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14 December 2006

Baker-Hamilton report vs. The Great Noble Patriotic War in Iraq

I don't know if this is ever going to appear in The Sioux City Journal. So read it on Vleeptron. Then read the sick-o right-wing crap that inspired it.

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Letter to the Editor
Sioux City Journal
Sioux City, South Dakota USA

To the Editor:

In "Should Bush listen to the Iraq Study Group?" (14 December) Michael McNeil has hosed up some predictable neo-con attacks on the Baker-Hamilton Iraq commission report, and paints a picture of a bad plan for America contaminated with politics lacking in principles and values.

In short, as the Baker-Hamilton commission has offered ways to rescue our American soldiers and Marines from being useless targets in the worsening religious/ethnic civil war in Iraq, McNeil is touting and recycling the advice of the very ideological lunatics who gave us The Mother Of All Bad Plans and the most politically contaminated of all advice to America.

McNeil is recommending Americans listen to the same flag-waving drunk drivers who started this pre-lost war.

A hint of McNeil's prejudices can be seen in his description of Rush Limbaugh as "mainstream radio host." You have to be politically to the right of Joe McCarthy to call Limbaugh "mainstream."

The War in Iraq has now lasted longer than it took America to achieve unconditional victory against Germany, Italy and Japan in World War Two. About 3000 of our neighbors' sons and daughters have come home in flag-draped coffins. You can see what Bush and these neo-cons have done at

The Baker-Hamilton commission has no magic, simple solution, but McNeil never compares the commission's recommendations with The Elephant in the Bathtub: Bush's disaster of starting the Iraq War in the first place. If you notice the elephant and make the comparison, Baker-Hamilton looks refreshingly wise and sane.

A plan to get America out of Iraq and safeguard our neighbors' children has to be more deserving of our consideration and more precious to America than another blundering decade of this war, with no positive accomplishments for America, and thousands more military coffins.

McNeil waves his flag and screams: Stay the course!

He can cheerlead for more of this doomed war with perfect safety. This war, there's no draft.

McNeil quotes neocon Jonah Goldberg: "Nowhere does the commission ever seriously consider how to win the war in Iraq. Why?"

Because there is no military way to win the war in Iraq. We've sent the world's mightiest military to the barn and ordered it to milk cows; we've handed the world's mightiest military a pile of straw and ordered our troops to spin gold.

That most Americans have no direct memories of the Vietnam War is no excuse for the lunatic advice McNeil wants us to follow in Iraq. Whoever's advice our political elite follow, our cornerstone must be the wise use and the safeguarding of our soldiers and Marines.

Endlessly letting them die, be maimed, return with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, with no achievements possible, is not a plan, and it certainly does not reflect "values" or "principles." It's a continuing criminal conspiracy.

Bob Merkin
Northampton Massachusetts
US Army 1969-1971


Sioux City Journal
Sioux City, South Dakota USA
Thursday 14 December 2006

Should Bush listen
to the Iraq Study Group

by Michael McNeil

In a textbook example of how the mainstream media like to couch a news development with subtle bias, the Iraq Study Group has been trumpeted across the land. The press is yammering about the importance of the president swallowing the report whole and adopting all of its recommendations. Sources that are supportive of this view are typically referred to as "non-partisan" or at least referenced in a way that disguises any liberal leanings or agenda (such as when the liberal Brookings Institute is simply referred to as a "policy think tank"). In the spirit of equal time, I have assembled my own study group for the president’s consideration.

The Iraq Study Group was created to critique our Iraq policy. My fictitious panel was formed to critique their report. Let’s call it the ISG Study Group (the Iraq Study Group Study Group). Cut me some slack. It’s the best I could come up with on two hours' sleep.

Writing for National Review, moderate columnist and author Jonah Goldberg weighed in on Dec. 8 concerning the report. His objective analysis follows: "In short, Baker did not seek to find a solution for Iraq at all. His mission was to stuff a grab bag with enough mundane blather that nine graybeards plus Sandra Day O’Connor could assent without really risking anything. Indeed, former Justice O’Connor was a perfect choice given her preternatural gift for reaching decisions with no discernible principle to them other than the need to please everybody a little. Yogi Berra once said, 'If you come to a fork in the road, take it.' That, it seems, was the commission’s approach." His column later succinctly remarked, "Nowhere does the commission ever seriously consider how to win the war in Iraq. Why? Because winning is no longer a possible consensus position. And pulling out isn’t a consensus position either. So rather than a real strategy about Iraq, we get Laodicean tripe about how the Iraq Study Group is our last best hope to unite Americans. I’m sorry, but that wasn’t its mandate."

Mr. Goldberg isn’t the only policy analyst who takes issue with the group's findings. Writing for the non-partisan policy think tank World Net Daily (on Friday), highly respected commentator Joseph Farah sees the two major findings as: engaging Iran and Syria in resolving the Iraq conflict and fast-tracking the creation of a Palestinian state by carving up Israel. He finds fault with this: "One shouldn't have to point out at this late date that Syria and Iran represent the principal problem in the region, not the solution. But, for moral relativists like Baker and others with less impure motives who just don't understand the Middle East, I guess it is necessary to restate the obvious."

Mainstream radio host Rush Limbaugh contributed to the ISG Study Group’s critique by quoting Margaret Thatcher during his Dec. 7 program on the subject of "consensus" which has been the operative buzz word to describe the report: "To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects."

Well said. That quote will serve as the ISG Study Group’s summary of last week’s policy report. As noted earlier, the panel includes myself and three other moderate voices who are non-partisan and have only the best interests of the nation at heart.

Michael McNeil is a free-lance writer from Dakota City, Neb. You can write to him in care of The Journal or at

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