Victory Not An Option

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The Baker/Hamilton Commission will be providing a report on the options available to the administration regarding Iraq after the midterm elections. Of the options, victory is not one of them in the foreseeable future. Neither is stay the course. The report will outline at least two major options, draw down and redeploy, or, stability first in Baghdad.

Victory, as defined by President Bush as an independent democratic Iraq favorable to peaceful relations with other democracies, is not in the cards according to the NY Sun's reporter, Eli Lake. The draw down and redeploy option will recommend removing our forces from the sectarian violence and focus their resources on al-Queda and terrorist organizations seeking a foothold in Iraq. The other option, would focus our troops efforts on quelling the civil war in Baghdad because, if there is no stability in Baghdad, there can be no stability in Iraq.

James Baker has headed up a bi-partisan commission established by Congress to assess the current state of Iraq and options for future involvment in Iraq by the United States. Baker is also an attorney representing Exxon-Mobil and the Saudi Arabian government which has some interesting implications in this story, as yet, undeveloped. While, the Baker Commission has no authorization nor power over the White House's pursuit of the Iraq War directly, many key Republican Congresspersons have hinted or stated that Congress' support of the Bush administration's 'stay the course' policy may no longer be supported. Pres. Bush himself in last week's press conference talked of "adapting" and adjusting direction in Iraq, no doubt, in anticipation of the Baker/Hamiltion Commission report.

As I wrote at WatchBlog in Iraq and Befuddled Republicans, Sen. John Warner (R) is giving the Maliki government in Iraq just 60-90 days to bring about a truce between the Sunnis and Shiites in Baghdad, or Congress will demand a change in course of the White House's objectives and prosecution of war in Iraq. Since, Congress holds the purse strings to the Bush Administration's efforts in Iraq, Congress has the power to withhold or, redirect its funding for Pres. Bush's directives and policy direction in Iraq. Because this could result in a showdown between the Republican White House and Republican leadership in the Congress, (should Republicans hold control of Congress after Nov. 7), it is obvious why the Baker Commission report is not scheduled for release until after the Nov. 7 elections and before Mar. 15.

It is not likely a coincidence that Sen. Warner referred to 90 days last week as the magic time frame for a change in course and the Baker Commission's news conference in which its co-chair Lee Hamilton was quoted by The New Republic:

"This is a very tough problem, our options are limited, and there is no silver bullet, no magic formula to the problem of Iraq," he said. For reasons that he declined to elaborate upon, Hamilton said the next three months in Iraq will be "critical," particularly in the areas of securing Baghdad, national sectarian reconciliation and the provision of basic governmental services to Iraqis.

The Sydney Morning Herald, (Australia), reports:

In his first public comment on the group's report, which will go to the President, George Bush, and Congress after the elections, Mr Baker said Mr Bush's "stay the course" policy might need adjusting. Most believe Mr Baker's group has recommended changes in the Iraqi constitution that would allow a very loose federation incorporating three virtually autonomous regions: Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on October 16, 2006 9:33 AM.

2006 Politics: Election Strategies was the previous entry in this blog.

Corruption Like a Cancer Grows is the next entry in this blog.

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