It's painful to watch the Iraq Study Group (ISG) selectively invoking our Cold War policies to support their recommendation that we negotiate with our enemies. We didn't negotiate an end to the Cold War. We kicked the Soviets' rear end. Indeed, the very type of "realists" in charge of the ISG largely opposed Ronald Reagan's confrontational approach toward the Soviets that enabled us to graduate from stalemate to victory.
Here are some other thoughts and questions about the vaunted ISG report (ISGR):
-- The ISG seems convinced we are "perilously" close to defeat in Iraq. With this method of war scorekeeping could America have ever won a war, or will it ever again?
-- Did the ISG ever seriously consider that we pursue outright victory over the terrorists, or did their initial bias preclude them from considering that option?
-- Are the ISG's recommendations based on their assumption that Iraq is not part of the overall war on terror? If so, and they are wrong -- which they are -- is their entire report flawed, having been primarily based on an erroneous assumption?
-- The Framers understood that foreign policy must not be conducted by committee, which is why they made the president -- not Congress -- the singular commander in chief.
-- If the ISGR serves no other purpose, it will provide excellent ammunition for Democrats and the mainstream media (MSM) to crucify President Bush to the extent he rejects its recommendations.
-- In fact, if the left were primarily about ideas rather than destroying President Bush, they would be none too pleased with the ISGR for its refusal to endorse a Murthafied withdrawal. But they are willing to ignore the report's contradictions, generalities and absence of real solutions, because they view it as a vindication of their perennial opposition to Bush.
-- James Baker said, "This is the only bipartisan report for sale." Whoop-dee-do. I agree with others that the ISG is promoting bipartisanship as an end in itself, even prioritizing it above pursuing the best policy. In a column in 2002, I attributed a similar attitude to Democrats, writing, "What [Certain Democrats] are essentially advocating is that bipartisanship be elevated to sacrosanct status, as if it were an end in itself to be pursued even above the best interests of the nation."