The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, December 07, 2006

And the winner for most ink spilled over the least news is... the Iraq Study Group!

When the existence of the Iraq Study Group first began to be reported, much of the speculation was that James Baker had been called in to salvage Bush's legacy for the sake of the family. Their report walked a weird line between blunt realism (the White House deliberately underreported the level of violence) and providing plenty of face-saving wiggle room for the administration. Unfortunately, I'm inclined to agree with Arkin's assessment-- the president will claim a bold new strategy, and nothing will change.

The wise men have confirmed what the American public has known for some time: Iraq is finished. Our strategy, whatever it is, isn't working. It is mighty disappointing, but not surprising, though that the Study Group couldn't see that there is nothing left that the United States can do to really influence what will happen there. What is more, what it actually is proposing in its two fundamental points isn't necessarily going to make any difference. (. . .)

Here's how I see Iraq playing out in the short term: The president makes an announcement within a month about his "new" plan. Washington is ever so pleased with a new approach. But the a la carte plan is seen by the Iraqis for what it is; it is not a U.S. timetable for withdrawal. It is not an unequivocal pledge not to establish permanent bases. It is sovereignty and authority in name only for Iraq with continued American control behind the scenes. I can't see who any of this equivocation will deflate the insurgency or stem the hatred for America that is fueled by our presence.