It's not as if the Baker commission has accomplished nothing, however. Although its recommendations will have no effect on American policy going forward, they have already had a very damaging effect throughout the world, and especially in the Middle East and in Iraq. For the Iraq Study Group, aided by supportive American media, has successfully conveyed the impression to everyone at home and abroad that the United States is about to withdraw from Iraq. This has weakened American allies and strengthened American enemies. It has exacerbated the problems in Iraq, as all the various factions in that country begin to prepare for the "inevitable" American retreat. Now it will require enormous efforts by the president and his advisers to dispel the disastrous impression that the Baker commission has quite deliberately created and will continue to foster in the weeks ahead. At home and abroad, people have been led to believe that Jim Baker and not the president was going to call the shots in Iraq from now on.Lowry has already voiced the observation, shared by many, that the President is adrift. The question was asked on Brit Hume's panel discussion tonight whether the President is out of touch with the reality of the war in Iraq. I have said that the President seemed to be waiting too long for the various reports. It's not good for the country for the Executive to be seen as "fiddling." Fortunately, in the past few days, Bush has made some emphatic statements concerning his resolve to establish a democratic government in Iraq. Today, Kagan and Kristol responded.
We remain dissatisfied with the way the president has allowed his Pentagon and top military officers to persist in what has proved to be an ineffective strategy in Iraq. We hope that he will now take the steps necessary to accomplish his stated objectives in Iraq, including a substantial increase in the number of U.S. forces in Baghdad and throughout the contested parts of the country, as well as a long overdue increase in the total size of American ground forces so that higher force levels in Iraq can be sustained. But right now we can only applaud the president's courage and determination and his willingness to resist the pressures of those who would now sound the retreat.
--Robert Kagan and William Kristol
"The Queen", currently in theaters is about the 7 or so days immediately following the death of Princess Diana. Diana was no longer a member of the Royal family and the Windsors felt that her funeral arrangements were a matter for her family, the Spencers, to handle as they saw fit. Unfortunately, for them, the English people felt that her death was a matter for the state. Large crowds gathered daily outside Buckingham Palace and wanted the family flag flown at half-mast. The public began to see the Royal family as cold and indifferent to the death of Diana. The Royal family sequestered themselves at Balmoral thinking that the bad publicity and ill feelings toward the Queen would pass as the country realized that the "grieving hysterics" were wrong. They reasoned that the flag had never been lowered to half mast in 400 years and indeed wouldn't be even when the Queenmother died. It was up to the new "modernising" Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to convince the Queen that the Royal Family must go against everything that she had been taught and practiced her entire life about English reserve and the "stiff upper lip." Blair told her that polls showed 25% of the English people were ready to abolish the monarchy. The Queen realizing that she was out of touch with her constituency, "modernized" and breaking with tradition, the Royal family made a public display at the gates of Balmoral and Buckingham palace. Crisis averted.
Is the President out of touch or does he know more than I do about the situation in Iraq? Of course he does, and besides, I get my information from the MSM. But time is short. Too short to wait for more studies. We know what needs to be done and the first step is to begin restoring resolve in the country. The best way to do that is to start taking names and kicking ass in Iraq.