Baker to the rescue?
“Is Jim Baker bailing out the Bushes once again?” asked The Washington Post yesterday:
The former secretary of state, James A. Baker III, a confidant of President George H.W. Bush, visited Baghdad two weeks ago to take a look at the vexing political and military situation. He was there as co-chairman of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, put together by top think tanks at the behest of Congress to come up with ideas about the way forward in Iraq.
Baker’s involvement in the Iraq War through the Iraq Study Group may not be directed by the White House — his realism, the realism of George H.W. Bush, is clearly at odds with the idealism of George W. Bush — but the Post may be right that he may be able to “forge bipartisan consensus on a plan for extricating the United States from Iraq — and then successfully pitch that plan to a president who has so far seemed impervious to outside pressure”.
“The study group” — which also includes Sandra Day O’Connor, Rudi Giuliani, Vernon Jordan, and Leon Panetta — “appears to be struggling to find some middle ground between… a pullout and the administration’s strategy of keeping a heavy American troop presence until the Iraqi government can maintain security on its own.”
Little speaks more to Bush’s failure in Iraq, to the failure of the war generally, than the very existence of Baker’s study group. It may not come up with a plan that appeals completely to either the warmongers in the White House or those who advocate the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, but it is evident nonetheless that a viable plan to extricate the U.S. from this debacle of Bush’s making cannot come from Bush himself.
With no credibility and with intellectual bankruptcy at hand, Bush and his various defenders and apologists have nothing left to offer beyond stay-the-course posturing and escalate-the-war fastasizing. Attention — and hope — now turns to others who would have known better in the first place.
(See also The Heretik.)