December 14, 2006, - 11:07 pm

Baker’s Back

[Note from Debbie: This article is written by my father, H.L. Schlussel, MD, an expert on the Mid-East, terrorism, and Islam and a Vietnam-era U.S. Army Veteran. His columns appear on this site from time to time, including the ones here and here. DS]
By H.L. Schlussel, MD
It’s like deja vu all over again.
James A. Baker III–the enabler of the Butcher of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein, and the Butcher of Beirut, Hafez Al-Assad–is back to his old tricks. If a policy doesn’t work, why try it again, and again, and again. I thought that was the definition of insanity.
Baker, who served Presidents George H.W. Bush as Secretary of State from January of 1989 to August 1992, was one of the architects of the “Syria is the key to peace” theory. He enlisted Syria’s support in the Gulf War and saw Syria as the lynchpin in an Arab-Israeli peace agreement. In order to get Syrian acquiescence in the Gulf War, Baker stated, last Sunday, that he had made 15 trips to Damascus.

jamesbaker.jpg

James A. Baker III

He also gave Hafez Al-Assad a green light to do what was necessary to control Lebanon in 1991. This was followed by the execution-style murder of 600 unarmed Lebanese Christian soldiers who were prisoners of the Syrian Army.
(It seems that the murder of unarmed prisoners is a proud tradition of the courageous Syrian Army. After the 1973 “Yom Kippur War,” a Syrian soldier who had slit the throats of more than 100 Israeli prisoners–who had their arms tied behind them–was given a medal for heroism before the Syrian Parliament. This medal was awarded by Mustafa Tlas, Syrian Defense Minister. Tlas, who is still Defense Minister, is the proud author of the book, “Matzoh of Zion,” which perpetuates the blood libel against the Jewish people. It is interesting that this blood libel was refuted in a Papal bull by Pope Innocent IV in 1247.)
The Syrians also agreed to participate in the Gulf War effort, which they did by sitting in an army camp in Saudi Arabia, while U.S. Forces did the bulk of the fighting. The brave Syrian troops did not participate in combat or fire one shot in anger.
Who can forget the anguish on the face of the late Ambassador Philip Habib, the distinguished Lebanese American diplomat, when he left the State Department offices? He had gone there as the head of a delegation of Christian-Lebanese Americans to plead for the fate of his fellow Lebanese Christians. Habib said, “They are totally controlled by the Syrians,” regarding his former State Department colleagues.
After Bush I left office, the State Department continued Baker’s policy of appeasing Syria. Secretary of State Christopher made more visits to Damascus than to any other national capital. For all of our efforts, we were rewarded with a visit by the Syrian Foreign Minister to Camp David, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Barak, under the aegis of President Clinton. The Syrian neither spoke with or even looked at Barak for the whole weekend meeting.
When the Gulf War started, Baker initiated a campaign to encourage the Kurds and Shi’ites to revolt against Saddam Hussein. Yet, at the conclusion of the war, he allowed the Iraqi army to retain its combat helicopters and heavy weapons. Saddam Hussein then proceeded to slaughter hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shi’ites. He flooded the South of Iraq to destroy the communities of the “Marsh Arabs.” (Please see the book, “Cruelty and Silence,” by Kanan Makiya, and the article, “A 1991 Kurdish Betrayal Redux?” by Najmaldin Karim, MD, in the December 2, 2006 edition of The Washington Post.) It is because of Baker’s previous betrayals, that we are so distrusted by the people of Iraq. This is undoubtedly one of the important causes of our problems there.
Fast forward to the 21st Century. Baker’s Iraq Study Group (ISG) is filled with irrelevant figures, like former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor–who is obsessed with a paranoid fantasy about a “right-wing assault on our courts”–and Washington fixer, Vernon Jordan. Its expert list is stacked with Arabists and anti-war activists. (See “James Baker’s Stacked Commission,” by Michael Rubin in the 10/25/06 issue of The Weekly Standard.)
jamesbakercard.jpg

