Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Iraq Surrender Group

I first heard a guest on the Hugh Hewitt show call the ISG just this, and I liked it so much I had to adopt it.

So here's what I got to thinking with respect to the ISG. Bush knows Baker really well, and the results of the report are a surprise to no one (if you actually meet someone who is surprised you really ought to have them checked into a hospital). So, why? Why go through all of this? What's the point? I've got my theories, and the one I've been batting back and forth like some sort of really awesome cat playing with a ball of string is this: Bush and Rove are outflanking the surrender monkeys. Sort of like how the House Republicans demanded a withdrawal vote on Iraq a while back that was defeated something like 10,000 to 2 (hyperbole, people).

All Bush hears is how we're losing, victory isn't an option, we need to withdraw, I mean, re-deploy the troops (which Jean-Francois Kerry actually said; so in addition to botching jokes he also botches party talking-points - and they wanted this guy to be President?), and he says: OK, I warned you not to mess with Texas, so tell me what you've got.

We can all see the ISG's recommendations for what they are: more foolish ideas that result in America losing.

Here's a thought, and you can play along at home. Bush gathered all of those big brains to come up with ideas on how to handle Iraq from here on out. I figure the readership here is easily... three times as smart as those dullards. So, I'm commissioning you, dear Reader, to tell me what our strategy should be in Iraq to win (which wasn't the scope of the ISG, by the way).

Dust off your thinking caps and fire away. I'll compile the recommendations and send them to Bush and then we'll see some results.


Call Me Mom said...

I can't help but think that the best way to win is to pull the rug out from under the Islamic leaders who are insisting that the US is acting as a puppet master in Iraq rather than a liberating force.
Iraq is a sovereign nation and it's government needs some way to establish credibility within the Islamic community as a sovereign power. Perhaps an order from the Iraqi president to US troops to completely withdraw from a test area. It would have to be set up very carefully for success. This could include Iraqi people of that area turning in terrorists (even if they have to hire actors to be the terrorists)publicly "for the good of Iraq" to set a very public example of how the Iraqi people can be part of the solution for their nation as they absolutely must be.
I think we also need to change the perception that supporting the presence of the US is betraying Islam.
From my cursory reading, this may well be the most difficult challenge. If I understand my reading correctly, it is considered an abomination for any infidel to set foot on the soil of an Islamic country.
Maybe the Iraqi president could insist that only Moslem soldiers from the US could be in the test area as a start.
Or maybe they could make it the solemn duty of each religious sect to police their own community with some type of reward(land, religious buildings, economic perks?)for keeping them in line. (# of days without a terrorist attack-1. lol)
I thought, as long as I'm tired and loopy anyway, I'd throw out a few ideas to get the big brains started. :)

The Monarchist said...


Good ideas. I like those ideas that center on encouraging and rewarding acts of self-government. Overall, I'd add that we probably need more troops and that recruiting, training, equipping and handing over authority to Iraqi security forces should be our primary goal. Yes, this is happening now, but it needs to be redoubled.

The sad reality is that most of the deaths are Iraqis at the hands of other Iraqis and foreign terrorists, and a civil war may indeed be developing. But such a thing may also be necessary before that people can move toward a peaceful and functional republic.


michael hargis said...

Now would be the time to really ramp up the plan to get lots of gays into the military. When those Arabs see men strolling down the street holding hands and kissing, they'll be so filled with disgust that they'll strap on the dynamite and let Allah call 'em home! (I stole that joke, and would be happy to give the person credit if I could only remember who he is.)

If that doesn't work then I don't know what to do. The time to use stunningly overwhelming force is long gone, I think, and that would've been the winning play.

Maybe I'm guilty of always wanting to fight the last war, but it seems to me that nothing really changes until the losing side has neither the will nor the ability to continue. When a mother can't stroll down to the corner drugstore for a box of Kleenex without tripping over a dozen corpses of friends and family, THEN unconditional surrender doesn't seem like such a bad idea to her.

The only really important thing in war is winning, and we have no one in Washington with the will to do so. Under the circumstances, rearranging deck chairs is as good a way to pass the time as anything else.

