Robert Dreyfuss, "A Higher Power: James Baker puts Bush's Iraq policy into rehab." The Washington Monthly, September.
First, a confession: I didn't actually read the piece. I skimmed. It's no matter, because I wasn't intending to critique it. All I wanted to do, after seeing the link to a piece about "James Baker heading a bipartisan group looking at ways to pull our chestnuts out of Iraq" was check out how long it took for Lee Hamilton to pop up.
Answer: It's 1218 words to "Besides Baker, the bipartisan task force is co-chaired by former congressman Lee H. Hamilton..."
It's a ways to go, that, 2/5 of the way through the piece, but I never lost faith. After all, who could imagine "Jim Baker" and "bipartisan" turning up anywhere without the seventeen-term former Congressman from Indiana's 9th District, the House's Hoosier answer to Dick Lugar? Why, it'd be like "Wishy" without "Washy", "Chip n' Dale" without "Alphonse and Gaston", "Effectual" without "In".
Except it ain't funny.
Lee Hamilton chaired the House Iran/Contra Committee, the one that decided following the trail to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush would be bad for morale. He reprised that role as vice chair in Iran/Contra II: Episode 9/11, which means that Lee Hamilton was the ranking Democratic witness to the President and Vice-President of the United States holding hands as they testified together. Though at least this time they actually testified.
Hamilton and Baker have worked together before, as co-chairs of the Baker-Hamilton Commission to Investigate Certain Security Issues at Los Alamos, [that's the real name--really answered all our questions right there, didn't they?] so it's possible we could save some money on stationery. As a result of their investigation, a vigorously moderate finger was wagged at confused security policies which might have led to the scandalous theft of those missing computer hard drives, had they ever been missing, and had that potential missing-ness been caused by theft. And without Indiana's Lee Hamilton providing the bi for the report's bipartisanship, that possible scandal might never have seen enough coverage to fully obfuscate the Wen Ho Lee story, America's L'Affaire Dreyfus. Which, had it been fully exposed, might have set the government and its teevee network co-conspirators back much more than $1.6 M. And who knows what that might have done for morale?
This--I probably needn't tell you--bodes quite well for the showily bipartisan pseudo-solution to the missing results in Iraq, as the absolute necessity of removing our troops while we still can coincides remarkably well with the report's conclusions. Or so one might guess.
Representative Hamilton has kept busy since leaving the Congress in 1999, as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and the advisory boards of the Central Intelligence Agency and the US Army, all of which have achieved unprecedented successes during this period.
It's a nice match for Baker, the Bush family consigliere, who ran George H.W. Bush's "anti-busing" Senate campaign in 1970 and his "voodoo economics" Presidential campaign in 1980, before becoming Reagan's first Chief of Staff, with particular responsibility for the Gipper's wildly effective voodoo domestic policies and the voodoo tax reforms of 1981, the ones that had to be euthanized between '86-88, while Baker was Treasury secretary. Baker was Secretary of State in the Bush I administration, thus earning the distinction of being the only holder of that office to engineer a war in Iraq we were subsequently able to get back out of. He has since retired from public life, appearing occasionally in a legal capacity to secure the theft of the Presidency or to further the Carlyle Group's world domination plans, or to join with Lee Hamilton in bipartisan efforts to make the Democratic party look worse than it could do all by itself.
The committee has reportedly been quite close-mouthed about its actions, its members refusing to speak on the record, presumably because the group, which was carefully selected for partially-plausible deniability in helping to start the war does not want to take any credit for its vital role in assuring nothing whatever gets said about the issue until after November's midterms. The target date for their report favoring the phased withdrawals any group of ten schoolchildren could have told you two years ago were inevitable is 2007, or roughly the point at which it can be used by potential Republican nominees of whichever end of the right wing of the Party to beat potential Democrats over the head with. That, of course, is the very essence of bipartisanship. And you can thank a Hoosier for it.
AFTERTHOUGHT: A plan. Sure. We haven't seen it in a while, but remember the "Liberals are rooting for bad news in Iraq" thing? Why--assuming I wanted to hear bad news from Iraq--would I have ever bothered rooting for it? With this group it's always been a cinch of the lead-pipe variety. It would be like anxiously awaiting the end of a Perry Mason episode to find out if his client gets off.