The ISG Report and its recommendations are history and now a report written by Robert Kagan and Gen. Jack Keane under AEI auspices is the key to understand Bush's mind regarding America's near-term future in Iraq. But as I wrote earlier, the significance of the ISG report was not so much in its recommendations but in the mainstream power establishment's public repudiation of the Bush/Cheney policy.
And so the first question to be answered was whether Bush Jr. would recognize that the political reality had changed and like Lyndon Johnson and eventually Nixon/Kissinger recognize that there was no point continuing. Well it didn't take long to realize that Bush was not going to make the adjustment, but that doesn't mean that the political power behind the ISG report was going to evaporate. It's still there, and you can be sure it's part of the reason the Democrats seem to be getting a spine, because the next question to be answered was whether the new Democratic congress would finally stand up against the president. Statements this week by Murtha, Pelosi, and Reid are encouraging signs that they will. Had the ISG report not come out, I doubt that the Dems would have been able to unite in resistance as they seem now resolved to do.
We'll see if that's the case. This is a hugely important and historically significant showdown between an embattled and discredited minority that is still in the driver's seat at the White House and the Congress allied with the nation's power establishment. It's going to be very interesting to see how this plays out in the next several weeks. I'm feeling better about the outcome, but I also believe that the Bush/Cheney people are capable of anything, and they don't care about the price that everyone else will have to pay to save their own asses. It's unlikely they will back down without causing more damage one way or the other.
In the meanwhile for an excellent overview of the basic strategy behind the Kagan-Keane surge idea, read this post by this former CIA analyst Peter Dickson at Consortium News. By the way, if you haven't already, you should make Consortium News a regular stop in your web reading. Robert Parry, for years a reporter for the Associated Press, has been for me a trusted source of information about issues rarely explored by the MSM.
Do his stories have a liberal bias? At this point the question is ridiculous to me, because as I wrote yesterday, the real conflict in our political culture at this time is not between liberals and conservatives but between the constitutionalists bloc which seeks to defend traditional rights and liberties from the encroachments of the authoritarian bloc which seeks to take them away in the name of national security. The conflict there is far more important than whether your opinion on this or that issue, whether its the future of social security or what to do about healthcare. Recognizing that this is the most important conflict of our day is the criterion I use to determine whether I can take someone seriously or not, and I fervently believe that no other issue's resolution is more important for our political future. And that therefore there is no more important task than to unmask, discredit, and repudiate the authoritarian bloc as a cancer.
There are plenty of "liberal" Democrats who don't get it. Sherrod Brown, who voted for the MCA, comes to mind, and for that reason I see him as dangerous. And when it comes to so-called moderates like McCain, Lieberman, and Graham I can only actively oppose them root and branch. Brown is at best a line straddler, but these three have clearly taken their stand on the other side of the line as collaborationists with the authoritarian bloc. Their political power lies in their projection of "reasonableness" while at the same time appealing to the latent authoritarianism and militarism in the American psyche, and there is no greater danger to our republic than that latency becoming even more active.
In any event, there is no question on which side of the line Robert Parry stands, and he is an invaluable information resource for those patriots in the Constitutionalist bloc who care about preserving the Republic.