Some dubious Churchill awards

The Churchill Centre here in Washington, D.C. has awarded the first Winston Churchill Award for Statesmanship to James A. Baker and Lee Hamilton. To add to the joke, it has given Chris Matthews a “lifetime achievement” award.
Let’s focus on the award that some may take seriously — the one to Baker and Hamilton. The Churchill Centre makes its award to them “for bringing people of diverse political beliefs together in the Iraq Study Group, which resulted in critical policy recommendations, many of which are already being implemented.” This is bizarre at several levels. First, Churchill was not a fan of losing wars and of inviting one’s enemies to broker the defeat. This, in essence, is what the Iraq Study Group under Baker and Hamilton recommended.
Second, the salient point about the aftermath of the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations is that President Bush decided more or less to do the opposite of what that group recommended. The ensuing troop surge has helped deal a devastating blow to al Qaeda and has significantly enhanced security in Iraq. One strongly suspects that Churchill would applaud Bush for blowing off the defeatist recommendations of Baker and Hamilton and employing a strategy that offers the possibility of some form of victory.
Third, (and Scott can correct me if I’m wrong here) it’s not clear that Churchill placed a high premium on “bringing people of diverse political beliefs together” when it comes to formulating war policy. In any case, I doubt that for Churchill the desire for diverstiy would have trumped the need for clear-headed thinking about how to prevail.
Beyond Iraq, there are additional reasons to ridicule an award to Baker and Hamilton in Churchill’s name. Joshua Muravchik presents them.
The Churchill Centre (which describes itself as “politically non-partisan but not apolitical”) nonetheless concludes that Churchill would admire what Baker, Hamilton and Mathews have “added to what might loosely be called Western Civilization.” Again, I’ll defer to Scott, but I wonder whether Churchill would admire the phrase “what might loosely be called Western Civilization.” Churchill, who did not favor speaking “loosely,” preferred to talk of English speaking civilization, if I’m not mistaken.
The awards will be presented to Baker, Hamilton, and Mathews by John Podesta, the former Clinton operative and left-wing “think tank” impresario.
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