Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Iraq: Jonathan Steele Asks Why Bother With The Baker Report ?

06 December 2006

Iraq: Jonathan Steele Asks Why Bother With The Baker Report ?

A different old Brit, Jonathan Steele (shown left), is a Guardian columnist, roving foreign correspondent and author.

He was also the Guardian's bureau chief in Washington (1975 to 1979) and Moscow (1988 to 1994).

In the 80s he reported from southern Africa, central America, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe. In the 90s he covered Kosovo and the Balkans.

Since 9/11 he has reported from Afghanistan and Iraq as well as on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

And, he has written several books on international affairs, including books on South Africa, Germany, eastern Europe, and Russia.

Sounds like Mr Steele sure has some seriously, credible credentials, eh? Seems the sort of media man who knows what he's talking about, too.

Take this excerpt example, from his piece published in today's Guardian.
Mission accomplished?

Predictably, the Baker report does not come to any radical conclusions about Iraq. But did it serve any of its underlying purposes?

James Baker is a lawyer, a fixer, a Republican, a friend of the Bush family, and a deeply political animal. He is not an independent radical or a man known for original thinking. So the question in the wake of his Iraq Study Group's predictably uncontroversial is: why was it ever set up?
Critics of his disastrous strategy in Iraq could be told that Bush was listening to the American people and understood their concerns. That is why he had set up a blue ribbon panel to evaluate all options. Nothing was taboo.

The tactic did not work, and Bush and his Republican party took a heavy beating. It was not Baker's fault so much as a sign that voters felt they had to send a message to Baker as well as to Bush. A majority of Americans as well as Iraqis want US troops to leave.

The second purpose behind the study group was to co-opt the Democrats behind Bush's war.

But it gets better as it goes along.

The third purpose in appointing Baker's panel is the most extraordinary.

The country's political elite wants to ignore the American people's doubts, and build a new consensus behind a strategy of staying in Iraq on an open-ended basis with no exit in sight.

"Success depends on unity of the American people at a time of political polarisation ... Foreign policy is doomed to failure - as is any action in Iraq - if not supported by broad, sustained consensus," say Baker and his Democratic co-chair, Lee Hamilton, in their introduction.

In other words, if things go wrong, it will be the American people's fault for not trusting in the wisdom of their leaders.

If you're interested in reading the rest of Steele's super-insightful and surprise-filled piece, grab a quick gander at this final teaser first.
Fudging the end-date or hoping it need never be promised will not end the war. Baker is not suggesting anything as radical as this, of course. No one should ever have thought he might.
Now go read it all; it's good.

In fact, like ourselves, you may rate it better than good.

Tsk, tsk. Talk about Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone honestly believe the Dems would be different regarding Iraq? They work for the same masters. And how many of them ever stood up against the war? Really? Does anyone know? Hardly any of them did, including the heart-throbs like Hilary Clinton.

Elections? To end the occupation? To stop the killing and dying? To hurt war profiteers profits? To stop stealing the oil?

You could ask the same question as Steele asked about Baker. Why bother with elections?

11:30 pm  
Anonymous Griffon said...

Arthur Silber says it all and more.

Note how the ISG is described continually as "bi-partisan" as if it is independent with no agenda of it's own.

It, of course, has the agenda of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as it's riding instructions. The same crowd who represent the oil companies and banks who designed the whole catastrophe in the first place and want to retain control no matter what happens.

The whole ISG thing is damage control and a shell game.
Anyway, go read Arthur everybody, insightful as ever.

11:34 pm  
Anonymous whoever said...

There's not a single person in politics that does not have their own agenda - personal as well as party.

An honest politician is a contradiction in terms.

12:01 am  
Blogger bootlian said...

I've always found it hard to believe that so many people in both the US and UK are so stupid as to be so easily fooled so often.

Therfore I can only conclude that they're either too damned lazy/apathetic to make a stand and call our politicians on every crooked thing they're caught out on -- or that they're just too plain embarrased to admit they've been conned - again & again & again.

Either way, what we get is whatever we're prepared to put up with, and so 'deserve'.

12:51 pm  
Anonymous bluey said...

It's a farce. The whole thing was set up way in advance. It's a face saver. To make things look like Bush is listening. Well, I'll tell you right now it's a joke, and the joke's on the people. Nothing's gonna happen that wasn't gonna happen. It's the same with everything else. People are dim enough to believe what's said is done. Or will be done. Or has been done.

4:21 pm  
Anonymous Rex said...

The Baker report and the Blair Bush meet ~ much ado about nothing. It's all simply window-dressing. Making things 'seem' better to the public(s) they both know are becoming sick and tired of them ~ and their policies and actions.

5:23 pm  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

Excellent find, Richard! Thanks for introducing me to this reporter. As I read it, I went, Bingo! several times!

3:43 pm  

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