Baker Was a Principal in the Bin Laden Carlyle Group

Among the ISG’s 79 recommendations are negotiations with Iran and Syria, which along with Al-Qaeda, have been working since 2003 to foment a civil war in Iraq. According to Y. Bodansky, a Congressional terrorism expert, it was Iran that was responsible for the murder of Imam Baqir Al-Hakim and 200 worshippers at the Imam Ali Mosque on August 29, 2003 in Najaf, Iraq. Syria has been the doorway through which thousands of jihadists have poured into Iraq. Both Syria and Iran have been implicated in the design and export of the IEDs that have killed so many of our soldiers and in the training of the terrorists.
Although Israel was not a party to the Gulf War in 1991, she was hit with 39 rockets from Iraq. Baker did not allow Israel to respond militarily to these attacks. Instead, he forced Israel into the Madrid Peace Conference, which over the years has led to 3,000 dead and countless maimed Israelis, a demoralization and demonization of Israel, and no peace.
Now Baker proposes to “flip” Syria away from the Iranian orbit by offering it the Golan Heights which is part of Israel. Israel is not even invited to the regional conference where this offer is to take place. Israel’s weak government, fresh from its humiliation in an inept war this past summer, is in no position to refuse.
Baker is known as a shill for Sunni forces in the Middle East. This is evidenced by the “experts” who advised this committee. In the words of Karim, they are “die-hard Arabists who bend over backwards to accommodate . . . the Iraqi Sunni Arabs. One of them is an Iraqi Sunni, and none is a Shi’ite or Kurdish Iraqi.” In the first Gulf War, if Saddam Hussein had been deposed, Baker’s State Department had the temerity to propose a fellow Ba’athist from Tikrit as Saddam’s successor. For these reasons, the plans of the ISG are opposed by the Shi’ites and the courageous Kurdish President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani.
As Karim states, “the Iraqi Kurds are massively pro-American,” as are the Israelis. The motto for Baker and his ISG should be, “Talk to your enemies. Betray your friends.”
President Bush has wisely chosen to consign the recommendations of the ISG to the dustbin. However, Senator Bill Nelson just met with Bashir Assad, and three other Senators are on the way. Tony Blair was in the Middle East, last weekend, to set up the regional conference that will, no doubt, bring peace in our time.
Umbrellas, anybody?
H.L. Schlussel, MD, is a physician, Vietnam-era U.S. Army Veteran, and Middle East expert.

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39 Responses

Very well, what would you suggest be done, then? Stay in Iraq indefinitely?
Be realistic, man. We’re running out of troops, the war has cost hundreds of billions of American taxpayers’ money, and if it’s in fact true that Iran and others are fanning the flames of the insurgency, well…there isn’t much that can be done about that, is there? Not with the bulk of our armed forces tied up in Iraq trying to keep it from devolving into even worse chaos.
The BEST we can hope for here is a stalemate that costs more lives, both American military and Iraqi civilian, every day it continues. Anybody who wants a clear cut “win” in Iraq is going to be disappointed.
The idea of pulling the troops out and abandoning the citizens of Iraq to their collective fate isn’t one I particularly like. It wasn’t that long ago that there were reports of people being set on fire during this civil war, and I can’t think of a worse way to go. I can only imagine what kind of atrocities would be committed without a U.S. presence in the country to keep things from getting *completely* out of control. But are the other options any better?
We’ve been trying the current approach for three years and it is NOT WORKING.
You were in Vietnam, it says. Didn’t you ever have to withdraw from an area because it was simply too dangerous, it was a no-win situation, you were in an untenable position?
If you’re in the middle of an open field with a numerically superior force shooting at you from cover, what’s the right call? Do you say “I’m not going anywhere because that’d make me a coward! Let them shoot at me and kill me, least I’ll prove I’m not a wuss!” Or do you say “It’s not gonna do anybody any good for me and my friends to stand here and get mowed down…these guys are under cover so we can’t shoot back at them and nail many of them…there are more of them than us…so we’d better retreat and regroup before we’re all dead.”

Rob Brown on December 15, 2006 at 2:53 am

To the poster above, the story you refer to about people being set on fire in Iraq has not been confirmed. There is some question as to whether the source for that story actually exists.
The point is why should anyone trust Baker’s judgment given his record. To Debbie- thank you for posting this excellent article!

