Wow. Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- hates the Baker Commission report. "Group studies Iraq- fails to find clue bag," proclaims the conservative Blackfive milblog. "The report is a dud," sighs the lefty Americablog. And Fred Kaplan mopes:
The report of the Iraq Study Group... was doomed to fall short of expectations. But who knew it would amount to such an amorphous, equivocal grab bag.Its outline of a new "diplomatic offensive" is so disjointed that even a willing president would be left puzzled by what precisely to do, and George W. Bush seems far from willing.Its scheme for a new military strategy contains so many loopholes that a president could cite its language to justify doing anything (or nothing).The award for today's most original Baker hate belongs to Defense Tech pal Spencer Ackerman:
Given the specific lineup of the 10 wise men and women serving on the Iraq Study Group, the most conspicuous absence is that of supermodel Heidi Klum. Sure, she has no relevant experience in foreign policy, nor any real knowledge of Iraq -- but neither do commissioners Sandra Day O'Connor, Vernon Jordan, Alan Simpson, or Edwin Meese. What Klum does have to offer is a lesson completely lost on the commission, one taught each week on her hit reality show Project Runway: you're either in, or you're out. When it comes to Iraq, it's good advice.OK, no Heidi Klum, I can understand. My question is: Why no veterans? Why no people that have actually fought this war?UPDATE 8:23 AM: "The military recommendations issued yesterday by the Iraq Study Group are based more on hope than history and run counter to assessments made by some of its own military advisers," says the Times.
In essence, the study group is projecting that a rapid infusion of American military trainers will so improve the Iraqi security forces that virtually all of the American combat brigades may be withdrawn by the early part of 2008...Jack Keane, the retired Army chief of staff who served on the groups panel of military advisers, described that goal as entirely impractical. Based on where we are now we cant get there, General Keane said in an interview, adding that the reports conclusions say more about the absence of political will in Washington than the harsh realities in Iraq.UPDATE 10:02 AM: "Iraqi politicians and analysts said Wednesday [that] the report... neither addresses nor understands the complex forces that fuel Iraq's woes. They described it as a strategy largely to help U.S. troops return home and resurrect America's frayed influence in the Middle East," according to the Washington Post.
"It is a report to solve American problems, and not to solve Iraq's problems," said Ayad al-Sammarai, an influential Sunni Muslim politician.UPDATE 12/08/06 9:42 AM: Phil Carter read the list of people consulted by the Iraqi Study Group. He's not happy.
[It's] a long and distinguished list, to be sure. But one group of people seemed to be conspicuously absent from the list.Grunts. Not just infantrymen, but military enlisted personnel and junior officers generally. I don't see any officers below the military rank of Lieutenant Colonel listed in the ISG's report. And there are zero enlisted personnel listed. What gives? Counterinsurgencies are won or lost at the local level, so it would've made an awful lot of sense to talk with a few troops who've served at that level.Not that Bush is listening to Baker and company, anyway.