Tuesday, November 21, 2006
We won't take any shit, and we're not about to leave just cause you don't like who and what we wanna be:
I got those yellow tops today: New piece from The American Prospect about the Baker-Hamilton commission's implications for both the Iraq debate and the 2008 presidential contest:
[V]iewing Baker and Hamilton's work as primarily intended for a Bush administration unwilling to change its approach is a mistake. It's true that the day after the midterm victories by the Democrats, Bush accepted the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and replaced him with a member of the commission, his father's CIA director, Robert M. Gates. But the commission itself is under no such illusion that it will have much more than cosmetic impact on the administration. When I asked someone close to the Iraq Study Group if the group intends to save Bush from himself, the source laughed. The greatest utility Baker and Hamilton's report will provide, he suggested, is for Bush's would-be successors. In one fell swoop, the commission is likely to transform the nascent 2008 presidential primary fields. By blessing withdrawal, it will unite the Democratic Party -- and rip the Republican Party wide open, along its most volatile fault line.
Enjoy, baby. I'll get those red tops in tomorrow for you.
--Spencer Ackerman
I sure hope you're right about all of this, but are you sure that Baker-Hamilton is going to legitimize a full withdrawal within the next couple of years among the punditocracy? When I saw Tom Ricks speaking at a seminar a few weeks before the election, he said that his preferred policy would be to drawn down the US presence there to around 30,000-50,000 troops, but also that they would have to stay for at least ten years. But your article predicts that Baker/Hamilton will reduce the Iraq-related differences among the Dem '08 candidates to "the relatively pedestrian question of whether the troops should leave in six months or 12." So, what happens if the elite consensus that emerges from BH ends up being to get some (or even most) of the troops out now, but still leaving some other ones there forever?
Blogger Haggai | 8:37 AM

Also, the partial withdrawal scenario I'm referring to could very well allow Bush to continue his "withdrawal is defeat" and "we're not leaving so long as I'm the president" charade without seeming to contradict the new bipartisan hotness that Pundit Nation will be swooning over.
Blogger Haggai | 8:51 AM

According to a letter to surfer magazine, some ad guy invented the phrase "go big or go home" as a slogan for fat motorcycle tailpipes. It is nonsensical in that context, but the phrase became popular with extreme sport guys. It pretty much means don't be a pussy. This makes me skeptical that Baker-Hamilton is going to be cover for a withdrawal.
Blogger joe o | 11:30 AM