CarpeDiem on December 15, 2006 at 3:35 am

Rob Brown,
If you look at your history books, you will find that there have been many times when American soldiers have stood their ground against superior forces, e.g. Lexington, the Alamo, Shiloh, Bastogne. In all cases they believed their sacrifice was for a geater good. That is the American way!
Also, our soldiers are NOT sitting ducks as you imagine. They are hunting the enemy. Their casualties are from OFFENSIVE, not defensive, operations. Since the propagandists in the MSM only report our casualties, but never the terrorists’, the false impression is formed that we are losing.
We will only lose if we listen to a fool like Baker and his fellow group members, who went to Iraq only once and never left the green zone. This report is just a rehash of policies that failed 15 years ago.

WillPower on December 15, 2006 at 4:00 am

Jim Baker and his “bi-partisan report” will both be soon relegated to the dustbin of history where he and it belongs. The word h-u-b-r-i-s comes to mind whenever Baker and his fellow surrender monkies open their mouths.
I suspect that Mr. Bush will soon ramp up the offensive operations in areas like Baghdad and beat the snot out of the bad guys much like they did in Fallujah – a combat-pacified city that the MSM no longer has any interest in.
Iraq is full of American successes. Just because the MSM doesn’t report them doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Those interested can find truthful reporting via the Internet.
Regarding the military and this “small foot print” b¸llshÌt espoused by Generals Abizaid and Casey, the enemy is only emboldened by such weak silliness. Mr. Bush should fire those clueless Generals and give us (and them more importantly) something akin to Rolling Thunder – the massive B-52 bombing campaigns that actually brought North Vietnam to its knees. While the bad guys will soil themselves, American ground troops will have little left to do except dig latrines for the remains. Limited warfare is for wimps and fools.
~(ƒ)~

Rocketman on December 15, 2006 at 8:09 am

A new initiative that challenges Muslim communities living in the West on their attitudes to integration in the face of fundamentalism and extremism in their communities was launched at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Wednesday.
The Muslim Charter, written by Islam and Shari’a law expert Sam Solomon and sponsored by London member of the European Parliament Gerard Batten, is designed to enable Muslims from all strands of belief to openly state that they reject extremist interpretations of religious texts that promote, or excuse violence, and bring Islam into conflict with the modern world.
Groups purporting to represent Muslims were encouraged to sign the charter to affirm that they reject violence and discrimination against non-Muslims, and that they value the freedoms of the West and want to live as law-abiding citizens.
The 10 article charter calls on the Muslim community to issue a fatwa prohibiting the use of violence or threats to their followers.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1164881888600

hutchrun on December 15, 2006 at 8:45 am

Given the current situation, Hugh makes much sense:
To the Syrian regime, the Americans could say: Alawites are not true Muslims. We know this, and the Sunnis know this, despite your attempts to hide behind that single fatwa from Iran claiming otherwise. The Saudis are prepared to use their money to broadcast through the Arab press, in the Middle East and in London, ably assisted by the Jordanians and the Egyptians, that the Alawites, those non-Muslims, must go. You think you can continue to rule, despite being 12% of the population. You think we will not support a Sunni Muslim effort to depose you. At this point, your behavior is such that we regard you as disposable. But it is not we who will do the disposing. It will be the Ikhwan within Syria. We will publicize your permitting Shi’a missionaries to come from Iran. We will have the Saudis and others display the pictures of Mary that hang in every Alawite village. Your Alawite generals will get more and more nervous. They do not all wish to be slaughtered — which is what the real Muslims will do to you. You have a choice. Leave Lebanon alone. Stop helping Iran. Forget about the Golan Heights; you will never get it back. We will give you a free hand in Syria. But that is it. That is more than enough. That, or a Sunni uprising that will not end in a mere palace coup, but in the mass murder of Alawites everywhere. Your choice.
That would be the way to have “talks” with Syria.
http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/014341.php

