This report in Washington Monthly could be good news, or it could be bad. It says that Jim Baker is becoming the key man for an end game in Iraq. While Baker clearly is good at managing end games, and is ruthlessly competent, I think more of the tea leaves here point to the WRONG end game. It looks to me like Baker is intent on managing an exit strategy, when what is needed is a VICTORY strategy. Anything that involves the former without the latter would be a cop-out and a betrayal of all who have fought and been injured or died in Iraq. Of course, it was Jim Baker’s State Department (April whassername) who gave Saddam the clear impression that he could waltz into Kuwait unmolested in 1990 in the first place, and Baker has always been far less of a friend to Israel than to wrongheaded (and in effect, anti-Israeli) notions of “stability” on a region. Sept. 11 of 2001 showed us what a fat lot of good “stability” did us.
But now let me step back from the conclusions I was jumping to. Baker is so secretive that he may be doing just what we all want, which is devising a means to victory. He certainly is smart enough to have a chance at pulling off that feat. So this isn’t awful news, necessarily… but it still makes me very, VERY nervous. To repeat, a exit strategy without victory would be a defeat worse than Vietnam, and would be a craven, cowardly way to end our involvement. So there.