Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Baker-Hamilton commission lambasted by Neoconservatives

As per usual, Glenn Greenwald hits it out of the park with this blog post. He discusses the Neoconservatives' attempt to discredit the Baker-Hamilton commission studying policy options for Iraq as being biased and lopsided. Specifically, he links to an article in the Washington Post which reports that Neocon Michael Rubin, formerly an advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has resigned from his post because he claimed he and his bretheren are no longer being listened to with the same degree of reverence as they were, say, before the invasion of Iraq. This claim is so ridiculous that one is tempted to believe these lunatics have finally completely broken their last remaining ties to the real world.

Greenwald offers up a particularly apt analogy on just how outrageous it is for Neocons like Rubin to complain that his fwllow travelers on the far right are no longer having their opinions sought out by our country's policymakers:

Seeking input from the neocons on how to solve the Iraq disaster would be like consulting the serial arsonist who started a deadly, raging fire on how to extinguish it. That actually might make sense if the arsonist were repentant and wanted to help reverse what he unleashed. But if the arsonist were proud of the fire he started and actually wanted to see it rage forever, even more strongly -- and, worse, if he were intent on starting whole new fires just like the one destroying everything and everyone in its path-- it would be the height of irrationality for those wanting to extinguish the fire to listen to what he has to say.

He also makes another interesting point about the fact that the antiwar "extremists" those aggrieved Neoconservatives are complaining about are anything but extreme. First, public opinion has already shifted toward setting a deadline for redeployment (with a phased withdrawal taking place over the next twelve months as per the Senator Carl Levin proposal, as opposed to immediately as suggested by Congressman Jack Murtha).

Second, as Greenwald notes:

Is withdrawal -- whether incremental or total -- considered to be an "extreme view" that the Washington "centrists" have not only rejected but have excluded in advance even from consideration? That's what this [Washington Post] article seems to suggest, and that would definitely be consistent with conventional Beltway wisdom -- that withdrawal is advocated only by the fringe radicals and far leftists (such as the individual whom Americans just knowingly installed as Speaker of the House).

There is nothing "centrist" about a Commission which decides in advance that it will not remove our troops from a war which is an unmitigated disaster and getting worse every day.
It just goes without saying that if you invade and occupy a country and are achieving nothing good by staying, withdrawal must be one of the primary options considered when deciding what to do about the disaster.

Even if that is not the option ultimately chosen, a categorical refusal in advance to consider that option -- or to listen to experts who advocate it -- is not the work of a "centrist" body devoted to finding a solution to this war. If the Commission begins with the premise that we have to stay in Iraq and then only considers proposals for how to modify our strategy on the margins, that is anything but centrist. To the contrary, that is a close-minded -- and rather extremist -- commitment to the continuation of a war which most Americans have come to despise and want to see brought to an end.

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