While [James] Baker has been testing the waters for some time to determine how much change in Iraq policy will be tolerated by the White House, [former Democratic Rep. Lee] Hamilton perhaps faces the now even-more-difficult challenge of cajoling Democrats such as former Clinton administration chief of staff Leon E. Panetta and power broker Vernon E. Jordan Jr. to sign on to a plan that falls short of a phased troop withdrawal, the position of many congressional Democrats.
This is a trap. Democrats cannot – can not – own the administration's current course in Iraq. If Democrats buy off on a policy that they know is not the right policy, then they will be buying off on future failure in Iraq. They will own Bush's bad policy. And that is insane. If the bipartisan group can't come up with a real plan, a good plan, the best plan, then let the Republicans in the group come up with their own wacky plan that will fail. The Democrats can issue a dissent that respectfully says they disagree, and why. And when all hell breaks loose over the next two years, the Dems can say "I told you so."
The last thing Democrats need is to hand George Bush some bipartisan approbation of his failed Iraq policy so that, in the future, he can say we all own Iraq, warts and all. We all don't own Iraq, it's his disaster, his failed state. And nothing we try is going to work because it's already too late - Iraq is lost. Bush had his chance, and he failed.
It's Terri Schiavo all over again. Sometimes the patient is just too far gone.
Oh yeah, one final rather important point. Check out the first line of that paragraph - James Baker is testing the waters as to how much change in Iraq policy the White House will tolerate. Excuse me? So, that means the guy running this panel isn't going to give his honest advice - he's only going to give the closest to honest the White House will let him give. That is totally messed up, incredibly dishonest, and it's the very reason we're in this predicament to start with. Generals being afraid of giving honest advice, top advisers to Bush being afraid to tell him the truth. It will be a total travesty if Baker only agrees to what the White House is willing to hear, and Lee Hamilton feels obliged to agree to whatever the Republicans want. Then what is the point of this entire exercise?
John in DC, AmericaBlog
John in DC, AmericaBlog