Baker’s Latest Assignment; tell Bush we lost
By Mike Whitney
-- -- The cracks and fissures are finally beginning to appear in
Fortress Bush. The AP is reporting that Congress quietly
appointed an “Iraq Study Group” headed by James A. Baker to
“assess the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq and political
and economic developments in the troubled country”. In other
words, Baker has been picked to tell Bush that the war is over;
The group was voted into being with little fanfare to spare the
White House any unnecessary embarrassment, but the message is
clear; the adults are finally stepping in. The war has been so
appallingly mismanaged that jittery American elites are forcing
themselves back into the policy-making apparatus.
The group is led by Bush-family friend and consigliore, James
Baker who helped the president squeak-by in election 2000 by
convincing the Supreme Court that his client (George Bush) would
suffer “irreparable harm” if the legally cast Florida ballots
were counted. Now, Baker has returned, leading a team of
disgruntled government big-wigs and policy-wonks to see if they
can extricate the recalcitrant executive from his Babylon folly.
The move illustrates the widening chasm between American elites
and the White House over the bungled handling of the war. In the
last two weeks, die-hard conservatives William Buckley and
Francis Fukuyama “bailed out” decrying the present policy as a
failure and urging the administration to change course.
Just days ago, Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew
Brzezinski, a foreign policy giant and master of American-style
Realpolitik, added his voice to the growing chorus of nay-sayers;
opining that it was time for the withdrawal of American troops.
It is unlikely that Buckley, Fukuyama, or Brzezinski would
concede defeat if it was just a matter of wiping out another
100,000 Iraqis or so. Their judgment is predicated on the simple
fact that the U.S. will not win.
The newly-formed Baker group consists of political insiders and
powerbrokers who typically work behind the scenes to guide the
ship of state in a corporate-friendly direction. Members include
former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, head of the Woodrow
Wilson Center, Lee Hamilton, former CIA Director Robert Gates,
former Clinton advisor Vernon Jordan, former Clinton chief of
staff Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary William Perry,
former Senator of Virginia Chuck Robb, and Former Senator of
Wyoming Alan Simpson.
Traditionally, the real power in Washington derives from a core
of elites who hale from the various think-tanks and semi-secret
organizations (particularly the 4,200 member Council on Foreign
Relations CFR) that provide the financial support for
congressional campaigns and political maneuvering. This new
commission represents a departure from their normal modus
operandi of working behind the scenes. That implies that the
situation is graver than we think. Baker would never humiliate
the president unless the plutocrats were running scared, but
Bush has given them little choice. The deteriorating situation
in Iraq and the thickheaded disregard for differing opinions has
raised the level of angst among Baker’s friends and precipitated
a major crisis.
The group is put together to look like a “fact-finding” mission,
but it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on. All of the
members are well-connected with contacts on ground in Iraq as
well as in the military. They know what is going on in Iraq;
it’s a mess, that’s why they have decided to break with
precedent and jump in headfirst.
The group will probably produce a document that will tell the
nation that the ‘war has been lost’ and we should prepare to
leave immediately. There’s no telling what the media’s response
will be. Some will see it as a conspiracy by panicky Americans
Mandarins who want to wrest power from the small cadres of
fanatics and neocons that surround the president. In fact, that
is exactly the case.
In just six years Bush has enraged enemies, alienated allies,
increased terrorism, eviscerated America’s moral authority, and
savaged the military. In fact, military equipment is
deteriorating at five times the normal rate and many soldiers
are now headed for their forth tour in Iraq. Baker knows that
this situation is not sustainable.
He’ll try to pile up enough facts to make his case before the
American people hoping administration die-hards will see the
light. It won’t be easy.
It’s likely that the group will make concrete suggestions
concerning a timetable for complete withdrawal, a plan to remove
troops from all Sunni cities, negotiations with high-ranking
members of the Iraqi resistance, appeals for international
assistance, and stealth-agreements for future oil concessions.
There are many glaring ironies about Baker’s involvement in the
present coup. Baker not only led the charge in the 2000
election; he also headed the Independent Task Force on Strategic
Energy Policy Challenge for the 21st Century for the Council on
Foreign Relations. As Lawrence Shoup reports in “The CFR Debates
Torture” ( Z Magazine March 2006) “Fifty one task force members,
many of them connected to the oil industry, signed the report
which reached a consensus on a number of questions. The first
general conclusion was that ‘a new era of energy scarcity’ was
upon the world…presenting fundamental obstacles to continued
economic growth and prosperity. …”
The report advised the forming of an “interagency process to
articulate and promote energy security policy” …noting that the
Bush administration has moved has moved rapidly in this
direction through the creation of the White House Energy Policy
Development Group headed by Vice President Dick Cheney”.(
Lawrence Shoup; “The CFR Debates Torture”)
This was the beginning of the dividing up of Iraq according to
future contracts with the oil giants. (all behind closed doors)
This suggests that it was James A. Baker who provided the report
to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that persuaded them
that ‘something had to be done about Iraq’.
Now he’s back telling them its time to quit.
Baker’s new assignment is to loosen the madman’s grip on the
nations’ steering wheel and glide the people’s-wagon back to
safety. Expect to see Baker looking a lot like Sisyphus pushing
his boulder up the hill.
After years of struggle, Baker and company have finally created
the one-party system of their dreams with a government that is
unaccountable to the people, the law, or its political base.
Unfortunately, he’s about to learn what others have known for
some time; the nation is in the vice-like grip of homicidal
maniacs who have no intention of relinquishing power or