Friday, October 13, 2006

Baker to Bush: "We've lost Iraq"

As you may or may not know, former Secretary of State Jim Baker is heading a commission that plans to advise current President Bush about what to do in Iraq. The commission planned to release its report after the November elections, but someone leaked to the NY Sun, a right-wing leaning newspaper. According to the Sun:

WASHINGTON — A commission formed to assess the Iraq war and recommend a new course has ruled out the prospect of victory for America, according to draft policy options shared with The New York Sun by commission officials.

Currently, the 10-member commission — headed by a secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush, James Baker — is considering two option papers, "Stability First" and "Redeploy and Contain," both of which rule out any prospect of making Iraq a stable democracy in the near term.

More telling, however, is the ruling out of two options last month. One advocated minor fixes to the current war plan but kept intact the long-term vision of democracy in Iraq with regular elections. The second proposed that coalition forces focus their attacks only on Al Qaeda and not the wider insurgency.

Instead, the commission is headed toward presenting President Bush with two clear policy choices that contradict his rhetoric of establishing democracy in Iraq. The more palatable of the two choices for the White House, "Stability First," argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents. The goal of nurturing a democracy in Iraq is dropped.

If the Sun's report is accurate, this is incredible on a number of levels. First, it's refreshingly candid and realistic about our chances in Iraq. Second, it clearly undermines the entire foundation of Bush's rhetoric about bringing democracy to the Middle East -- though note that key qualified, "in the near term"; no doubt the final report will include some vague throwaway lines about the "long term" future of democracy in the region. Third, it's obvious that the report is being withheld to avoid destroying the Republican Party completely.

But the takeaway point is simple: We are failing in Iraq. Time to acknowledge this reality and deal with it.


Anonymous Nic said...

I think our household acknowledged the reality that we are failing in Iraq a long time ago. I am still waiting to hear some bright ideas about how to deal with it. I don’t know what the right thing to do is, but completely walking away seems criminal.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

I've been fond of the tripartite partition, with strong economic and military backing for the Kurds.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Nic said...

Can you really see the international community empowering the Kurds?

2:28 PM  

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