All I can say is that Osama and Zarkawi must be quaking in their boots. Jim Baker is saddlin’ up and he’s packin’ a 6-gun and he’s ridin’ into Dodge City (aka Baghdad) to roust the bad hombres who’ve been spoiling George Bush’s presidency. I found this NY Times story laughable as it posited the absurd notion that Jim Baker could somehow rescue us from the Iraq quagmire:
[There was a] quiet designation last month of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III to head up a Congressionally mandated effort to generate new ideas on Iraq and the role of Acheson, who served under President Harry S. Truman.
Mr. Baker, a longtime confidant of the first President Bush who has maintained a close but complicated relationship with the current president, plans to travel to Baghdad and the region to meet with heads of state on a fact-finding mission that officials say was encouraged by both father and son and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Those in Congress who cooked up this scheme tried to gussy it up by comparing it to an earlier episode in which a president was stuck in a quagmire:
In the late 1960’s, an anguished President Lyndon B. Johnson sought advice from a respected elder statesman on the Vietnam quagmire. In part because of the private counsel of former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, a onetime hawk turned skeptic on the war, Johnson shifted course in 1968, halting the bombing of North Vietnam and announcing that he would not run for re-election.
I’m not sure how much impact Acheson really had on Johnson’s thinking because it was my impression that Clark Clifford was one of the major figures in convincing Johnson of the things that are credited above to Acheson.
At any rate, I’d like to know what new ideas Baker can bring to the table for poor George Bush that he doesn’t already know? You want a new idea? Try this: get out of Iraq, now. How’s that for a new idea? If Jim Baker can persuade Bush of the necessity of this option, then I won’t laugh quite as hard at this announcement of a ‘bold new stroke’ in policy.
Another thing I find laughable is that Jim Baker, who has to be 75 years old or more if he’s not a hundred, is being called upon to furnish Bush with new policy options. Jim Baker’s been around since the Flood. What kind of new thinking can he bring to bear? And why will George even listen to him as he’s Daddy’s right-hand man. Not to mention that Bush fils must see Baker as a temporizer, rather than the type of ideological purist he prefers to hang out with. In other words, I’m highly skeptical that this will amount to anything.