After hearing James Baker and Lee Hamilton being interviewed by Brit Hume, I'm impressed that they're way
over the hill.
First, the conclusion that Bush's policies in Iraq have all failed baffles me. It seems to me that a lot of Shiites there think they have made great progress and would ask that they be continued. One post from Sgt. T. F. Boggs
has more authority that the panel and most of its witnesses:
What the group desperately needed was at least one their members to have been in the military and had recent experience in Iraq. The problem with having an entire panel with no one under the age of 67 is that none of them could possibly know what the situation is actually like on the ground in Iraq. Now I concede that it is possible to have a good understanding of things as they stand in Iraq but unless you interact with the people of Iraq and spend a year or years of your life on ground you cannot possibly have a complete picture of the situation.
We cannot appease our enemies and we cannot continue to cut and run when the going gets tough. As it stands in the world right now our enemies view America as a country full of queasy people who are inclined to cut and run when things take a turn for the worse.
That bit of common sense costs us nothing.
Second, Baker's belief that we can flip Syria is goofy. The main recommendation of stepping up training and beginning to draw down troop strength is fine by me, if the generals there agree. But I'm alarmed by the idea that Iraq's neighbors should be invited to move in. Iraq should be able to govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself, but that won't happen if we invite the Saudis, Syria and Iran to participate. I haven't hear one American leader mention the struggle to dominate Islam, which I think is more ominous and a greater concern for Iraq's Shia population than almost anything else.
Another thing I haven't heard is the effect of a pull out and hand off on America's "ability to influence events." If we leave because of the discontent the Democrats, the media and the insurgents have been able to spread here at home, which is what this report is all about, there will be no reason for anybody anywhere to give hoot what we think about anything in the future. We might as well just withdraw our troops from around the world and see what happens. That's all that the Democrats' approach to foreign policy amounts to, and it's nothing more than pushing our problem into the future for some other generation to deal with, in the hope that the U.N. will do what nobody has the stomach to do. JFK would be switching parties.
We are not losing this war. We're allowing our pitiful understanding of history to deplete our resolve to fight it, which is much more shameful.