"STAY THE COURSE" REJECTED UTTERLY, BUT THE WHITE HOUSE FORGOT TO TELL AUSTRALIAN ALLIES
ONLY 34% OF AMERICANS NOW SUPPORT THE WAR
The former President Bush used to say he never talked with his son, the current US president, about the 'War On Iraq', and his son had never asked him for any advice, much to his chagrin.
Now, however, it appears the president has not only asked his father for advice, but has had him put together a team of policy and defence experts to get the president out of the tragic, brutal mess that is the 'War On Iraq'.
There's a new support' team of advisors surrounding President Bush these days, and they're said to be keeping the neocon crowd who cheerleaded the US into the current Iraq war, and backed Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's "Chaos Can Be Good" non-strategy of stabilisation post-war, out of the president's circle of influence.
Henry Kissinger is a regular White House visitor these days, along with James Baker III.
Daddy's helpful friends already appear to be making some ground.
The US president was heard today saying that if the current plans are not working, then they will change the plans to make the war work. Or at least, work enough for the US to scrabble some kind of victory and get out of Iraq as soon as possible.
Former Secretary of State to the president's father, James Baker III, is heading up an 'Iraq Study Group', which, while not recommending immediate withdrawal, is formulating new plans on how to reign in the US casualties and secure the flow of oil.
From news.com.au :
Former US Secretary of State, James Baker, was visibly shocked when he last visited Iraq and said the country was in a "helluva mess"...Some more details from the London Times :
Citing unnamed members of Mr Baker's committee, The Los Angeles Times yesterday said that two options under consideration would represent reversals of US policy - withdrawing American troops in phases, and bringing neighbouring Iran and Syria into a joint effort to stop the fighting.
The BBC also reported that a third possibility was under consideration - to concentrate on getting stability in Iraq, and stop aiming to establish a democracy there.
The report of the Iraq Study Group, led by Mr Baker, is expected to propose significant changes to American strategy, including negotiating with Iran and Syria or even pulling US troops out of harm’s way to bases beyond Iraq’s borders.
“There will probably be some things in our report that the Administration might not like,” Mr Baker said last week.
...support for the President’s position, usually characterised as “stay the course”, has become increasingly strained. Cracks are showing not only in Mr Bush’s Republican base, but also in the US and UK military — with General Sir Richard Dannatt’s interview last week prompting some alarmed calls to the British Embassy from the White House.
John Warner, the respected Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was the first to hint at a growing impatience with policy.
Speaking on his return from Iraq this month, he suggested that it was drifting sideways and said that the US should “in two or three months” consider a “change of course”.
Mr Baker said: “I think it’s fair to say our commission believes there are alternatives between the stated alternatives — the ones that are out there in the political debate — of stay the course and cut and run.”
According to leaks that are beginning to dribble out of the commission, it has focused on two options: negotiating a settlement with current foes or phased withdrawal.
Britain is understood to be cautiously sympathetic to a new approach.
Sir David Manning, the British Ambassador in Washington, briefed the commission in May and members also met Dominic Asquith, the British Ambassador to Iraq, when they visited Baghdad — one of 150 separate pieces of testimony that it has received.
British forces have already withdrawn from two of the four provinces in southern Iraq under their command — Muthanna and Dhi Qar. Plans are under way to hand over security to Iraqi forces in a third, Maysan, by the end of the year.
This would leave the British force concentrated in Basra province, the main area of southern Iraq.
London, which has normal diplomatic ties with Damascus and Tehran, is also in favour of Washington engaging more fully with the regimes to help to ease the situation in Iraq.
Mr Bush...(would) find some of the leaked recommendations from the Baker panel a bitter pill to swallow.
The options bear a remarkable resemblance to the much-derided policies advocated at different times by John Kerry, his opponent in the 2004 presidential contest.
Mr Baker set a timetable for US withdrawal and increase pressure on the Iraqi authorities to take on greater responsibilities.
So, the three options apparently under consideration, and heated discussion, are :
Dump the goal of a functioning, Jeffersonian democracy and settle for stability.
Roll all forces into Baghdad, stabilise the whole city, turn it into a siege city and negotiate with the insurgency to find political solutions, while keeping the chaos and sectarian slaughter outside the walls (and moats and berms) surrounding the city.
Pullout of Iraq completely, withdraw to surrounding friendly states (like Jordan, Egypt, Suadi Arabia) and deploy fast response squads to handle regional terrorism.
Bite the bullet, swallow bitterly, and go to Iran and Syria and negotiate an end to their infiltration of Iraq in exchange for more respectable relations, as Britain still maintains with both countries.
"Stay The Course", still being pumped even today by the Australian prime minister and foreign minister is said to be totally rejected now as any kind of forward policy.
The White House is said to have dumped the STC plan utterly, as has the Pentagon and the Baker-led study group.
But no-one from the White House appears to have briefed their Australian allies, the PM and FM, before they backed "stay the course" in the Parliment today.
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