Wednesday, June 06, 2007

GOP Resurrects Baker/Hamilton

The Baker Hamilton Iraq Study Group findings were released to the public on 12/06/06. The findings of the commission were widely anticipated and seen as providing an opportunity for the Bush administration to start an end game with the occupation of Iraq. The President and administration have explicitly rejected the findings of the ISG on several occassions, most notably when talking about "victory" in Iraq, which the ISG specifically says is no longer possible, and when rejecting robust diplomacy with Syria and Iran. Another notable rejection of the ISG findings by the administration is that the report calls for most troops to be pulled out of Iraq by early 2008.

Today brings news that a bipartisan group of Senators is moving forward a plan to make the findings of the Iraq Study Group official U.S. policy. A bipartisan plan following the same guidelines has already been introduced on the House side.

According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website 585 Americans have been killed in Iraq since the presentation of the Iraq Study Groups findings in December of 06.

Now I don't pretend that American casualties will drop to zero the very day that the policy changes to comport to the ISG findings. But the day we shift the policy brings us closer to the day that we bring this debacle to a close.

Frankly, I think the 585 dead Americans since Dec. 6 have been slaughtered on the alter of Bush's ego. He could not bring himself to accept the ISG because that meant not being able to talk about military victory. It meant a refutation of the Presidents bone headed policies in this war.

Accepting the ISG means that Harry Reid's statement that the war is already lost, which drew so much flack and still has Democrats in the Senate running for cover, and is essentially the view of the Iraq Study Group, is correct. Admitting that is simply impossible for this President and his koolaid drinking diehard supporters. Yet if there can be no victory, by definition, we are just extending a losing effort until we have had enough and end the occupation. This nation never went to Iraq with the notion that we would be there for years, let alone decades, fighting a bloody insurrection with no prospect for victory... slowly bleeding American lives and treasure in perpetuity. The sooner we accept the inevitable, the sooner we can bring an end to this disaster, and the ISG findings start us on that path.

I hear talking heads demand a plan to deal with the bloody aftermath if we pull out or pull back. Frankly the plan is to acknowledge the forces we have unleashed and prepare this nation for the consequences. WHEN we leave, there will be catacalysm and death on a biblical scale left in our wake. We have a choice. Leave asap, and watch a horrible aftermath work itself out. Or drag out the occupation with the dead Americans and drained treasury for another year, decade, or century, and then leave and watch a horrible aftermath work itself out.

Our planning should consist of leaving a force in the region (Kuwait works) that can respond to possible terror training camps that may take root in our absence from over the horizon. And we should consider right now a plan to pay reparations to the survivors after the catacalysm we leave behind sorts itself out.

Yes, I hate the fact that it has come to this. Disastrous leadership will have led America to unleash genocidal ruination as a consequence of wrong headed policy. But I am unwilling to simply drag out the inevitable at the cost of more blood and treasure when the outcome will remain the same regardless of how long the occupation drags on.

So lets get this over with, take our lumps, and hope the end of the debacle comes sooner rather than later. Accepting the ISG report is a good first step.

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