Monday, August 20, 2007

Where Are The Op-Eds From The Real Experts? (Updated)

By Cernig

Why are we being given pundits by the corporate media, instead of experts?
More than half of top U.S. foreign policy experts oppose President George W. Bush's troop increase as a strategy for stabilizing Baghdad, saying the plan has harmed U.S. national security, according to a new survey.

...53 percent of the experts polled by Foreign Policy magazine and the Center for American Progress said they now oppose Bush's troop build-up.

That is a 22 percentage point jump since the strategy was announced early this year.

The survey of 108 experts, including Republicans and Democrats, showed opposition to the so-called "surge" across the political spectrum, with about two-thirds of conservatives saying it has been ineffective or made things worse in Iraq.

Foreign Policy, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the experts polled on May 23 to June 26 included former government officials in senior positions including secretary of state, White House national security adviser and top military commanders.

The findings were published in the form of a Terrorism Index in the magazine's September/October issue, to be released on Monday. The magazine published similar indices in July 2006 and in February.

...Foreign Policy said seven of 10 experts supported the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. Experts have increasingly cited the war as the root cause of what they believe to be U.S. failure to win in its war on terrorism.

Ninety-one percent of those polled said the world has grown more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10 percent from February.

More than 80 percent of the experts said they expected another September 11-scale attack on the United States over the next decade, despite what they described as significant improvements among U.S. security, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

A decade from now, the Middle East still will be reeling from the ill-effects of the Iraq war, particularly heightened Sunni-Shi'ite tensions in the region, 58 percent said.

Thirty-five percent believed Arab dictators will have been discouraged from pursuing political reforms as a result.

Only 3 percent believed the United States will achieve its goal of rebuilding Iraq into a beacon of democracy within the next 10 years.
So how come we only ever seem to hear from the likes of Pollock and O'Hanlon, Krauthammer and the AEI's crew of pirates - you know, the vocal minority?

Update The Foreign Policy website gives even more juicy goodness from their study.

On Pakistan. More experts think pakistan will be the nation "most likely to become the next al Qaeda stronghold" than Iraq. The majority also think pakistan is the nation "most likely to transfer nuclear technology to terrorists in the next three to five years." Although "more than half of those surveyed believe the current U.S. policy toward Pakistan is having a negative impact on U.S. national security," the experts can't agree what to do about it. Equal numbers favor sanctions on the Pakistani regime and giving Pakistan more U.S. aid.

Will The Enemy Follow Us Home? No, according to the FP's survey of experts.
Only 12 percent believe that terrorist attacks would occur in the United States as a direct result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. Eighty-eight percent of the experts said that either such a scenario was unlikely or that they see no connection between a troop withdrawal from Iraq and terrorist attacks inside the United States. This line of thinking was consistent across party lines, with 58 percent of conservatives saying they did not believe terrorist attacks would occur at home as a result of a military drawdown in Iraq.
Can we now expect to hear this in the op-ed pages? Will pro-occupation politicians acknowledge this hefty majority of opinion? Of course not.

Should We Stay Or Should We Go? 68% of the surveyed experts think the U.S. should redeploy forces from Iraq over the next 18 months and another 20% say a withdrawal should begin now.

Although FP doesn't explicitly say so that means a massive 83% think a withdrawal should begin right now. I'm sure the FP's experts know the time constraints and I feel it's a bit "truthy" of them not to be explicit that an 18 month date on withdrawal means beginning now, since any withdrawal (or redeployment if you prefer that term) would take at least 18 months to conduct without panic conditions.

The Next Front In The Middle East? Although many have talked about spillover from the Iraq misadventure igniting violence in Saudi Arabia or Turkey, more than twice as many experts pinpointed Jordan as the biggest potential flashpoint as any other nation. That bears watching.

The Experts Vs The Candidates
Sen. Hillary Clinton: “I believe we are safer than we were.”--June 3, 2007

Terrorism Index Experts: A huge majority, 91 percent, believe the world is growing more dangerous for Americans and the United States.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “I support the president’s increase in troops. Even more importantly, I support the change in strategy. . . .”--Jan. 10, 2007

Terrorism Index Experts: The majority, 83 percent, believe the surge has had either a negative impact or no impact at all on the war in Iraq.

Sen. John McCain: “We lose this war and come home, they’ll follow us home.”--March 10, 2007

Terrorism Index Experts: Nearly 9 in 10 say that they do not believe terrorist attacks would occur inside the United States as the result of a withdrawal from Iraq.

Sen. Barack Obama: “We must maintain the isolation of Hamas.”--March 2, 2007

Terrorism Index Experts: More than 70 percent believe the United States should engage, not isolate, Hamas.

Gov. Mitt Romney: “This is a time . . . to increase our diplomatic isolation of Iran.”--Feb. 18, 2007

Terrorism Index Experts: Eight in 10 support engaging in bilateral dialogue with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Sen. John Edwards: “[Congress] should correct its mistake and use its constitutional funding power to force an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.”--July 10, 2007

Terrorism Index Experts: Almost 80 percent of the experts oppose an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
The last one is a bit dishonest, as I've noted above. Other than that, the candidates come out as singularly misinformed and way too belligerent in trying to talk tough for the voters.

The Worst Ally? Is Russia, according to the experts, and by a wide margin ever over such dodgy friends as the Saudis and Pakistan. The experts cite Russian resistance to American policies that the experts themselves say are badly flawed and Russia's current clampdown on free speech. It looks like the experts are all happy with the Cold War paradigm and don't really want to let it go.

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