Friday, January 14, 2005

James Baker advises administration to consider a phased withdrawal of troops

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, an architect of the U.S. war with Iraq in 1991, is advising the Bush administration to consider a phased withdrawal of some of the 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

Otherwise, Baker says, the United States risks being suspected of having an "imperial design" in the region.

A protracted U.S. military presence in Iraq is probably unavoidable since attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces and on Iraqi security forces are likely to continue, Baker said Tuesday in a speech at Rice University in Houston.

"Even under the best of circumstances, the new Iraqi government will remain extremely vulnerable to internal divisions and external meddling," he said.

Still, former President George H.W. Bush's secretary of state said, "any appearance of a permanent occupation will both undermine domestic support here in the United States and play directly into the hands of those in the Middle East who -- however wrongly -- suspect us of imperial design."

No friggin' way this means what you think it means. The chances that James Baker would say something the Bush family didn't want him to say are about equal to the chances that Osama will fill in for Bill Rehnquist at the swearing in ceremony next week.

What I think it means is that the decision has indeed been made to declare Peace with Honor on January 31st and high tail it out of the newly democratic miasma we have gifted to the region.

How these clowns will be able to keep saying that sacrifices of the dead and maimed soldiers were worth it is another question. Also up for grabs is the way they will con more volunteer fodder units for the next adventure.


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