hutchrun on December 15, 2006 at 8:49 am

Excellent piece! Thank you, H.L. Schlussel.
For those who want America to cut and run before stabilizing Iraq, it will not happen because:
1 – The Saudis want America to protect the Sunnis of Iraq. News reports said that Cheney was “warned.” On the other hand, America needs the Saudi oil.
2 – The oil, not just the Iraqi oil, but the entire region’s resources will be under the mercy of Iran. Get ready then to use the bicycle and horses for going to work and traveling. I hope the trees and animals worshipers feel good about it.
3 – Iraq would be worse than Afghanistan was under the Taliban, and I wouldn’t exclude an Iranian invasion of Iraq.
4 – Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the so-called “moderate” Arab nations (especially in the Gulf region) actually want America to stay in Iraq until it can sustain itself. Why? It’s again Sunni against Shi’a. Everybody is afraid of Iran’s domination.
5 – Do you want America to go back again or stay until the job is done?
6 – America will more vulnerable than ever.
7 – Israel, our friend, would be wiped off the map.
Now, I said cut and run will not happen, but it will occur if the idiotic voters or the Democratic leadership put crazy Liberals like Murtha in power.

Independent Conservative on December 15, 2006 at 9:08 am

Correction:
6 – America will BE more vulnerable than ever.
Addendum:
As for negotiating with Syria and Iran, I say that the only mean of dealing with these two rogue nations is a show of force.
Our presence in the region, by itself, is a show of force.
Iran and Syria want us to leave, not just Iraq, but the entire region. If it happens, it will be their victory and the biggest victory for Al Qaeda, even bigger that September 11, 2001.

Independent Conservative on December 15, 2006 at 9:16 am

Dr. Schlussel, thank you for your comments. What is truly astounding to me, is that so many Americans are sitting back watching “leaders” of this country appease these 21st Century Nazis !! Did we not learn anything from the meetings Neville Chamberlain had with Hitler in the late 1930’s? I can only begin to describe the camoflaged hubris of the likes of James Baker, those nitwit Democrats who visit Syria, and others of their ilk, as true cowards. Their cowardice, if not shackled, will cost millions of lives in the near future. The only way to defend ourselves (and Israel), is to really go on the offensive, not just in Iraq, but in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else we need to. These people who are trying to destroy everything do not care about talking to anyone, other than to buy time to continue the development of nuclear weapons. They only understand a rock solid punch in the mouth! If we don’t stand up for ourselves at home and abroad, I feel quite certain, they will use their new weapons… first on Israel, and then on The United States of America. We can wait for the first blow to feel justified in acting, or we can recognize the clear and present danger, and prevent it!!

FreeAmerican on December 15, 2006 at 9:19 am

HLS says here:
“Tony Blair was in the Middle East, last weekend, to set up the regional conference that will, no doubt, bring peace in our time.”
I assume you mean this in the Neville Chamberlain-esque sense, quite tongue in cheek.
What a mess we have gotten ourselves into due to duplicitous “wheels” like Mr. Baker When you see him out there in the media acting as our wise old counselor–who always steps in to offer “real solutions,” you tend to think–“OK what does the wise one say?”
Baker seemed to vanish during the Clinton years, then resurfaced in the public when we had the 2000 election FL recount deal–he was there to play the cagy and wise old owl of Republican politics–there to calm everyone down–to assure us that W was “in.” The point is most of us Americans have been conditioned to see him as our “top answer man.” Thanks for correcting the record for many of us who didn’t know all this real history.
So–HLS, please suggest WHAT you see as the wisest course in this mess we find ourselves in. Debbie, thanks for posting this and please keep HLS updates for us as things continue to unfold.

BB on December 15, 2006 at 9:23 am

Great article.
Baker is self-serving and dangerous.
Does anyone remember back when the Soviet Union started to fall, and Baker & Company were trying to prevent the Soviet bloc from splitting up? It was more convenient for him to deal with the devil they knew instead of new heads of independent states.