Daniel Webster said...

I don't know that I have any real solutions to offer - I'd have to put some serious thought into it.

But I think we tread on pretty thin ice when we start offering rewards for keeping other folks in line - land, money, buildings, whatever - even with the best and most self-governing of societies.

I can't help but be reminded of the time my State thought it a good idea to offer a free hotline (posting it on all the highways and whatnot) for residents to call and report the poluting of our highways and roadways. It didn't take much reflection on my part to conclude that this was a very bad idea indeed. My mind very quickly imagined the following scenario occuring in this and other forms:

A couple of individuals are driving on the same highway, and for whatever reason the lesser of the two characters is angered by the driving of the other. Having noted the hotline previously the former decides to get back at this individual by making the call, providing the State with the tag number of the vehicle in question, accusing the individual of dumping his breakfast sack out his vehicle window, and so on. The State gets involved, wastes the taxpayers' resources in pursuing an innocent person who cannot be proven guilty unless that guilt is founded solely on the accuser's testimony, and so on and so forth.

In the case of the Iraqi people the fact we should always keep in mind is that they have basically been in prison for the last thirty, forty, fifty years. The way they learned to survive in that prison has to be very much like the way our own prisoners learn to survive in our very own correctional institutions. You put a person in prison (guilty or not) then turn him/her loose thirty years later, the great liklihood is that he/she is not going to transition very well in the beginning. I leave all the little details to your imaginations.

Call Me Mom said...

I do see your point about the abuses a reward system would be prone to, Mr. Webster. I'm just throwing out ideas to get started.

With regard to the "getting out of jail mentality" You are correct there too. Slaves need time to learn how to be free and more time to accept that they can be free.

I know that there was some work being done to re-establish the scouting movement in the early days of Saddam's overthrow.(He had apparently killed most of the folks involved in scouting in that country.) I don't know how that's going, but it might be helpful.

Although, at this point in time, I have been examining the scouting principles and I am having a hard time with the idea of that too. The reason is that one of the principles of scouting is tolerance for those of other religions.(Which would, of course, explain some of the persecution under the previous regime)Islam, however has very well defined guidelines about those of other religions and tolerance (at least my definition of tolerance) ain't one of them. Therefore scouting can't in good conscience, ask Islamic scouts to violate their perceived "Duty to God" to uphold scouting principles. I wonder if they make allowances for that sort of thing.
It sure would be a darn sight better than teaching them to build bombs and wage jihad though.

Oh well,baby steps.

J Wales said...

When it comes to the soveriegn nation of Iraq, we pretty much won that war. Slaughtered the military and took Saddam out of power.

Now, were fighting Radical Islamic factions in Iraq, which are mostly backed by Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic based nations.

The problem is defining the enemy. The enemy doesnt wear uniforms, doesnt have a central command, doesnt use conventional war methods. This is guerilla warfare involving an entire region basically.

Ultimately one would define the enemy and inflict extreme collateral damage until a surrender. Without a clearly defined enemy, major collateral damage would create a world uproar most likely.

Since Iraq has the 2nd most oil reserves on earth, their is alot at stake for everyone (U.S, China, India, Russia and so on). Then their is the Israel factor too.

Personally, I would define the enemy as Islam, and go from there.

Call Me Mom said...

Hmmm.... Define the enemy as Islam and go from there eh? That's a pretty big chunk to bite off all at once JW, but it does bring up some of the thoughts I've been having lately.
One of those thoughts, which I find quite disturbing, is that this isn't really a civil war. I am beginning to think this is more of a dispute about which ideology will hold power in the coming caliphate - Shia or Sunni? In this case, I have to say, I'm not really all that thrilled about the idea of giving them more weapons or training since I think, if I'm correct, that it's only a matter of time until those weapons and that training will be turned around to be used against us.

However, that doesn't address the blog question of solutions for our current dilemma.

