The Baker-Hamilton-Chamberlain Report is already past its shelf-life, and scenes of Baker testifying lead to a click quicker than a real estate investment infomercial. Very few serious people will be citing it this weekend, much less next month, and the legacy of the ISG may be the end of such commissions. Justice O’Connor and General Meese, at least, ought to be asking themselves how they allowed Secretary Baker to rope them into this smash-up, and General Meese at least might want to consider how to notice his many friends that, believe it or not, he kept it from being worse.
If Iran picks up the pace of its 27-year old war against the United States, a healthy serving of Israeli territory seems to be the answer. If Syria resumes its murderous Lebanon campaign, a healthy serving of Israeli territory seems to be the answer. If Baghdad is dissolving in sectarian violence, a healthy serving of Israeli territory to third parties seems to be the answer. If a healthy slice of Israeli territory can’t be offered to satisfy Hezbollah and Hamas, they can be ignored.
Meanwhile, unrest is growing in Iran (and not just the students),and if indeed Iran’s maximum leader is headed for this world’s exits, that means an already roiling Iran will enter a period of potential instability. Put down the ISG Report, Mr. President, and figure out a way to help the good guys –the majority of the Iranian people– throw off these despots. Surely if Iran can use the porous border to send trouble into Iraq, a reverse flow can be arranged. Ditto Damascus.
The government of Iran may be our enemy, but its people surely aren’t.
And the ISG may be defeatist in attitude and appeasement oriented, but the American people aren’t.
UPDATE: The German government has condemned the anti-Holocaust nutters assembling in Tehran. Could a high profile U.S. official, say the Secretary of State, do the same in a high profile way? Today? From the AP via the International Herald Tribune:
“We condemn all past and future attempts of anyone who gives a platform to those who relativize or question the Holocaust,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner said.
The Iranian president has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” and the Tehran conference appeared to be part of Ahmadinejad’s public campaign against the Jewish state.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told thousands of Iranians on Friday that his Hamas-led government will never recognize Israel and will continue to fight for the “liberation of Jerusalem.”
Hamas has pocketed more than $120 million in Iranian aid since winning power last March. Did the ISG even mention that connection?
The obvious entente between Iran-Hezbollah-Syria-Hamas is not a result of Israel. It is a result of shared ideology and the need to maintain power. The lost opportunity of the ISG was to focus on the nature of the menace, not the manifestation of its capacity to cause chaos in Iraq.
If in 1938, a panel of distinguished Brits had gotten together and said “The pressure on Austria is unacceptable, the threats to Czechoslovakia must stop, Italy must withdraw from Ethiopia, and negotiate its territorial claims in that part of the world, et cetera, et cetera. But let’s all understand Hitler can be negotiated with.” Would such a report have been as bad as it could have been? No. But would it still have been a dangerous and terrible thing? Yes. That’s the analogy. Why am I wrong?
And I had this exchange with Ralph Peters:
HH: When we undertook the bombing of the Serbs, because of their ethnic cleansing, was their level of threat to the United States, and their level of violence greater or lesser than that which the Iranians are now exercising towards us, and towards their ethnic enemies?
RP: The Serbs didn’t even register on the scale. Iran is a true menace.
Had the ISG done its job it would have used its platform to drive home to the American public this key fact: “Iran is a true menace.
It did not. Instead it used its rare opportunity to somehow convey that, at the heart of the problem, is not an Shia Islamist ideology of radical expanision allied with al Qaeda’s death cult, but Israel.
This is like blaming Edvard Benes for Gernany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia.
Iran is a resources rich country of 69 million people (up from 39 million in 1970) led by fanatics not easily if ever deterred. (Syria has a population of 19 million.) Germany was a resources rich country of 70 million in 1939 when it launched its wars of aggression in its world region. At some point the U.S. will have to confront the “true menace,” and not by offering up its neighbors or its object of hatred, Israel.