Thee_Bruno on December 15, 2006 at 9:29 am

“The point is why should anyone trust Baker’s judgment given his record.”
Yes, I got that. My point is that even if you accept Baker as an awful person, that doesn’t necessarily mean the basic thrust of the ISG report, i.e. “the current approach isn’t working and we have to find another one”, is necessarily wrong.
“7 – Israel, our friend, would be wiped off the map.”
No, it wouldn’t. Israel has survived for decades despite being surrounded by people and nations who believe it has no right to that land. What happens in Iraq will hurt the Iraqis more than anybody else, and if Ahmadinejad is indeed trying to acquire nuclear weapons then what happens in Iraq will have no bearing on whether or not he gets them that I can see.
On the contrary, if U.S. forces weren’t bogged down trying to keep a lid on the situation in Iraq, then they’d be in a position to slap down Iran should it become necessary.
By the way, here’s a wild idea…when Ahmadinejad said the country should be “wiped off the map”, is there even a remote possibility that he meant “this country should be given back to the Palestinians, renamed Palestine, and the Israelis should be forced to vacate”? It’s not a nice sentiment by any means, but it’s very different than “I am personally going to wipe Israel off the map by launching a barrage of nuclear weapons that will destroy everything on that piece of the map.”
“Now, I said cut and run will not happen, but it will occur if the idiotic voters or the Democratic leadership put crazy Liberals like Murtha in power.”
Excuse me, Independent Conservative, but you seem extremely hostile to any point of view other than your own.
It would be nice if Iraq got stabilized, but the question here is whether or not that’s something that can be accomplished. I’m not gonna say that it absolutely cannot be done because I don’t KNOW that. But it’s not looking good right now. Surely it can’t hurt to at least TRY a different approach.
“6 – America will more vulnerable than ever.”
Can you back that up with any evidence? Seems to me that having our military back means we’d be BETTER defended against possible terrorist attacks. We’ve been sending National Guard members over there, and IIRC the whole reason the National Guard exists is to defend American soil.
Look…Vietnam happened because of a domino theory, an idea that if communism took hold in Vietnam it would spread all over the world. The U.S. eventually left Vietnam and everybody was crapping their pants over the impending spread of communism…which NEVER CAME TO PASS. So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m skeptical about this picture you paint of a departure from Iraq meaning an Iranian stranglehold over the whole region, Israel being destroyed, America having no access to any oil from the Middle East, etc.
“If you look at your history books, you will find that there have been many times when American soldiers have stood their ground against superior forces, e.g. Lexington, the Alamo, Shiloh, Bastogne. In all cases they believed their sacrifice was for a geater good. That is the American way!”
Believing it doesn’t make it so. Sometimes people die for nothing.
Look, I understand how people feel when they say “If we leave now then all those soldiers will have died for nothing.” That is not an easy thing to accept. And yes, if the country can be stabilized and the Iraqi Security Forces can take over relatively soon, it would be worth it to stay. But if we’re just bailing water out of the Titanic here, there’s no point in staying. Staying will mean that instead of something on the order of 3000 dead, we’ll have 6000, or 9000, or more. You, or somebody like you, might say “cut and run” and make chicken sounds at me…I say “cut our losses and learn from our mistakes.”
The troops, I presume, are divided. Some of them want to stay and protect the people of Iraq. Others are tired of being there and want to return home. The second group doesn’t want to sacrifice their lives and they don’t believe their presence there serves a greater good. They should be allowed to come home. They did their best, they’ve been shot at, they’ve seen friends lose limbs. They’ve earned some time off.
“Also, our soldiers are NOT sitting ducks as you imagine. They are hunting the enemy. Their casualties are from OFFENSIVE, not defensive, operations. Since the propagandists in the MSM only report our casualties, but never the terrorists’, the false impression is formed that we are losing.”
Of course they’re sitting ducks. Part of their mission there is to keep the peace and try to prevent Sunni and Shi’ite from killing one another, which means they’re acting as a police force until Iraq gets a reliable police force of its own. That means they’re patrolling the country, which makes them vulnerable to attack in the same way that cop cars are vulnerable to attack if anybody were inclined to shoot at them.
Look, before this thing got started they painted a rosy picture of all Iraqis welcoming us with open arms, that the oil would pay for the occupation (Wolfowitz said that), that there wouldn’t be many American casualties at all. Those predictions have been wrong. So things are not going as planned, and yes, that creates the impression that we aren’t winning–or losing. It’s a stalemate. We can keep it up forever. We might even eventually win, but if we win it will be a Pyrrhic victory.