I truly believe that the Iraqi people have to start something for themselves. Sort of like... a few years back there was a community where some nasty folks had started vandalizing Jewish homes. They targeted the homes by looking for menorahs in the window. In one neighborhood, instead of bewailing the nastiness, they decided together, that every home in the neighborhood would display a menorah whether they were Jewish or not. If there could be that kind of mutual support in Iraq from each group with the purpose of ridding themselves of foreign meddlers, I think it could go a long way towards making that nation truly independent.
Unfortunately, I don't know enough about cultural perceptions or the conditions in Iraq to say what would be an equivalent action.

JWales said...

Yeah mom it is a big chunk, but I think they already bit off more than they could chew.

It is a growing regional conflict involving Islamic ideology vs. western (christian and secular). Your right about arming them, eventually they will turn on us just like the Taliban, Saddam and all the other yahoos eventually did.

how about a little old fashioned imperialism for a solution? Declare Iraq the 51st state and rename it to "East Carolina". Would suit me just fine.

Call Me Mom said...

Here's another idea. Have President Bush announce that we(The United States) are unable to come up with working solutions due to the huge differences in our cultures. Since that is the case, we're not going to try. Instead the Iraqis have a number of plans they want to try and they have requested that we remain in a support capacity until they find the solution or combination of solutions that works best.
This has the advantage of putting the onus for a solution where it belongs at this point, on the Iraqis, and publicly limits our commitment. It also relieves some of the pressure for the US to "fix" Iraq. It provides support for the continued presence of US troops and it makes it possible for Iraq to ask us to leave politely when they are ready to do so, leaving the door open for good diplomatic relations.
Your turn Mr. Webster lol.

The Monarchist said...

First, J, man you're not pulling any punches! I'd concur as long as there'd be such a thing as "East Carolina University" and it would be "the home of the fightin' Bedouins."

Second, Mom, I think you've just morphed into Karl Rove. My goodness, it is pure genius!


Call Me Mom said...

lol Mr. Hamilton, rotfl.

I wouldn't advise that you try to compliment any other women, (your wife for example), by saying you think they've morphed into Carl Rove. Rotfl

JWales said...

A.H., how about the East Carolina Crusaders! Or East Carolina Devils! Or the Carolina Infidels!

The Monarchist said...

Oh my goodness! There I go trying to offer a compliment and completely missing the potential negative connotation! Rest assured, the comparison was with respect to the brain, and not the vessel that contains the brain!


Call Me Mom said...

I assumed that was how you meant it, but it sure gave me a tickle thinking of the look you would get saying that to your wife. ;) lol.

Daniel Webster said...

"Your turn Mr. Webster lol."

Ummm, well, ahem, I think I have to agree with Hamilton on this'n. That your suggestions sound pretty good to regards the Iraqis and their nation. It's likely, however, that you'll not be getting any recommendations from this quarter and here's why...

I don't believe I'm privy to enough (classified) information to make any such suggestions, the 911 Commission report notwithstanding. All of my speculations on the subject really amount to that - speculations based upon a very limited amount of information. For instance, that Iran was close to getting the bomb must have been realized by the higher-ups long before the general citizenry ever caught wind of it.

But I'd venture to say that jihadists probably have a much better understanding of why we're in Iraq than the average American has. I can take a quick gander at the map, and based upon the general knowledge I have concerning radical islam and its abject hatred of everything holy and good, that gander tells me all I need to know about why we're in the centrally located position we are with respect to these nuts.

JWales said...

I think mr. webster nailed it on the head, smack dab Mid East Central, you want us you got us.

East Carolina Oilers??

Daniel Webster said...

Yeah, J, forgive the hesitation in asking for this clarification, but I've been wondering what you meant a few posts back when you answered Mom this way:

"Yeah mom it is a big chunk, but I think they already bit off more than they could chew."

The term "they" in this sentence meaning who?


P.S. I like Hamilton's "fightin' Bedouins" best - it seems to fit perfectly. But East Carolina Madrasa - "Home of the warring Jinn" did come to mind.

JWales said...

Sorry it took so long Mr. Webster, been bizzy. Been a while since I wrote that but I believe "they" is referring to the Bush Administration. They underestimated the Islamic response to the invasion I guess you could say.

Does that help?

Daniel Webster said...

Yes it does help. Thanks J.

