Posted by: Jim | October 16, 2006

An Inconvenient Report

James Baker III is about to submit a report to Washington that sums up his advice on the situation in Iraq.

Oddly, he’s going to wait until after November 7 to do that, and he’s overtly stated it. Rumor has it that the report will outline a strategy for the US withdrawal from Iraq. Will they call it the “Cut and Run” plan? I somehow doubt it. But Britain has come to this conclusion ahead of us.

Washington and Rove have created dueling soundbites: “Stay the Course” v. “Cut and Run.” These bits of pablum were intended for the easy digestion by pliable Americans. But anyone who puts forth any effort to think about this knows that the situation is more complex.

Americans aren’t fond of the idea of leaving. We all have memories of the fall of Saigon in our heads, and wonder how long it will take after we leave before the streets of Baghdad fall into chaos. Probably not long, and that is tragic.

By the same token, Americans are starting to see that we are accomplishing nothing by staying there, either. The President cut reconstruction funding earlier this year.  So how will Iraq ever “Stand up” without our help? In the meantime our presence is the “cause celebre” for would-be terrorists all over the region, who come and tinker with our plans, bent on our failure. It’s obviously a losing proposition.

Going there was wrong, and leaving will be ugly. But staying isn’t helping either. Perhaps only a lame duck President, with no more elections to win, will be able to use James Baker’s advice to fix this problem–or at least formulate an exit plan. Hopefully he won’t hand the ticking time bomb to his successor from the other side of the aisle in 2008. 

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Responses

  1. I think you sum it up well with regard to a lame duck President residing over withdrawal from Iraq. There are some things that even two terms cannot provide enough time for, other side of the aisle or not.


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