Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Commission improbable

What chance Baker's Iraq Study Group coming up with something original? Don't hold your breath

Michael Kinsley
Tuesday November 14, 2006
The Guardian

"On the other hand, sometimes a problem is referred to a commission simply to get it off the table. Action is perceived as necessary, and the creation of a commission can be made to look like action.

Good luck. The chance that this group of ageing Brahmins will come up with something original is not enormous. It's a nutty, and not very attractive, idea to turn an urgent issue of war and peace over to a commission. Commissions have usually been trotted out for long-running social problems; going to war is something that ought to be decided by the people we elect. In recent decades Congress has virtually abandoned its duty to make the decisions about when US soldiers are sent to kill and die - presidents have foolishly claimed that authority. And now we have a president who is stuck with a war he insisted on and a citizenry that has no interest in it.

Being a Washington Wise Man does not require much wisdom. Baker has a "conviction", said a columnist on Sunday in the Washington Post, "that Iraq is the central foreign policy issue confronting the US". Wow. Now there's an insight. Actually, it is a nice insight into the Baker mentality - that he can apparently imagine a war that is killing young Americans by the hundreds but is not our central foreign policy issue. Baker also believes that "the only way to to address that issue successfully is to first build a bipartisan consensus". Now that is a conviction you can sink your teeth into. People like Baker always favour a bipartisan consensus. They don't really believe in politics, which is to say they don't really believe in democracy."

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