Saturday | July 26, 2003
Bringing in Baker
By Steve Gilliard
Changes in Iraq Effort Debated
President Bush is contemplating major changes in the U.S. reconstruction of Iraq for the second time in three months, with the possible addition of one or more prominent figures to work alongside the U.S. administrator in a stepped-up effort to solicit international assistance, administration officials said yesterday.
The plan is being debated as the White House grapples with the enormousness of rebuilding the chaotic country. The administration is under pressure to demonstrate progress in order to maintain domestic support for the effort, which is costing the Pentagon about $4 billion a month.
"We're confident of long-term success," a Bush aide said. "We need to show short-term success."
As part of the effort, the White House is considering asking several major figures, including former secretary of state James A. Baker III, to take charge of specific tasks such as seeking funds from other countries or restructuring Iraq's debt. "A lot of different things are being discussed," a senior administration official said. "Nothing has happened yet."
This is a joke, right? Poppy and the boys are so nervous that GW is blowing things that they're calling in the family fixer, Jim Baker?
They cannot repair a fundamentally flawed policy with Jim Baker. If he takes the job, which is no lock, he's going to be told the same thing everyone else is told "Bring in the UN". That's a non-negotiable demand on the part of the Europeans.
Besides that, to anyone who has watched the Bush family, this is a bad, bad thing. Baker is their last hope when things get messy. It is the sign that GW is officially over his head. Deep in the bowels of Kennebunkport, a decision has been made to intervene.
If it is was just a matter of bad administration or some errant guerillas, fine, call in the fixer. But it isn't:
Ali Abbas, whose sister is a nurse in the hospital, said he hated the Americans but did not support this attack. "We all agree that we need to fight the Americans," he said. "But did they really have to hit them in a children's hospital?"
Can Jim Baker change Mr. Abbas's mind about the occupation? Because if he can't, then the problem goes a wee bit beyond Bremer. Remember, he's talking about the deaths of three Americans protecting a children's hospital against looters. Not some Task Force 20 guys looking for Saddam. Three guys who's only role was to protect children so they can get medical care minus theft and rape. Yet, so far, not one cleric condems this attack. Iraqis seem indifferent that three American kids got killed protecting their children. Not one word of thanks or appreciation.
That's what needs to be fixed. If even clerics remain indifferent to such a pointless attack, the odds of getting support for an occupation grows dimmer each day.Posted July 26, 2003 12:53 PM