Thursday, December 07, 2006

ISG: Bringing back the Rope-a-dope

I remember an old joke about how an economist would advise a castaway on a deserted island to open a can of peas that had washed onto the beach. "Assume," he would say, "that you have a can opener."

This seems to be the approach of the Iraq Study Group. Are Syria and Iran destabilizing Iraq (the ISG acknowledges that they are)? The solution is for them to stop. Why will they stop? The ISG's answer is, literally, because they should. Is sectarian violence preventing the unification of Iraq? The ISG thinks that those responsible should cut it out or ... we'll leave. In other words, if you don't quit trying to throw me out the door, I'm walking.

It's solution is hard to distinguish from no solution. We should embed more troops with Iraqi units but not send in any more to replace them and to protect the trainers from the sectarian violence which the report acknowledges is currently out of control. We should set deadlines, but there is really nothing in its seventy-nine recommendations that makes it any more likely that they will be met.

John McCain is, I think, right is suggesting that the ISG recommendations would ensure defeat in Iraq. It may be that the ISG has adopted them because it cannot figure out a way to win. If there truly is no path to victory, then maybe Feingold and Murtha are right. We should simply cut and run.

Of course, what Feingold and Murtha will not admit (and the ISG, to its credit, does) is that this will lead to further chaos in the Middle East, bloodshed in Iraq and strengthen the Islamofascists (or, if you prefer, the "terrorists.")But if we're going to bug out, why not minimize American casualties by quitting sooner than later?

This is why the ISG report is likely to satisfy no one. It is an incoherent mash-up. Maybe it is right to surrender. Maybe it is right to press on and win. But it is certainly not right to cover up, take a few more rounds of beating (hoping, I suppose, that our opponent will see the error of his ways) and then throw in the towel.


Bob McCarty Writes said...

Stuff like the ISG is exactly what scared me enough to launch the Warning Labels On Politicians campaign.

Warning labels already appear on drugs, cigarettes, pesticides and other items that can negatively impact a person’s health and well-being. So why not require similar warnings on members of society who have proven themselves as dangerous – or more dangerous – than many items that already carry such labels – politicians!

Through the Warning Labels On Politicians effort, I'm calling on politicians from across the political spectrum to be “transparent” with voters and agree to display warning labels on all literature, signage and advertising related to their campaigns.

First on my list are two U.S. senators, Hillary Clinton of New York and John McCain of Arizona. I’m calling on Senators Clinton and McCain to serve as examples for politicians at all levels of government, since they are, after all, their party frontrunners for the White House in 2008.

If they want to be viewed as honest, upfront and transparent, politicians will agree to place warning labels on all materials related to their campaigns.

To date, warning labels have been prepared in advance for Clinton, McCain and a number of other politicians expected to launch 2008 White House bids.

The list of “labeled” politicians thusfar includes Democrats John Edwards, John Kerry, John Murtha, Barack Obama and Tom Vilsack as well as three other Republicans Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

Two others, though not expected to run for the White House, also earned warning-label recognition: Nancy Pelosi, the first female ever elected to serve as Speaker of the House; and Sen. Harry Reid, who will begin serving as Senate majority leader in January.

As additional candidates surface on the national stage, more warning labels will be created.

Note: Warning Labels On Politicians is not affiliated with any nonprofit organization or political action committee. Individuals interested in supporting this effort can sign an online petition at They can also purchase Warning Labels On Politicians merchandise at

Anonymous said...

Shark, you can rage against Feingold and Murtha all you like, but let's keep our eye on the real culprit here--that man you voted for twice and who got us into this mess.

His dad told him he couldn't see the exit strategy, and lo and behold, there is no exit strategy. There is no strategy to win, either, because you can't win this kind of war without the Iraqis. And they are a sorry excuse for a people.

As General Patton said, "Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser." Why do you elephant men tolerate this loser?