Monday, December 11, 2006

William Pfaff on the The Baker-Hamilton Report

David Seaton's News Links
Anyone who reads me regularly knows my weakness for William Pfaff. Here in a few words, while analyzing the Baker-Hamilton report, he asks all the main questions. 1.) How did this fool ever get elected president in the first place? 2.) How to prevent something like that ever happening again? And finally, 3.) Will it ever be possible to clean up his stinking mess? Chapeaux cher maître! DS
Abstract: The domestic political motivation behind Congressional appointment of this independent commission was to find a door through which the United States could leave Iraq with the national eagle’s feathers’ intact. It reflects concern for how to handle the domestic political consequences of the Iraq failure. In this its success is uncertain. The initial evidence is that George W. Bush will react with hostility to this stinging attack on the foolhardiness, arrogance, and as yet unknown eventual costs of his adventure. It may change little in his conduct of the war. The intellectual poverty that lay behind administration policy was evident from the start, in the political and strategic naiveté of the neo-conservative project, which treated war on Iraq as if it were a videogame. Donald Rumsfeld’s final “recommendations” to the president as he resigned were of stupefying emptiness: a rats’ nest of jottings: do this, try that, see if that might work. This was supposed to be an intellectually serious executive and analyst, like Robert S. McNamara? But the president himself has proven to be no more than a college fraternity prankster pretending to be president: “I Am the Decider.” How do Americans get people like this in high office? The present system, or is it a lucrative industry?, of selecting and electing presidents has to end. The essential step is to ban paid political advertising.(...) The report’s insistence on the centrality of the Palestinian question, its proposal for neutral international experts to advise the Iraqi government, and its emphasis on reintegration of Ba’ath party members and Arab nationalists, and on national and regional reconciliation as well, are a fitting conclusion to a report that honors its authors, but may have come too late, or worse, have no serious effect on administration policy. READ IT ALL

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