Friday, December 08, 2006

Iraq Study Group Surrender Monkeys

Funny how the news has pushed the extreme views for the report to the front. The voices calling for complete implementation of the report charged into the press along side those calling Baker and Hamilton "Surrender Monkeys." Here's Baker's reponse in the Washington Times.
Beneath that wartime headline are two shaggy crouched monkeys with the faces of Mr. Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton.

"Lovely," he said as he took the paper in his hands and reviewed it closely.

"If we're getting attacked by this rag, you know we're doing something right," he said.
In any case, the title linked article discusses the Senate's hearing with testimony from Baker and Hamilton.
Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said he plans to hold a series of hearings on Iraq soon after becoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee next month when Democrats take control of Congress, and he said he is prepared to use subpoenas to get relevant documents from the Pentagon.
Wonderful. Levin is already starting the investigations. Wonder how far he'll push this? Investigate and detail all the mistakes no doubt, and publish them for political purposes. I'd give him more credit for trying to help in making the military better, but he's a politician, and that would only be a tertiary result.
Democrats were guarded in their treatment of the report, especially its call for engaging Syria and Iran in diplomacy. In comments after a hearing yesterday with the co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, Levin suggested that "there could be some kind of effort to generally support the recommendations."

But Republicans and Democrats alike on the Senate Armed Services panel quizzed former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) about specifics. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was the most dubious, singling out the group's decision not to call for sending more troops to Iraq. "I believe that this is a recipe that will lead to, sooner or later, our defeat in Iraq," he said.

Another leading presidential aspirant, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), was more receptive but expressed doubt that President Bush would act on the report. "We've now heard from the Iraq Study Group, but we need the White House to become the Iraq Results Group," she said. "That is very frustrating for some of us. We don't understand the misjudgments and missteps that have been taken in the last years."
There are two surprises to know one. McCain whining about not getting his way on rushing in 100,000 new troops, and Clinton not understanding. Nice though how she puts the judgments and steps as being misjudgments and missteps. How much should one really trust their analysis? Both posturing for presidential runs and both opinionated asses. Guess I'd have to say "not at all."
Baker and Hamilton proved to be unusual witnesses. They conceded that their 79 recommendations carry a good deal of risk, but they essentially said no one else had a better idea. "We think it is worth a try," said Baker, conveying the sense that the United States is down to its last chance in Iraq, and that the group had prescribed the least bad of several options.

"You don't have much to lose here," Hamilton added in defending the diplomatic recommendations. "Things are not going in a very good direction right now, and why not take some chance here in involving these countries?"

I think they're right. Not that all of the proposals should be used at all, but that they do indicate some tactical changes that could be helpful. No doubt the military analysis that showed up in the Rumsfeld memo also will give further impetus to course corrections.

I've read some analysis on the Surrender Monkey stance and I can agree with a toned down version. The report really does sound like they are proposing a method of getting out while losing minimum skin. I'd have preferred a report suggesting a way to succeed.

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