Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Message to the Decider

Okay, Mr. BushCheney. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group has reported. You are about to receive reviews from the Defense and State Departments. A lot of expertise and information are cascading into your office. You are the Decider (remember?) so it's decision time on Iraq. But there's more to a decision than simply announcing it. You need to provide compelling reasons and support for your decision. Here's what I would consider compelling.

A clear, realistic statement of the national security issues facing this nation in Iraq and the broader region of which it is a part. I don't want some hyperbole about how they're coming to kill us all or they hate us for our freedoms. I want to know what the analysts tell you about Iraq and the Middle East. I want to know where analysts and experts agree, where they disagree and how you frame America's national security interests in that context.

Now tell me what you will do to address those security interests and how your strategy will change the situation in our favor. Exactly what will it accomplish and how will you know that it's working? There's been much talk of benchmarks in Iraq but these are usually six months to a year in scope. You need feedback much, much sooner so I want to know what changes and indicators you expect in the first few weeks. Think of it like a battle, where the results are real time and the need to react instantaneous.

Finally, what will you do if the strategy does not meet America's national security goals? Will you honestly re-think the strategy?

Now is the time for honest answers and realistic policies, not something that I associate with your administration, Mr. BushCheney. You have gone through the motions in Iraq: assessing threats, developing strategy and taking action but it's all been false, premised on lies, distortions and rampant fearmongering. All too predictably, you have created a major clusterfuck, destablizing one of the few secular Arab countries, unleashing sectarian violence and creating a destination for jihadis. So this time, I want more than words. I want to see the details. I sure as hell have no reason to trust you.

And you need to act quickly. Every day at least two Americans and scores of Iraqis die.


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