It totals 96 pages, not counting its introductory letter from Secretary Baker and Congressman Hamilton, the executive summary, and the many appendices, which includes such helpful information as the fact that the ISG talked to 15 senators (not one of whom was elected for the first time since 9/11, creating a generation bias in the interviews, one which appears replicated in the 10 House members interviewed.,) and that of the 21 foreign officials interviewed, only David Abramovich, the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was consulted from the state most threatened by the Iranian mullahs and Syrian thugs the ISG demands the US appeal to.
Incredibly, the ISG did not consult with anyone from the democratic government of Lebanon, even as the ISG urges us to reach an understanding with Syria.
Of the 43 “former officials and experts” consulted –including Mark Danner of the New York Review of Books, Thomas Friedman, Leslie Gelb, Sandy Berger, Anthony Lake, Ken Pollack, Thomas Ricks, and George Will– the ISG did not find it necessary to talk with, say, Victor Davis Hanson, Lawrence Wright, Robert Kaplan, Mark Steyn, Michael Ledeen, Reuel Marc Gerecht, or Christopher Hitchens. The ISG did talk with Bill Kristol. I wonder how long that sit down lasted?
The report combines an almost limitless condescension towards the “Iraqi sovereign government,” even going so far as to lay out a timetable for its exact legislative program for the next six months, with a cavalier indifference to the Syrian death squads operating in Lebanon, and the certain nature of the Iranian regime –still, on this very day, hosting the anti-Holocaust conference.
It is a wonder, this bit of appeasement virtuosity, and I think it will gain for its authors all the lasting fame that has attached itself to the name Samuel Hoare, and his brainchild, the Hoare-Laval Agreement.
UPDATE: Joining the Emperor Has No Clothes Coalition:
UPDATE: Correction: The ISG did talk to a second Israeli, Deputy Minister of Defense of the State of Israel, Ephraim Sneh, and Reuel Marc Gerecht was part of an “Expert Working Group” on “Political Development,” though not listed as an expert consulatation.
What the group desperately needed was at least one their members to have been in the military and had recent experience in Iraq. The problem with having an entire panel with no one under the age of 67 is that none of them could possibly know what the situation is actually like on the ground in Iraq. Now I concede that it is possible to have a good understanding of things as they stand in Iraq but unless you interact with the people of Iraq and spend a year or years of your life on ground you cannot possibly have a complete picture of the situation.
We cannot appease our enemies and we cannot continue to cut and run when the going gets tough. As it stands in the world right now our enemies view America as a country full of queasy people who are inclined to cut and run when things take a turn for the worse. Just as the Tet Offensive was the victory that led to our failure in Vietnam our victories in Iraq now are leading to our failure in the Middle East. How many more times must we fight to fail? I feel like all of my efforts (30 months of deployment time) and the efforts of all my brothers in arms are all for naught. I thought old people were supposed to be more patient than a 24 year old but apparently I have more patience for our victory to unfold in Iraq than 99.9 percent of Americans. Iraq isn’t fast food-you can’t have what you want and have it now. To completely change a country for the first time in it’s entire history takes time, and when I say time I don’t mean 4 years.
Talking doesn’t solve anything with a crazed people, bullets do and we need to be given a chance to work our military magic. Like I told a reporter buddy of mine: War sucks but a world run by Islamofacists sucks more.
UPDATE: Bill Kristol suggested on my program minutes ago –brilliantly– that the president ought to have this young soldier, T.F. Boggs, to the White House, stand next to him and not Jim Baker, and declare he is the future of our country and of Iraq, not the appeasement/defeatist caucus that produced or appaluds this silly report.
Bill also provided the details of his “consultation” with the ISG: 50 minutes in September.
UPDATE: John McCain shrewdly and quickly dismissed the ISG Report’s recommendations. Any would-be GOP nominee should do the same and very quickly. The “victory option” remains at the center of the GOP, and no raft of Beltway paper will change that fundamental fact.
UPDATE: “Iraq is the central front in the war on Islamic fascism…The answer to Iraq is in Iran” –Rick Santorum on the Senate floor today, in a memorable address on the nature of the war and on why he did not vote to confirm Dr. Gates as SecDef. To be clear: Santorum was not endorsing the ISG’s suggestion of “engagement” with the mullahs.