November 12, 2006

About that Iraq Study Group that Will Save Us All...

On some lefty, America-hating, terrorist-loving radio show (obviously not on NPR), I just heard a very intelligent man make a point that should be emphasized over and over, and over again. (Sorry, but I can't remember who it was; I only heard part of it.) He was talking about the members of the Iraq Study Group -- you know, the Group that will SAVE US ALL and deliver the entire universe unto ETERNAL, OVERWHELMING BLISS.

Take a look at who's in it:
Lawrence Eagleburger, who briefly served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush's father, will replace Defense secretary-designate Bob Gates on the blue-ribbon study group that is expected to recommend a new U.S. approach to Iraq.

The announcement was made by the United States Institute of Peace, which is coordinating the study chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican, and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat.

Bush and Democrats -- who won control of the U.S. Congress in Tuesday's elections -- are looking to the study group to chart a new bipartisan course on Iraq, where more than 2,800 U.S. troops have died since the 2003 invasion.


The study group, comprised of five Democrats and five Republicans, was created in March 2006 to conduct a forward-looking, bi-partisan assessment of the situation in Iraq, its impact on the surrounding region, and consequences for U.S. interests.


Other members include Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., former attorney general Edwin Meese III, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, former defense secretary William Perry, and former U.S. senators Charles Robb and Alan Simpson.
Notice anything missing here? Now, some of these folks might have some valuable ideas to offer, and I'm sure they're all really swell people. Well, probably not Ed Meese. But not one of them is known as...take a expert on the Middle East.

Not one.

Oh, but we have five Democrats and five Republicans. Evensy-stevensy. How perfectly nifty. And they will "chart a new bipartisan course on Iraq." Even niftier.

This is nothing but the continuation of empty consensus and meaningless conventional wisdom in place of deliberative, carefully considered and genuinely well-informed policy. And we should remember that conventional wisdom is very frequently wrong. As the commentator said, "This is politics, not policy." And if none of these individuals is an expert about the topic that so desperately needs some serious attention, who the hell cares if they're evenly divided along party lines? As the perceptive commentator also noted, and I paraphrase: "What the *^%#&^%#&^%%$^% is Ed Meese doing in this group?" I hardly think that ordering a crackdown on student protestors prepares one to deal with a civil war in a whole 'nother friggin' country, nor do I think getting chain stores to remove Playboy and Penthouse from their shelves is especially good training for dealing with inordinately complex matters of foreign policy.

Here's a suggestion. Let's trade up a lot. I'll give you one Juan Cole for Ed Meese. And I'll give you Patrick Cockburn for Charles Robb. Cockburn has actually spent a lot of time in Iraq and the Middle East just recently. Amazing, ain't it? And see? I got rid of one Republican and one Democrat. Who says lefty-anarchists can't be bipartisan?

I have more suggestions, but that'll do for now. How about just one person who actually has some genuine, in-depth knowledge about the subject at issue, huh? Just one?

Oh, hell. Never mind.

AND: No Way Out -- But Out