If you, like myself, are among the few people left who seriously want the United States to win the war in Iraq, it’s becoming harder and harder to crawl out of bed each morning not feeling like a nattering nabob of negativism. I don’t mean that infamous alliterative string of verbiage in the same sense that it was meant by former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew when he used it in a speech in 1970. At that time he was referring to all the anti-Vietnam War types:

“In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club — the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.”

Apparently, White House speechwriters of the time, William Safire and Pat Buchanan, were vexingly vivacious with alliterative turns of phrase. Be that as it may, when I talk about feeling like a nattering nabob of negativism I’m talking about my growing dismay with what seems like an inescapable tendency on the part of most Americans towards finding some kind of way out of Iraq that doesn’t include anything remotely resembling victory.

Just the other day, for instance, the long-awaited and much ballyhooed Iraq Study Group (ISG) report finally came out and . . . Well, let’s just say that it was a bit of a disappointment, though not an unexpected one. Sort of like those semi-regular Charles Manson parole board hearings. There’s no way the guy is ever going to get any good news and he knows that going in.

Iraq Study Group? ISG? Give me a break. Five minutes into the presentation it was already being called the Iraq Surrender Group. Talk about an acronym designed for ridicule. How about the Insipid Seniors Gathering? Or maybe the Incontinent Senile Geezers. Ba-da-bing! And then there’s Incessantly Surreal Gabfest. Or maybe Inducing Snores and Guffaws. Hey, I got a million of ‘em.

But seriously, folks. This thing is filled with nothing but hackneyed platitudes and useless suggestions that have already been talked to death by every radio and cable tv talk show in the country. The guy who cuts your hair or drives you to the airport could almost certainly have come up with better suggestions. That’s because barbers, cab drivers and other denizens of the workaday world are often imbued with more common sense than the average think tank blowhard or has-been politician who operates almost exclusively in the theoretical.

Nonetheless, members of the mainstream media, who consider themselves to be members of a small, elite group of the planet’s most enlightened, were simply bowled over by the ISG report. In fact, if journalistic protocol had allowed for applause, the reporters would have brought the house down and then held up lighters for an encore. Why? Because the report basically confirmed what they already believed and were dying to hear in some sort of official capacity: that a victory in Iraq is impossible and that the time has come to negotiate with enemies such as Iran and Syria in order to facilitate some sort of honorable retreat from the country.

Of course, the media was never interested in a victory from the get-go since they saw the whole thing as nothing more than a craven Bush/Cheney/ Halliburton oil and power grab. Present them with the many credible reasons for going into Iraq and here’s what you’ll get:

Sure, Saddam was a bad guy, we can all agree with that, but war never solves anything. Mass graves in Saddam-ruled Iraq filled with hundreds of thousands? Yes, but at least the country was stable then. Saddam had his guys daily shooting at our planes that were there to enforce the no-fly zones? Yeah, but most of the time they missed. Saddam paid $25,000 bounties to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers? Okay, but it’s not like he was in cahoots with al-Qaeda and planned 9/11 with them. Saddam was in violation of umpteen UN resolutions? Please, so is Israel. Every intelligence service on earth said he had WMD? Lots of countries have them, but we’re not invading them. Oh — and did we mention that war never solves anything and the ISG report is the final conclusive and resounding proof of that? We told you we are all brilliant!

So what exactly did the ISG geniuses come up with in the way of advice on how to solve the problems in Iraq? There are 79 official recommendations, among them these gems: Work on a solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict and engage the Iranians in serious diplomacy. Regarding the former, don’t make me laugh. Regarding the latter, ditto.

Okay, so I’ve cherry-picked two of the most preposterous, but c’mon, talk to Iran? Sure, okay, but we’ll probably need to wait at least until after the big conference they’re having this week whose goal is to once and for all debunk the idea that a Jewish Holocaust ever occurred. And then we’ll have to somehow work it into President Ahmadgenocide’s — er, I mean, Ahmadinejad’s — busy schedule of daily speeches in which he brags about the progress of Iran’s nuke program, routinely calls for the destruction of Israel and threatens the West with extinction if it doesn’t get right with Allah.

Most of the ISG’s 79 recommendations are either breathtakingly obvious platitudes or utter fantasies that don’t have a chance in hell of ever happening in most of our lifetimes. In that vein, let me toss out my suggestion for number 80: We should work to convince everybody in the Middle East to give up and renounce fanatical Islam so that the cycle of terrorism can be ended and the region can finally enter the modern world.

There, now no one can say that all I’ve done has been to criticize the magnificent ISG report without coming up with any alternative suggestions of my own. Hey, all in a day’s work. I now look forward to all the think tank invitations that should soon be pouring in.

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/

[Edited by Simon – Added Categories]

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