Friday, December 15, 2006

GWB's "New Way Forward"

If you haven't yet given up all hope that the adults might prevail, read Josh Marshall's comments on GWB's Mao-like "New Way Forward"... and weep. I tell you... the magic-thinkers are in control.
If you haven't seen it yet check out the Strobel & Landay piece from McClatchy (formerly of Knight-Ridder). They've got a run-down on what we can expect from the president's 'new way forward' and going from past experience I'd figured their sources are better than anyone else's.

In very broad outlines, it's been what we've led to expect: troop surge, rejection of Baker-Hamilton proposals. But there are some nuggets in here that add to the picture -- and in ways that would be humorous if there weren't so much on the line.

Here for example ...

-A revised Iraq political strategy aimed at forging a "moderate center" of Shiite Muslim, Sunni Muslim Arab and Kurdish politicians that would bolster embattled Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. The goal would be to marginalize radical Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents.

It's hard to disagree with this. But it's also hard to call it a strategy. Sort of like my new strategy which is to get the folks there to chill out about religion and stop blowing so much stuff up. If wishes were horses ...

Then there's this ...

More money to combat rampant unemployment among Iraqi youths and to advance reconstruction, much of it funneled to groups, areas and leaders who support Maliki and oppose the radicals.

In theory, more money for employment and reconstruction is probably a very good idea, certainly in the context of a phased withdrawal of US troops and broader political settlement. But do you trust these doofuses to spend this money? And, to be clear, I mean our doofuses in this case. I guess a ton of money will probably go to Haliburton's recently acquired Maliki Moderate Inc. Who knows.

And this ...

-Rejection of the study group's call for an urgent, broad new diplomatic initiative in the Middle East to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reach out to Iran and Syria.

Instead, the administration is considering convening a conference of Iraq and neighboring countries - excluding Iran and Syria - as part of an effort to pressure the two countries to stop interfering in Iraq.

Okay, so it'll be us, "Iraq", Jordan and the Saudis holding a conference to get the Syrians and Iranians to stop messing around in Iraq. Why didn't we think of this before?

Here are some other really promising signs ...

Bush appears to have been emboldened by criticism of its proposals as defeatist by members of the Republican Party's conservative wing and their allies on the Internet, the radio and cable TV.

That's excellent. Our C-in-C is sharp enough to get his jones from The Corner rather than the ex-diplomats and foreign policy hands. That's good stuff. Maybe we can swap out John Podhoretz for Chalabi for our approach to Syria.

And of course there's this ...

According to a senior State Department official, the president is listening closely to a former Republican secretary of state, but it isn't Baker. Henry Kissinger, a frequent White House visitor, has been to see Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a half-dozen times, he said.

If you had to pull anybody out of formaldehyde to deal empower the denialists, who would be better?


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