The Iraq Study Group on the face of it seems to be a well meaning enough document put together buy a well meaning enough group of elder statespersons. That's what it seems to be. But that's not what it is. One of the Study Group's co-chairs, Lee Hamilton, is a good, decent, and principled man. The other co-chair is James Baker. James Baker is to politics and diplomacy what J.R Ewing was to oil. Thus what one has is a decent face masking a much more cynical if indeed not sinister one.
On the very first page of the report in a letter from the co-chairs one finds the following:
"Our political leaders must build a bi-partisan approach to bring a responsible conclusion to what is now a lengthy and costly war."
Well, what's wrong with that, one might ask? In an interview commenting on the Study group's report, Lee Hamilton stated that everything in the Middle East is connected. I believe that is true. The problem is that the Study Group is disconnecting the war in Iraq from America's most pressing problem in the Middle East; not America's war on terror, but Middle East Terrorists' war on America.
I am not referring to the war in Iraq, that is a battle in a larger war. That is the war that Islamo Terrorist groups have declared on us. Whether we like it or not, whether we want it or not, whether we deserve it or not, we are in it. It was not born of Bush's invasion of Iraq, nor Afghanistan, nor on 9/11.
If one is looking for a first major skirmish, one can lay it at the feet of that hypocritical, holier than thou, false prophet of peace, Jimmy Carter, who paved the way for the Iranian revolution of Shia Islamo Fascism and who received in gratitude from the Ayatollahs the capture of the American Embassy in Teheran and the kidnapping and hostage taking of all its inhabitants.
If you think that wasn't a start of a war, flash forward a few years to the killing of two hundred-forty-one Marines in Beirut by Iranian backed Hezbollah terrorists. The litany continues with the distant thud of ever closer gun fire; embassies, battleships, pin pricks to a super power, not rising, in the words of a former Secretary of Defense, to a level which demands anything more than rhetoric in response. There is a through line decades long that finally catches our attention on 9/11.
Regardless of what you think or don't think of the war in Iraq you will delude yourself if you believe that it is not a major battle in the ongoing war pitting Islamo Terrorism against us. You will delude yourself at your peril. Do not believe me, listen to the terrorists themselves. As soon as the Iraq Study Group's report was out, here was the response of Abu Ayman, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad, "The report proves this is the era of Islam and of Jihad. It is not just a simple victory it is a great one...it is no doubt that Allah and his Angels were fighting with them against the Americans. It is a sign to all those that keep saying that America, Israel and the West in general cannot be defeated on the ground, so let us negotiate with them...the next step would be a total defeat on their (American) land."
Thus when the Iraq Study Group states on its opening page that its object is to find a bipartisan approach "to bring a responsible conclusion to what is now a lengthy and costly war" they are in fact divorcing Iraq, which is but a mere battle, from the larger war in which it takes place. In so doing, they not only guarantee defeat in that battle, but they greatly enhance the prospects for defeat in that larger and I promise you far lengthier and far costlier war in which we are now engaged.
What is the strategy suggested by the report, which so encourages Abu Ayman and his like minded Jihadis? There are three big ideas: withdraw combat troops by 2008, engage Iran and Syria, and include the Israel Palestinian/Israel Syria conflict into the mix.
Withdrawing combat troops by 2008 means quite simply that by 2008 you intend to stop fighting. Clerk typists are not going to engage in combat.
But what of the notion of engaging Iran and Syria? Here one sees the Jim Baker fix in full foliage. Quoting from page 52 of the report, "Recommendation 10, the issue of Iran's nuclear programs should continue to be dealt with by the United Nations Security Council and its five permanent members (i.e. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China) plus Germany."
"Recommendation 11: Diplomatic efforts within the support group should seek to persuade Iran that it should take specific steps to improve the situation in Iraq. "
This then is the Jim Baker back room deal. By committing the United States to assigning the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the UN Security Council, we are virtually guaranteeing that no action will be taken to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon! That is, as Daddy Bush liked to say, the quid pro quo. Iran gets a nuclear weapon in return for buying us just enough stability in Iraq to pull Baby Bush's ashes out of the fire and withdraw gracefully and thus stick the next administration which would either be a Democrat or John McCain, with the consequences.
