Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Baker Report Presages one Heck of a Defeat for Bush and Blair

James Baker III, aged 76, is one of the most distinguished and experienced of the US Republican 'grandees', having served as Chief of Staff to the White House(81-85) Treasury Secretary(85-89) and finally Secretary of State to Bush senior (89-92). In March this year he was appointed co-chair of the Congressional Iraq Study Group with the blessing of the president. Since a month ago reports have been circulating that Baker's visit to the front line has prompted a report which tells Bush his Iraq policy has been a disastrous failure.

Today in his Guardian column Simon Jenkins witheringly deconstructs the implications of what has been leaked about the report, summed up by the sentence: 'The Vietnam moment is at hand'. The scale of the killing in Iraq is completely out of control. With over 100 civilian deaths a day, an estimated two thirds of a million since 2003 plus over 3000 US servicemen killed, the time for an agonising reappraisal is clearly nigh. Baker was apparently shocked to his core by his visit to Iraq and some of the sights he had to witness. He now looks for a solution between struggling on and 'cutting and running'.

The solutions suggested, like a threeways partition and the possible involvement of Syria and Iran, have the smell of desperation about them; these two countries, after all, were demonised as part of Bush's 'axis of evil' only in January, 2002. I suspect it is the Vietnam ending which awaits-yes,'cutting and running'- the second salutary lesson within a generation for the world's only super power that brute force does not equate with real political power. Meanwhile, we now see how close to the money General Dannat was with his intervention and how feeble Blair's response has been, pretending that he and the general disagree on nothing. As Jenkins notes this resembles the attitude of 'a forgotten outpost in a crumbling Roman empire... [which] dare not respond as no new instructions have arrived from Rome.' Instead he insists on repeating that withdrawal would be 'craven surrender' and would endanger British security.

Two thirds of a million?! Skipper you are obviously an intelligent guy, do you REALLY believe this? I mean be honestly? If you were trying to find the number killed in a war, would you do a door to door survey of a few thousand homes...and then multiply the answers? In the face of such dishonesty/stupidity, it is little wonder the US/UK Government ignore the anti-liberation loonies.
I’m afraid I am with Michael Oakeshott on this. I don’t believe there have been 650000 people killed since 2003. It is nearly the equivalent of British losses (excluding empire forces) in WW1. The figure is clearly exaggerated.

Blair said withdrawal would be a craven surrender and endanger British security. Latest reports have stated that Al-Qaeda terrorists were on the streets of the city of Ramadi and the mosques have declared an Al-Qaeda, sunni Islamic state. I think Blair is right.
I am fully aware of the caveats surrounding that figure but read Gavyn Davies on back of G2 for a reasoned discussion of the maths involved and you might not dismiss the scale of deaths uggested so contemptuously.
Have just read Andrew Sullivan's blog and he quotes a blog-'just vented'- which is Iraq based and it says the lancet estimate is certainly on the low side. Take a peek and see what you think.
Yes it's biased, I'd rather not waste the two seconds it takes to download the page of lies.
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