December 13, 2006
Re: The Israel Gambit

Over the weekend, I took a look at the quick but errant support from local editorial boards leaping to support the Iraq Study Group (ISG), particularly the fallacy that "solving" the Arab-Israeli conflict will magically produce less Sunni v. Shiite strife on the ground in Iraq. The past few days news and assorted editorial coverage only cements the error of embracing such a foolish proposal.

Last Sunday, the Washington Post laid into the ISG's "New Diplomatic Offensive":

Start with the supposition that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is somehow central to ending the chaos in Iraq. In fact, even if the two-state solution sought by the Bush administration were achieved, it's difficult to imagine how or why that would cause Sunnis and Shiites to cease their sectarian war in Baghdad or the Baathist-al Qaeda insurgency to stand down.

Meanwhile, Washington Post foreign affairs columnist Jim Hoagland, nearly as big a figure in the media establishment on such issues as Tom Freidman of the New York Times, unloaded as well in a column titled "Meanwhile, Reality in Iraq," decrying, "the insincere scheme the group hatched -- without seriously consulting Israel -- to have Israel hand the Golan Heights back to Syria as part of an American-led 'New Diplomatic Offensive."'" Asking Israel to surrender the Golan Heights to Syria in modern times is about like asking the United States to give Hawaii and Alaska to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, just to be neighborly. Diplomatic niceties do not accurately convey the most deserving response to such foolishness.

Conservatives have had their shots on the ISG's "New Diplomatic Offensive" too, in many forms of media. Much of it has not been kind to Jim Baker; a mere sampling includes John Podhoretz exposing the track record of Baker's fascination with Syria and Michael Rubin adding more on Baker's own hypocrisy when speaking about that country.

Meanwhile, Baker has been proudly urging the powers that be to implement the ISG's recommendations in full, no cherry-picking please. The arrogance is breathtaking considering Baker, a man who has held multiple Cabinet level posts, knows full well such grandiose reports are virtually never implemented in full. Even more breathtaking when even the New York Times was quick to report key military elements of the ISG's recommendations are horribly flawed.

More importantly, there hasn't exactly been a ringing endorsement of the ISG in key circles necessary to actually implement the plan if one so desired. Israel of course rejected the notion they need to bend over backwards to make Muslims warring with each other in another country happy. The leaders of Iraq found the ISG report none too thrilling either. Interestingly, while the Seattle Times and the P-I both ran the same AP story about Iraq's reaction, neither included the part about the country in the region that seems most pleased with the ISG: Syria.

So, one proud state-sponsor of terror and avowed enemy of Israel and America likes the report. What about the other the ISG wants us to talk to, Iran? Tougher to say. They've been too busy holding their Holocaust denial conference and declaring Israel will be "wiped out." Kindly, the Iranian Foreign Minister was quite clear about that conference's purpose: "If the holocaust is questioned officially, then the existence of the Zionist regime will also be questioned." Seems like a good bunch of fellows to talk to with the expectation of solving things in the Middle East amicably, no?

In the end, less than a week's worth of news have proved what initial reactions already said. We can consider talking to Iran and Syria in some fashion. But any serious belief that such conversations will produce anything close to a desirable outcome is nearly comical. Please, someone show me one statement from either Syria or Iran that should make us think they're interested in something different in the Middle East than an embarrassed United States and a vanquished Israel.

I won't hold my breath.

Surely, Iraq policy is about to change, but it is really quite amazing the supposed "realists" who brought us the ISG report have produced a document so devoid of actual realism.

Posted by Eric Earling at December 13, 2006 08:25 AM | Email This
1. It will be extremely interesting to see what the jelly-bellied appeasers will do. Will they have a civil war and which side will win? Who will defect to the R side?

The cut-and-run faction who can't see the coming storm will want to pull out, but probably half of the Democrat contingent has been playing games with the cut-and-runners will now have to put up or shut up. Very interesting times ahead.

In the meantime, Bush is talking to everyone about what to do next. Pelosi is threatening to pull funding, but she says the USA won't cut-and-run.

I think the Ds are in a 'no-win' situation. And the terrorists are just laughing at them and us.

Posted by: swatter on December 13, 2006 08:52 AM
2. With all the appeasing going on it's a wonder we have not been attacked. Just look at what has been going on. The ISG report comes out and Syria assasinates a Christian political leader in Lebanon. The same day The Iranina President gives the US a warning to convert to Islam or die. Then you have the Flying Imamas that are not only fishing for money, but they are working along with some Democrats in Congress to try to outlaw "muslim profiling" in our airports. Check out this story:

Posted by: TrueSoldier on December 13, 2006 09:11 AM
3. James Baker made a decent Seceratary of Treasury. He probably was OK as a chief of staff, but as a foreign policy person he is a disaster.

