When the Iraq Study Group finished its all-night cram session and released its term paper just in time for finals, (Media Day) one of its recommendations was that we should be talking with Iran and Syria independently without the presence of Israel, our only true ally in the Middle East.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I usually don't take to calling people stupid, especially when they are supposed to have some brains and may just be uninformed. But this is stupid.

Pundits all across the political spectrum, with the exception of those masochists who advocate surrender so they can be beaten, whipped and humiliated to their heart's content, are hard pressed to find anything of value in this recommendation.

Why, oh why didn't we think of that in WWII? I'm sure Hitler or Tojo would have loved to sit down and talk with us while their armies solidified their positions, resupplied, and continued work on developing jet fighters and A-bombs.

Let's get this right out on the table. Israel has been carrying the baggage for the United States and the rest of the free world in the fight against terrorism for more than a generation. Israel is at the tip of the spear, fighting our fights, doing our dirty work and taking the brunt of the damage that in the long run is intended for us.

In the wider view of the World War of Terror, Israel is not about religion, or culture, or ethnicity. Israel is all about being a visible and effective symbol of the refusal of freedom-loving people to knuckle under to extremists, sadists, sexists, bigots, murderers, rapists and fascists.

Israel has stood solidly against the very people who want to defeat, subjugate and enslave the rest of the world, enduring invasions, homicide-bombings, kidnappings and near daily rocket and mortar attacks, while many of the very people who continue to enjoy their freedom due to the sacrifices of the Israelis, now are working against them.

Just look at the people endorsing the concept of talking with Iran and Syria.

Former President Jimmy Carter! The very guy who got this all started by his namby-pamby, turn-the-other-cheek approach to foreign relations. The guy who stood around and did nothing when Green Bean Almandine, now the leader of Iran, then a vicious big-mouthed "student" leader, invaded the American embassy in Tehran and took our people hostage. Need I remind you that the hostages were released almost immediately after Ronald Reagan took office because he made no bones about what would happen to Iran if they weren't?

Then there is former President Bill Clinton! This is the guy who ignored signal after signal of the terrorists' true intent toward our country, bragged about ineffectively winging four-dozen or so cruise missiles into a training camp and a pharmacy, while his law-and-order approach to terrorism brought only more destruction and death to us!

Who in their right mind, other than the World Terrorist Media and its local subsidiary the American Terrorist Media, would take these guys seriously?

We gain nothing from talking to our enemies while they still are our enemies, other than buying them time to continue to build their forces against us, meanwhile weakening our own resolve.

Do you know why the American public rejected the Republicans in Congress and the Senate last month? Not because of Israel, not because of the war in Iraq, not because of the myriad false claims by the Democrats.

The American public rejected the Republican Congress, primarily by not voting at all, because Congress got weak, Congress got mushy, Congress got indecisive. The Republicans in Congress didn't tell the president in no uncertain terms to unleash the full power of our military to beat the terrorists so hard that their ancestors quake and their offspring shake.

America backs winners and America wants to be the ultimate winner. Period. We want the Super Bowl, the World Series, the most Olympic gold -- summer and winter -- and we have no qualms about working to achieve those goals. Americans do not tolerate people posing as strong leaders who, when the going gets tough, turn out to be weak, ineffectual losers.

Think I'm wrong? Look at the stands at any National Football League game this weekend. Winning teams, packed stadiums. Losing teams, plenty of empty seats. Hell, watch any game in progress. If the home team is playing like a bunch of bums the stands will be emptying out long before the end of the third-quarter.

This country is comprised of people who rejected the simpering, hand-wringing, aristocratic, autocratic, despotic, elitist governments that existed elsewhere. This country is comprised of people who wanted an effective voice in their future and the future of their children. This country is comprised of people who know what needs to be done, how to do it and when to do it, and they will not back anything that remotely smacks of the failed systems elsewhere.

But what did they get from the Iraq Study Group? European style appeasement, hand-wringing and whining. That report essentially said this elite group couldn't come up with anything better than what President Bush is already doing, although you won't find that assessment widely circulated by the WTM, especially not in the Associated Press.

So if that is the best they can do, it just might mean that we already are doing what needs to be done, but perhaps not enthusiastically enough. Meaning, untie our troops' hands, back off these stupid rules of engagement that at the whim of terrorists posing as downtrodden Sunnis or Shiites can put our people in brigs and stockades that are far harsher than Guantanamo, and let our people fight!

We are not losing as the WTM and ATM are claiming. But we will if we don't step up and get deadly serious about this war. Which means no back channel or back room appeasement discussions with our enemies and no excluding our allies, particularly Israel.

It has been reported that James Baker III, the co-chair of Iraq Study Group (who came up with that candy-assed name anyway?) has a long history of anti-Israeli comments and actions, going back to his time as Secretary of State for the first President Bush. Fox News reported Thursday that the report is seen as containing many of the anti-Israel positions he took nearly two decades ago, which for me, is a prime reason why it should be rejected out of hand.

Baker may not be anti-Semitic, but he sure makes a good case that he is anti-Israel.

These guys even want to give back the Golan Heights, won by Israel at such a terrible price in the 1967 Six Day War! Give back the Golan Heights? Are they nuts?

There is a reason why the military puts such an emphasis on capturing the high ground. The vantage point the high ground affords gives a decided edge in intelligence gathering since you can see more in all directions, it gives the edge in launching artillery and air strikes and protecting your own forces, and it is much, much harder for the opposition to retake a high position, fighting uphill all the way, than to overrun a position that is on the flatlands.

Why on earth would Israel give up such a strategic spot? Why does Syria want it? Are there precious mineral or oil deposits there, historic or religious sites that are part of the essential fabric of Syrian existence? Nope, none of the above.

Syria wants the Golan Heights because they provide all the advantages I mentioned above. Syria wants the US to pressure Israel to give up the Golan Heights through 'diplomacy' because Syria has a snowball's chance in hell of taking them back militarily. Which is exactly why Israel should never give them up, and we should reject out of hand any recommendation from any panel that even broaches this subject.

Once and for all, Israel is our forward artillery post, our forward air control position, our forward listening post. Whatever you see happening there, eventually is coming here, unless we stand by our ally and ensure that the continued existence of the Israeli state is the bedrock of any strategy we undertake.

Anything less and we are signing our own death warrants.