Rob Brown on December 15, 2006 at 9:56 am

“Did we not learn anything from the meetings Neville Chamberlain had with Hitler in the late 1930’s? I can only begin to describe the camoflaged hubris of the likes of James Baker, those nitwit Democrats who visit Syria, and others of their ilk, as true cowards. Their cowardice, if not shackled, will cost millions of lives in the near future. The only way to defend ourselves (and Israel), is to really go on the offensive, not just in Iraq, but in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else we need to. These people who are trying to destroy everything do not care about talking to anyone, other than to buy time to continue the development of nuclear weapons. They only understand a rock solid punch in the mouth! If we don’t stand up for ourselves at home and abroad, I feel quite certain, they will use their new weapons… first on Israel, and then on The United States of America. We can wait for the first blow to feel justified in acting, or we can recognize the clear and present danger, and prevent it!!”
Do you honestly think we have the manpower to occupy Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and anybody else who looks at us funny?
It requires a lot more courage to take a punch than it does to throw a punch at somebody who hasn’t provoked it yet.
Unlike Hitler, when he met with Chamberlain, Iran hasn’t invaded anybody yet. It might never do so. If it does, or if it launches warheads, then I’ll be the first to call for a counterstrike. Until then, we have no justification to attack it.

Rob Brown on December 15, 2006 at 10:08 am

Excuse me, Rob Brown, defeatist extraordiaire, you seem to be hostile to any views that are not your own. Your default reflex seems to be–surrender!

lexi on December 15, 2006 at 10:18 am

Rob Brown or whatever your real name is, reading you is exactly like reading the Muslim terrorists’ forums and listening to the CAIR people. I really don’t see any difference.
You are making the arguments for America’s defeatism which is exactly what terrorists such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Al Qaeda, Syria, Iran want.
In fact, you, like them, speak as if it’s in the interest of America to leave, yet, what they really want is to take over and dominate the region.
Either you’re a Liberal or a Muslim anti-America, it doesn’t matter. Both are the same now.

Independent Conservative on December 15, 2006 at 10:23 am

You want to learn more about the terrorist organization, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)?
Read the following article:
http://www.meforum.org/article/916
Or the printer-friendly version:
http://www.meforum.org/pf.php?id=916

Independent Conservative on December 15, 2006 at 10:35 am

Rob Brown, your comments demonstrate a total distaste for any action that involves defense, and I would worry if you had any political power. One of your comments, “It requires a lot more courage to take a punch than it does to throw a punch at somebody who hasn’t provoked it yet”, is absolutley ridiculous. It also contradicts your earlier comments about the “people who die for nothing” by standing firm in conflict, since you think that their actions are based on who is less cowardly. We are not measuring bravery, we meaure the smartest LONG-TERM decisions.
Pulling out of Iraq will continue to affect our Middle Eastern diplomacy for more years to come, and the Gulf War I is a primary example. If our president and leadership dismissed Baker’s suggestions and continued through to Baghdad, the U.S. could have overthrown Saddam 15 years ago. As a result, the entire region and situation would be different today.

ICBM-Man on December 15, 2006 at 11:04 am

OK, well that’s real nice, I get flamed for not agreeing with you on all of this and some of you assume I’m in cahoots with the big bad jihadists. And suppose I am a liberal, so what? Doesn’t mean we have no common ground. I’m not in favor of affirmative action if it means hiring incompetent people while passing up qualified people because of their race, I don’t believe in a nation-wide ban on every kind of firearm, I’m even pro-death penalty in certain cases.
In other words, I’m not in lockstep with every single “liberal” cause. So it is possible to convince me that you’re right if you make persuasive arguments with evidence to back ‘em up. I am not just going to plug my ears and sing loudly and keep telling you you’re full of it. Be nice if you extended the same courtesy to me. I guess I’ll see whether or not I’m hoping for too much.
Leaning to the left does not mean being completely brainless. Rest assured I don’t think every single conservative is a complete moron just because they call themselves “conservative” and believe in some things I don’t.
That being said, somebody did make a good point that my comment about it being “more courageous to take a punch” doesn’t jibe with my belief that calling it quits in Iraq might not be such a bad idea. Fair enough. We’re talking about different scenarios (waiting for a nation to take hostile action before launching a strike against them vs. leaving troops in harm’s way when they might not be able to accomplish the mission they were sent to do), but it’s a valid point.
I’m not going to speak in absolutes here. Maybe this thing is salvageable. Maybe it’s not. If it’s not, then there’s no point in staying. If it is, then staying is the right thing to do.
Now Dick Cheney said this in 1991 when he was Secretary of Defense:
“I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we we’re going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we’d have had to hunt him down. And once we’d done that and we’d gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we’d have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi’i government or a Kurdish government or Ba’athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it’s my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.”
Prophetic.

