Friday :: Mar 24, 2006

Will Poppy And The Dems Bail Junior Out Of Iraq?

by Steve

Let’s spend a moment or two on some Iraq developments away from the daily bad news. First, I think we are supposed to glean from this report that Rummy and Tommy Franks spent more time using the Russians to plant misinformation with Saddam about our battle plans than they spent in actually writing up an effective plan for the occupation and post-invasion security. This sounds typical Bush Administration to me, which is why I believe it. They are better at misinformation and deceit than they are on actually developing winning strategies or policies.

Second, play along with me on the idea of permanent bases. Let’s say that we build four of them, capable of supplying the United States with force projection for 30,000-40,000 of our soldiers and airmen. What do we exactly plan to do with them? They can only be used in countries that allow us to deploy and attack there, so we are really ruling out all of these countries except Iraq and Afghanistan, because an attack by our forces in any of the other countries in the region would be an act of war against a sovereign state without even a UN resolution to paper it over.

Third, Eleanor Clift reports in Newsweek that Poppy Bush’s crew is set to rescue W and Cheney from their not-so-excellent Iraqi adventure. Clift says that a congressionally required Iraq Study Group will be headed by Mr. Fixer himself, James Baker, who will be tasked along with others of digging Bush and Cheney out of their mess, by doing the things that all of us were saying needed to be done years ago. And who endorses this effort wholeheartedly?

Joe Wilson.

The commission was the inspiration of Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, a thoughtful moderate with genuine concerns about his party’s policies in Iraq. He also has an important seat on the House Appropriations Committee, which decides the State Department’s budget, so when it comes to diplomacy, he has a captive audience. Wolf has been calling for a fresh look at Iraq since at least last fall, and his main criterion for choosing the commission’s 11 bipartisan members was that they bring a wow factor, that their very names would command attention. Co-chairing with Baker is the Democrats’ Mr. Integrity, former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, who is fresh from co-chairing the 9/11 commission. Among the other luminaries are former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Clinton’s confidant—superlawyer Vernon Jordan. “They’re going to go everywhere and look at this thing and come up with something, and the president will pay attention,” vows a foreign-policy specialist who helped shape the idea.
The prospect of getting bailed out by his daddy’s buddy must rankle Bush, but he needs a new approach. He can’t keep asserting, as he did this week, that we’re at war and he’s got a plan for victory. Baker has an enviable track record in the diplomatic and political arenas, but he didn’t do handstands when he got called to serve. “It’s like being called over to the White House when you’re 25 points behind and you’re made chief of staff,” says a former colleague. “The odds are against finding a solution.” Still, if anybody can find a light to lead U.S. forces out of the current morass, it’s Baker. There is a high degree of confidence in his abilities on both sides of the aisle. “He has the interest; he has the clout, and he’ll make the time,” says the foreign-policy adviser who worked with Baker in the former Bush administration.
Among Baker’s admirers is former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who recalls the secretary of State’s heroic efforts in putting together the coalition for the first gulf war. Wilson prefers to talk about the way ahead in Iraq rather than the still unresolved case of who leaked the identity of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. He told NEWSWEEK that a debate based on setting a timetable and exit strategies is “all wrong.” Though Wilson gained notoriety as a critic of the Bush administration over its WMD claims, he stands with the president in believing U.S. troops cannot leave Iraq until there is a political solution. Wilson proposes what he calls a “concert of nations” that would bring together all the various factions and their patrons in the region, which means having the Iranians at the table along with the Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, Russians, some of the Europeans and the Turks. “If they’re not there to hammer out a political solution, you can be darned sure they’ll be there supporting their various factions as we go through cycle after cycle of instability, insurrection and civil war,” he says.

Dragging the Iranians into this will happen over Cheney’s dead body, so this should be fun, especially after Zalmay Khalilzad said yesterday that reaching out to the Iranians may not work because they are part of the problem. Yet as Wilson says, we cannot find a solution until all parties are brought to the table, which is exactly the international approach that the Iraqis themselves say they want according to a new poll. This poll indicates that Iraqis want the US to stay another two years until the Iraqi forces are better prepared to stand alone, and then get out. But it also reports that Iraqis want the international community to take over their reconstruction and to share more of the security burden, and to get the US presence reduced gradually.

Sure, Baker will find a way to make money from this assignment, but isn’t this a better approach than the endless war, “I’ll let the next guy worry about it” bullsh*t from Bush this week? Of course, the real question is whether or not Bush and Cheney will take direction on Iraq from anyone associated with his dad or outside of the Bush/Cheney “brain trust?”

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Steve :: 4:04 PM :: Comments (37) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!