The almost instant reject of the central recommendations of the ISG Report by key officials in Iraq and Israel, and serious observers of the war is a refreshing bit of resolve. The criticism is withering and deserved. "A fatuous process yields, necessarily, fatuous results," writes Eliot Cohen in today's Wall Street Journal, a piece I hope the editors make available to the public generally. He continues:
War, and warlike statecraft, is a hard business, and though this is supposed to be a report dominated by "realists," there is nothing realistic in failing to spell out the bloody deeds, grim probabilities and dismal consequences associated with even the best course of action. Indeed, some parts of the report read as sheer fantasy -- Recommendation 15, for example, which provides that part of the American deal with Syria should include the latter's full cooperation in investigating the Hariri assassination, verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah, and its support for persuading Hamas to recognize Israel.
"All conducted under the watchful eyes of Unicorns," Lileks adds in reviewing the ISG's many pronouncements on what needs to happen.
Cohen and James are hardly alone in condemning the report as a massive bit of unintentional parody. Watching the replay of the ISG's press conference last night, with solemn pronouncement after solemn pronouncement from somnambulist after somnambulist, I was struck by how absolutely feckless this entire exercise was. Because the ISG was not serious about the nature of the double-headed enemy --al Qaeda-allied jihadists and the Iranian mullah-led Shia radicals and their Syrian thugocrats-- it could not be serious about the way forward.
Now comes Israel's newest cabinet minister, Avigdor Lieberman, whose portfolio is strategic affairs and includes Iran. He is visiting the U.S. From the New York Times today: