Iraq: Before the Spin
Come the Baker-Hamilton Commission Report on Wednesday, there will be spin enough to make the most sober-sided dizzy. That’s why it might be worth the effort to look at Anthony Cordesman’s briefing (CSIS, November 29, 2006) http://www.csis.org/images/stories/burke/061128_iraq_briefing_transcript.pdf and accompanying report.
This from the briefing: Cordesman: “I think this is going to be a real crisis for American society. If all we do is react to past failures by trying to find the easiest way out, or some simple option we can use as at least an excuse, then we necessarily will make things far worse.”
A few excerpts: “It is not, frankly, meaningful to try to blame the Iraqi government for the problems that exist today… ”The idea that when yoou send the bull into liberate a china shop, you blame the china shop for breaking the china is, shall we say, somewhat ingenuous…
“We need to understand how far this spills. It doesn’t just impact on the Gulf with the 60 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves; it impacts on the Arab-Israeli conflict and perceptions in Lebanon…. We have, at a minimum, to seek to constantly try to contain and ameliorate this, even if we fail to preserve this government, because, frankly, the odds are that things will get worse, not better. What we cannot do is withdraw and let things spiral out of control….”
Cordesman’s usual careful analysis and fact-gathering is in the November 30 report. http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_pubs/task,view/id,3621/type,1/