But like the famed ginsu knife set commercial, that's not all! What else do you get if you're one of the first two state sponsors of terror to call the one eight hundred number? Well, if you're Iran and Syria you get Lebanon and the Golan heights! Recommendation 13: "There must be a renewed and sustained commitment from the United States on a comprehensive peace plan on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two state solution for Israel and Palestine."
Now that's interesting. What does Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria and Israel and the Palestinians have to do with Shias killing Sunis in Baghdad? Well, as Lee Hamilton says everything in the Middle East is connected. Here is the connection: Syria and Iran are fomenting the violence in Iraq. Slick Jim Baker has a solution. Buy the bastards off! Cut a deal! Put in the fix.
The tip off is including Lebanon in these conversations. Lebanon is not at war with Israel and Israel is not at war with Lebanon. Hezbollah, Iran and Syria's terrorist army proxy, dragged Israel and Lebanon both into a war which neither one wanted as a way of changing the West's conversation away from the topics of Iran's nuclear aspirations and Syria's assassination of Lebanon's president. It is not a coincidence that Iran was given an ultimatum to answer the World Community about whether or not it would suspend its nuclear program at exactly the time that Hezbollah launched its attack against Israel. The world demanded an answer of Iran and Iran gave its answer in the form of Hezbollah's war. The answer was, you think you can stop us? Watch the trouble we can cause even before we have a nuclear weapon!
It also occurred at the time that the World Community was trying to gather up its courage to launch an inquiry into the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Syria's answer to the World Community was Hezbollah's war. You think you have pushed Syria out of Lebanon, watch what Syria can do. And of course it worked. As if to underscore their true aims, Hezbollah, now at the time of this writing, is actively engaged in trying to topple the democratically elected government of Lebanon.
The only reason for including Lebanon in the conversation at all is to signal to Iran and Syria that it will be offered up for grabs to them on a silver platter as well. It will be done under the guise of encouraging a more representative government in Lebanon, a truer Democracy that recognizes Hezbollah's legitimate rights and interests. It is a way of saying to Iran, help us out for just a little while only in Iraq and you will get in return a swath of Shia domination that stretches from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.
But that's not all! No! If you're amongst the first two callers not only do you get the ginsu knife set, Shia domination from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, and the government of Lebanon, if you're Syria YOU GET THE GOLAN HEIGHTS!. And again all you have to do is buy just enough time to give W a fig leaf and then you can stick it to the next Democrat or John McCain.
That is the Jim Baker two step. That is why from Abu Ayman to Assad to Ahmadinijad, they are breaking out the banners proclaiming "Jihad accomplished."
Will it work? The first page of the letter from the co-chairs at the very beginning of the report states "Our political leaders must build a bipartisan approach to bring a responsible conclusion to what is now a lengthy and costly war...the aim of our report is to move our country toward such a consensus."
The tone is remarkably similar to another report presented to another body of legislators "Therefore...we should quickly reach a conclusion so that this painful and difficult operation...might be carried out at the earliest possible moment and concluded as soon as was consistent with orderly procedure, in order that we might avoid the possibility of something that might have rendered all our attempts at peaceful solution useless...every one of the modifications is a step in the right direction."
That last bit of rhetoric was Neville Chamberlain as he sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler in order to bring about peace in our time. When you think of it, from his perspective, he may have been cutting a better deal than the present one. He only sold out one country. The Baker report sells out four: Lebanon, Israel, Iraq...and the United States.
About the Author:
Dan Gordon is the writer as such films as the Hurricane with Denzel Washington, Wyatt Earp with Kevin Costner, Murder in the First with Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater. In addition he is the author of numerous articles on the Middle East conflict and served as a captain (Res.) in the IDF during the recent Israel/Hezbollah war.