He is responsible for the mess as it is, including 12 years of brutalisation of the Iraqis in the name of "stability". He was the genius who helped Saddam put down the revolt in 1992 after the people of Iraq did what then-President Bush told them to do "rise up!". I can't imagine why anyone would be interested in his views on much of anything.

That they appear not to be is good news. What Nitwit came up with this "Study Group" in the first place? They say the worst thing is an idiot with initiative.

Your Tax Dollars at Rest.

Posted by: bc on December 13, 2006 09:45 AM
4. Glad to see your on top of this Eric. This is just a quick tip to remind you that the "E" and "A" are not interchangable in "Israel" ;).

See your Title:
"Re: The Isreal Gambit "

Keep up the topic!

Posted by: on December 13, 2006 09:58 AM
5. Is anyone on that ISG panel under 75? And what in the world did Sandra Day O'Connor have to contribute to a discussion of Middle East conflict? This appears to be just a group of old fogeys trying to get a little limelight before they fade from view. Not one military person in the group. Gimme a break. And speaking of this summit of Ahmadinijad denying the holocaust, I think he sort of "has to" deny it happened. His whole prediction of some messianic happening (the return of Mohammed or whatever it is called) depends on the trigger of the slaughter of the Jews. Well then, it should have happened when Hitler slaughtered millions of them, and IT DIDN'T. Therefore, it must be denied to have happened.

Posted by: katomar on December 13, 2006 10:02 AM
6. The ISG was a worthless exercise on so many levels.

Clearly, many in the West have yet to get past the idea that the parties to this exercise will keep their respective word on anything; that arriving at some sort of functioning "peace" is their goal as much as it is our goal; and that countries such as Syria, Iran or, for that matter, Saudi Arabia are not doing everything they can to play us.

It's as if the ISG glued blinders to their collective head, ignoring the fact that both Iran and Syria are engaging in hegemonic actions to control Iraq; that either of these countries will only support the parts of the ISG that assist in the achievement of their goals, and that they will tell us anything while they do whatever the hell they want, because they do not fear us.

The idea that the root problem of these issues will be solved by returning the Golan Heights any more then the return of any other so-called palestinian land has solved any other problem or achieved anything; except to uproot the lives of formerly Israeli-government encouraged settlers; is bizarre in extreme.

The ISG seems to have consisted of a nice group of folks who view these issues as a blackboard exercise; who, like many stuck in our ivory towers, seem to have no clue as to the reality of what we face.

Increasing the number of troops on the ground is a start. But we have to be a little more deliberate in our efforts... a little more reactionary... a little less patient.

We are constrained from doing what must be done by fear. We are concerning ourselves as a nation far too much with short term strategy, and far too little with long term goals.

The result? We have fallen back into the stereotypical characterization of weak and vacillating in our foreign policy. We strengthen our enemies by our inaction in the face of tremendous threat; we allow nations like Iran to increase their strength, stature and political influence as they kill our soldiers without fear of retaliation.

It is the lack of fear and respect for the United States that allow these countries to engage in these policies while we stand in the middle of the road like a deer in the head lights.

And I missed the section of the ISG conclusions that addresses that issue.

Posted by: Hinton on December 13, 2006 10:06 AM
7. I'm a Catholic but I'm not about to take out my rifle and go hunting for Methodists. So why can't Shiite and Sunni get along? I DON'T KNOW and nobody is asking the next question after the "well there was a split eleventy hundred years ago in Islam and ever since then..." answer, and that next question is "So, what?" as in so what if there was split.. there was a split in my church too, and it happened later in history than Islam's and yet post-reformation Christians aren't slaughtering each other and fostering hatred towards a differing sect of the same church the world over, so what gives?

Posted by: TLo on December 13, 2006 02:44 PM
8. I am firmly (and sadly) convinced that my ten year old son will be fighting a Muslim army. It will be much stronger, much larger and better equipped than it is today. This will happen because we are appeasing and negotiating today. Remember that World War II began in the early 1930's.

I pray our children have what it takes because we certainly don't.

Posted by: mykela on December 13, 2006 07:24 PM
9. Last time I checked Ansar al Sunnah's latest postings, or any of the other numerous terrorist org's propoganda, they weren't tying their demands to the Mideast peace process. Their goal was to overthrow the Iraqi gov't and install a caliphate. The ISG report is seriously flawed on so many levels. This threat will reach our shores if we don't defeat them there. Dems are misleading the public when they say otherwise or ignore the indicators.

Posted by: Van on December 13, 2006 07:39 PM
10. The ISG report had exactly the effect desired: to scatter chad in the radar screens of the anti-America media/crowd. The Left is so clueless.

Posted by: Organization Man on December 13, 2006 08:42 PM
11. Totally agree:We are at war,probably the greatest in our history.I hope the Jews take the the situation into hand and deal with IRAN NOW,and put an end to it .

Posted by: fred wood on December 14, 2006 06:59 AM
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