American Proscenium

Can Baker Clean Up the Mess in Iraq?

If a man (person?) from Mars were to have landed in Washington in late November, he (or she?) would have had no choice but to conclude that the important decisions in the capital of the World’s Only Remaining Superpower are made by two mighty dudes.  Note to Mars: The real Masters of the Universe are Baker and Hamilton, as in the Baker-Hamilton Commission.

After all, our Martian was probably spending hours watching officials, lawmakers, and pundits on news shows who kept insisting that, when it comes to determining the future of U.S. policy in Iraq and the Broader Middle East, well, forget our Commander in Chief or those lawmakers that some Earthlings elected on November 7 to represent them in Congress.  Instead, former Secretary of State James Baker (Republican) and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana (Democrat), the cochairmen of the Iraq Study Group (ISG)—a.k.a. the Baker Commission (when Republicans controlled both the White House and Congress) or the Baker-Hamilton Commission (now that the Democrats have taken over Capitol Hill)—were the ones chosen to draw the outlines of a U.S. Mideast strategy that could affect our global role for the rest of this century.

Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that, after American voters had made it clear in November that they wanted to change the course in Iraq, Washington was holding its breath as it waited for Baker, Hamilton, and...

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