The Corner

Re: What Baker’s Got in the Oven

I would caution that what we know about the Iraq Study Group report so far is based only on leaks and, as all good reporters know, leakers have agendas; leaking is a way to spin, a way to shape the narrative.

Don’t rule out the possibility that there will be surprises in the actual report, in particular that there may be more emphasis than we have been led to believe on getting the most vital missions in Iraq accomplished. The MSM accounts so far – suggesting that the report will be a lot of mush which can be boiled down to “Let’s get the heck out of Dodge!”– may be less than accurate.

Department of Clarification: The other day I wrote a Corner item in which I said that the “Foreign Policy Establishments types who dominate the Iraq Study Group had opposed the war from the start and, in my view, mostly wanted to send Bush this message: “Idiot! We told you so!”

Let me be clear (and apologies if I wasn’t in that item): I was not speaking about the principals (e.g. James Baker, Lee Hamilton, Leon Panetta, Ed Meese, Bob Gates, Alan Simpson et al.) but about the “expert advisory group” of which I was a member.

As I’ve said on past occasions, when the principals met with us they asked good questions and listened carefully to what we had to say. Robin Wright had a piece in the Wash Post last Sunday quoting an anonymous member of the expert group commenting on Baker’s “telltale body language, which could dismiss a comment with as little as a raised eyebrow.” I’m less certain that the former Secretary of State was showing us his cards. 

Clifford D. MayClifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...

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