The Iraq Study Group Report - A Fig Leaf or a Bandage?:
Listening to the announcements and meetings over the report of the Iraq Study Group is a little like listening to a group of rape crisis counselors and social workers standing in the middle of a maximum security prison, informing the prisoners that it's just wrong for the stronger men to sodomize the mouths and asses of the weaker prisoners, that perhaps forcing some of the thin, feminine-looking men to dress as women and become "wives" is perverse and fucked-up. There's President Bush, sitting there like the beefiest motherfucker in the Aryan Brotherhood, nodding, all the while wondering which of his bitches to rape tonight. There's the Democrats, standing around like pathetic turn-outs, thinking they're about to get their sore asses some protection. And the guards? Why that'd be the American people, just shrugging their shoulders, wondering what they can do to stop all the butt-reamings and mouth explosions - no one listened to the whistleblowers in the first place, you know. Meanwhile, the counselors and social workers get to get the fuck out of the lock-up and head back to the 'burbs.

Sure, sure, just a search and scan of the 160-page report comes up with fun nuggets of wisdom, like "U.S. foreign policy is doomed to failure—as is any course of action in Iraq—if it is not supported by a broad, sustained consensus" of the executive and legislative branches, and the American people. And, even though the report's being hailed as one big cock punch to the Bush administration, there's more than fig leaves for the White House here: "The global standing of the United States could suffer if Iraq descends further into chaos. Iraq is a major test of, and strain on, U.S. military, diplomatic, and financial capacities. Perceived failure there could diminish America’s credibility and influence in a region that is the center of the Islamic world and vital to the world’s energy supply. This loss would reduce America’s global influence at a time when pressing issues in North Korea, Iran, and elsewhere demand our full attention and strong U.S. leadership of international alliances." Or, in shorter terms, we're fucked either way.

The bottom line of the report, though, seems to be that it's time to pass the buck over to the Iraqis, after a few handy steps: "Iraqis may become so sobered by the prospect of an unfolding civil war and intervention by their regional neighbors that they take the steps necessary to avert catastrophe. But at the moment, such a scenario seems implausible because the Iraqi people and their leaders have been slow to demonstrate the capacity or will to act."

Call it the "sand nigger explanation": like slaves after the Civil War were more or less just expected to get over it and become good little demi-Americans, so must the Iraqis forget about the decades of deprivations under Saddam Hussein, U.N. sanctions, and, well, fuck, war, and just get on with it. It's there in Recommendation 21, the "No Iraqi Left Behind" idea: "If the Iraqi government does not make substantial progress toward the achievement of milestones on national reconciliation, security, and governance, the United States should reduce its political, military, or economic support for the Iraqi government."

How can one completely poo-poo a report where the authors say shit like leave Iran to the United Nations and fuckin' talk to Syria, that sets a timetable of "milestones" for Iraq to achieve, that states "The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq," and more? Because the whole document, massive press coverage and all, carries about as much actual legislative weight as, say, the 9/11 Commission report.

Hell, in that case, we've been told that the vast majority of the recommendations have been carried out, which may be true, in the same way that chimpanzees are mostly the same genetically as human beings, 98.8% so. But, looking at all the nit-eating and shit-throwing, one might think that the remaining 1.2% is crucial.