Iraq policy. Israel had no say in America’s decision to invade Iraq and Israel had no role in planning the invasion or its aftermath. It would be unethical to punish Israel for mistakes made by American leaders. To top this off, Syria is not even interested in helping us.

    A better message to send to Iran and Syria would be if you do not stop aiding and abetting the Iraqi “insurgency” you will receive the same treatment from the American military that was delivered to Dresden, Germany during WWII.

    Comment by B.Poster — 12/9/2006 @ 11:12 am

  12. Reactions to the Iraq Surrender Group

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