Dean Barnett doesn’t like what’s he’s read so far:
From what we know so far, the Baker Commission is going to recommend that we cut troop levels in Iraq, attempt to make nicey-nice with our determined enemies in Iran and Syria, and demand Israeli concessions to serve as the deus ex machina to bring about peace in our time. In a word, oy vey!
WE KNOW WHO’S GOING to love the Baker Commission recommendations. The Democrats at home who think getting out of Iraq is the only thing that matters will jump aboard the report as an intellectual life raft. Bereft of any ideas of their own for the past five years, Democrats will seize on the report as cover for getting our illiterate children in the armed forces home.
But the Iranian mullahs will be even happier. The Baker Commission report will give them the same feeling that Hitler got in Munich â€“ these men will not fight. They will see a solid chunk of the American body politic eager to sell out an ally while making concessions to our enemies without requiring those enemies to fire a single shot.
But here’s the killer part: Even if President Bush does the right thing and shoves this report in a part of James Baker’s anatomy where the sun don’t shine, the Commission will still do incalculable harm. The media, the Democrats and even many Republicans have already given the Baker Commission the sheen of omniscience once wrongly bestowed upon the 9/11 Commission. Regardless of the obtuseness of the Baker Commission’s recommendations, they will be hailed as genius and indisputable by wide swaths of the public.
Our country will look ridiculous. And a country like ours can’t afford to look ridiculous. Or weak. Especially at this point in history.
Andrew McCarthy doesn’t like it, either:
So now comes James Baker’s Iraq Study Group, riding in on its bipartisan white horse to save the day. The democracy project having failed, this blue-ribbon panel’s solution is: Let’s talk.
Let’s talk with our enemies, Iran and Syria. Let’s talk with terror abettors as if they were good guys — just like us. As if they were just concerned neighbors trying to stop the bloodshed in Iraq â€¦ instead of the dons who’ve been commanding it all along.
Someone, please explain something to me: How does it follow that, because Islamic cultures reject democracy, we somehow need to talk to Iran and Syria?
What earthly logic that supports talking with these Islamic terrorists would not also support negotiating with al Qaeda — a demarche not even a Kennedy School grad would dare propose?
When I grew up in The Bronx, there were street gangs. You mostly stayed away from them, and, if you really had to, you fought with them. But I never remember anyone saying, “Gee, maybe if we just talk with them ….”
Nor do I remember, in two decades as a prosecutor, anyone saying, “Y’know, maybe if we just talk with these Mafia guys, we could achieve some kind of understanding …”
Sitting down with evil legitimizes evil. As a practical matter, all it accomplishes is to convey weakness. This spring — after trumpeting the Bush Doctrine’s “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” slogan for five years — Secretary of State Rice pathetically sought to bribe Iran out of its nuclear program with a menu of all carrots and no sticks â€¦ and certainly no demand that the mullahs stop fomenting terror. The result? They’re still laughing at us, even as they build their bombs, harbor al Qaeda operatives, and arm the militias killing American soldiers in Iraq.
While our rhetoric blathers that we’ll never let them have a nuke, our talk begs them, pretty-please, to stop building one. And our actions all but hand them one. If all that makes you wonder who’s the superpower, what do you suppose they’re thinking?
For our own sake, we need to respect the enemy. That means grasping that he’s implacable, that he means us only harm, and that he must be subdued, not appeased. Negotiating with such evil is always a mistake, for any accommodation with evil is, by definition, evil.