Might I ask a follow-up?...

In what way did Bush and Co. underestimate the islamic response to the invasion? The reason I ask is that I've never seen it quite that way. I figure the Bush administration probably has/had a good idea about what radical islam is all about, and what it's capable of. And that if they are guilty of having underestimated anything, it is the ability to make the Iraqis free and independent - truly free and independent - and I ain't real sure they underestimated that, surface appearances and Bush-speak notwithstanding.

JWales said...

They may have underestimated the stranglehold radical islam has on the iraqi people as a collective whole. I believe the iraqi people do desire freedom , but they have 100's of years of fear ingrained into their lives.

Clear as mud?

Daniel Webster said...

No, I get you J. And I think it's a possibility so my purpose is not to invalidate the argument. As I said before, I understand that perspective - if the administration underestimated anything, that is probably it - but I don't necessarily hold the perspective as truth.

Hamilton, Adams, and I have had several discussions on this point. I ain't sure we ever came to a consensus opinion on it, but if memory serves me (those discussions took place some time ago), I seem to recall that we pretty much agreed that at some point prior to the actual invasion the Republican argument shifted away from self-preservation first and foremost, to a more left appeasing "free the oppressed Iraqis" first and foremost justification for the war. I trust that if my memory of those discussions proves faulty, my brothers will set me straight.

My opinion was, and still is, that this shift occured, as I said before, for the express purpose of appeasing...someone - a certain segment of this society. I always thought that was a mistake, and as you can see here, my opinion on it has pretty much remained unchanged in that regard. The obvious reason I thought it was a mistake can be summed up in the sorry state of affairs resulting in the formation of this commission, its opinions and recommendations, and so on and so forth. In this case success is measured by the goal, er, more precisely, by the perceived goal. If the goal (and the basis of one's support for the war) was/is to free the Iraqi people first and foremost then I can see where one might conlude that the mission is a failure thus far. Whereas if the goal is self-preservation first and foremost, then I think it becomes much more difficult to come to such a conclusion upon serious reflection; to wane in one's support for the war effort. So basically there are about three points to condense here...

1. When you boil it all down, it seems to me that the differences of opinion on the occupation of Iraq are based upon what the persons holding them perceive as the goal.

2. I think it was Mr. Hargis who argued, in the wake of Republican congressional losses in November, that President Bush has done a miserable job of explaining the need to continue the war effort in Iraq. That's hard to argue with, but my opinion is more along the lines that freeing the Iraqis is and was a poor justification in the first place; that once he and the administration bit that bait it was all over but the crying anyhow. In fact, if I truly believed that that was our purpose first and foremost, my support for the war would be non-existent.

3. I said before that I wouldn't be making any suggestions in this thread....most likely. However, I didn't slam the door completely shut on myself, so here's mine - move away from this "free the Iraqis" justification, and more to a "this is a self-preservation issue." Let the arguments in favor of our continued efforts in Iraq center around that one fundamental idea; let our tactics and the means we use center around and work in pursuit of that goal. Anyone who isn't willing to defend his home and fireside (preemptively when necessary) from radical nuts (islamic or otherwise) bent on destroying it, doesn't count anyway, so what's the point in trying to gain his support?

4. Okay, I said three points, not four, but nonetheless...Where I think the Bush administration was truly guilty of underestimating something was in its own ability, once it allowed the argument to take a fundamental shift, to maintain that argument (or to shift it back) and support for the war once the going got tough.

JWales said...

this kinda goes along the lines a point #3.

Several months ago - maybe even more than a year - I saw Donald Rumsfeld interviewed and he was asked "why are we really in Iraq". He answered, "to establish a presence in the middle east". I thought to myself, finally!! the truth!! O.K. I'm good with that.

Forget the WMD story, or the spreading democracy mantra, say it like it is, were in Islamic Terrorist Central and we've set up shop. If you harbor terrorists, fund them, train them and dispense them we are at your back door and ready to break it down!!

I think the American people would accept that type of attitude, but now the administration is contemplating dialogue with Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and whoever? What happened to the "harboring terrorist" rhetoric?

The mixed signals show weakness, no?