Bush Reaction to ISG Report Worries Father’s Aides

U.S. News reports that unnamed “Former White House advisers to George H.W. Bush are keenly disappointed and concerned about the current
President Bush’s initial reaction to the report by the Iraq Study Group” which they term “dismissive.”

First, I find it amusing that these people are sniping to the press and don’t even have the intestinal fortitude to put their names in print.

Second, Bush’s public reaction to the report has been fawning praise about how “important” it is. He’s promised to treat it seriously. Shoot, he claims to have actually taken time to read it.

Third, and most importantly, almost every serious foreign policy analyst who has looked at the report has been largely dismissive of it. It’s a mishmash of pie-in-the-sky proposals and meet-in-the-middle compromises that few think offer a useful roadmap.

Now this, on the other hand, is probably true:

“We have a classic case of circling the wagons,” says a former adviser to Bush the elder. “If President Bush changes his policy in Iraq in a fundamental way, it undermines the whole premise of his presidency. I just don’t believe he will ever do that.”

Nor do I, if by “fundamental” we mean abandoning the mission. Set up summit meetings to see if he can’t get Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Persians, Sunni and Shia to grow apple trees and honeybees, and snow white turtledoves, and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony? Sure. He can’t be seen as “dismissive” of such a serious and important set of recommendations, after all.

But he’s unlikely to set absurd deadlines and then abandon the Iraqis to their fate if they don’t magically achieve them.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michael says:

    Nor do I, if by “fundamental” we mean abandoning the mission.

    And what is the “mission” anymore James?

  2. anjin-san says:

    Unfortunately “The Mission” is just some crap they made up when it turned out the original premise for the war was nonsense…

    Hardly a strategy for a good outcome.

  3. ken says:

    James, you are a total ass. Your snide dismissal of credible efforts to extricate us out of this morass does not make you look tough. It makes you look ignorant.

    The war on Iraq is lost. Get used to it. Deal with it.

    We are not going to fight our way to victory. That path has been closed off for years. We lost. Thanks to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and Rice we lost.

    Think of the consequences of this disaster and how we can deal with them. The time for the keyboard commandos is over. Now is the time for all of us to accept this defeat and figure out a way to deal with it.