This article rather tells it like it is. (The article in Salon is free. You just have to watch a short advertisement and then you get a free Day Pass to Salon. It’s pretty harmless.)
For Bush, the day of reckoning is at hand. After years of talking tough, smearing war opponents as appeasers and demanding "total victory," he must confront the fact that his Iraq war has been a catastrophic failure. Terror attacks are up, American casualties are soaring near record levels, and a credible study claims that at least several hundred thousand Iraqis have died as a result of the war, demolishing whatever moral rationale it had. Of more immediate concern to Bush, Americans have turned against the Iraq war so strongly that the issue now threatens to take down Bush's party, not just in the midterms but in 2008 as well.
James Baker has been brought in to pull Junior’s chestnuts out of the fire. It will be very interesting to see what his great revelation turns out to be. From the “leaks” that have already appeared in the press (such as in the article linked above), it would seem that the U.S. must get used to the fact that we are not going to achieve any of our stated goals, other than the fact that Saddam is no longer in charge. We certainly achieved that. However, we have nothing else. Nothing. And it looks like Baker might be attempting to soften up Bush and his cabal of neocons, getting them ready to accept what the rest of us have been painfully aware of for quite some time. This war is a failure. It is not going to achieve any stated goal of stability, democracy, reduced levels of terrorist activity, secure source of oil…. Nothing.
All that is left to be done is to figure out how we can extricate ourselves from the carnage and chaos in the least harmful way possible. Talk about lowered expectations. We are not going to see the reverse domino effect of flowering democracies springing up around the Middle East. We are just trying to figure out the least possible additional damage we can do at this time.
It will be very, very interesting to see how Bush reacts to this advice. Given that his modus operandi, every single time, has been to dig in, not recognize any sort of criticism or any suggestion that another method may yield better results, I would say that it’s a good bet Baker and his committee will be given the big brush off. Thanks but no thanks.
(Here’s another story about Baker’s involvement and probable recommendations.)