Rob Brown on December 15, 2006 at 11:29 am

Rob Brown,
Have you ever been in the military and, more important, have you ever been in combat? Have you ever been in the Middle East or Iraq? You don’t sound like someone who’s been there; I’m there now.
Gaylan King

Gaylan on December 15, 2006 at 11:38 am

H.L. Schlussel, Debbie Schlussel, and Jewish readers,
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik neir (shel) chanukah.
Happy Hanukkah!!

Independent Conservative on December 15, 2006 at 11:52 am

I have not been in the military, Gaylan, and I haven’t been to any part of the Middle East.
I said earlier I presumed that troops were divided on whether or not they should be there, and I based that presumption on the fact that many of them returned to the States and said as much. I didn’t say it was a fact, though, and I didn’t try to guess what percentage of them were still committed to the war effort and the rebuilding of Iraq.
You’re obviously in a much better position to know how people feel about being there than I am. How many of the people you’re serving with want to stay? How many of them would rather be somewhere else? What’s the pulse?

Rob Brown on December 15, 2006 at 12:24 pm

Thank you Debbie for continuing to lay out Traitors to America and our Military Might.
The Anti Establishment screamers do not want to see the continuation of our Constitution or our Cause for Freedom and Liberty.
In every opportunity provided Traitors will always take the direct side of the Enemy and against what is best for America, and if getting to sell Israel down the drain at the same time is like hitting a grand slam to win the World Series except there efforts are not done in a game. Americans deserve more than the ISG white flag. If left to truth, the UN would be sent to Iran to set up tent and make nice with the next little killer of Christians, Jews and anyone else that refuses to join the death squads of Islam.
But truth is something that does not bode well in Washington DC.
God Bless America and He will hang tough with those that take up His Cause.
Yes we are in a Religious War, unless I missed what Jihad is?
We need to turn our Troops loose in Iraq and if Syria and Iran do not stop making life miserable in Iraq, then we have plenty of planes loaded to bring to bear misery upon those who would lie just to hear themselves in the press one more time.
Iran and Syria can be turned back into sand, I think it is about time we take the glooves off of our Military Might and finish the job, to hell with peace, Islam does not see peace as Americans or sane people do. Peace to Islam means you live under their laws and join their cult.
War now, not later.
Baker and his ilk have tried to talk Islam to death for decades I don’t see anything except Islam killing all who want Freedom even if it means killing their own Muslims.

RWThinker on December 15, 2006 at 12:25 pm

One other thing, Gaylan. Even though I haven’t been in the military I do know a bit about tactics. Common sense alone tells me that if anti-American insurgents are skulking around in the shadows waiting for a chance to take a shot at you, and you guys are out in plain sight and if they can tell just by looking at what you’re wearing that you’re a member of the Coalition forces…well, that’s not an enviable position to be in.
But of course you can’t stay behind walls if you’re gonna make a difference there, and you can’t stay in armored vehicles all the time either, and you’ve gotta have contact with Iraqis so if they want to send an innocent-looking suicide bomber at you, they can. Do I have all of that right or am I mistaken about some or all of it?
I’m sorry if what I’ve said previously has angered people here, but this has been going on for over three years with no end in sight. I think if there was a stronger U.S. presence there, or if there were a U.N. peacekeeping force lending a hand, there’d be a better chance of restoring order and making it a safe environment. McCain wants to send more troops…but where will they come from? The military has already raised the maximum enlistment agae, they’ve sent National Guard people over there, so it appears that resources are stretched to their limit and that the only thing left to do is bring back the draft. But if I’m mistaken about that too, let me know. This is just the impression I get, remember.

Rob Brown on December 15, 2006 at 12:35 pm

“Iran and Syria can be turned back into sand, I think it is about time we take the glooves off of our Military Might and finish the job, to hell with peace, Islam does not see peace as Americans or sane people do.”
That sounds like genocide. The America I know and grew up admiring would never be a party to something like that.

Rob Brown on December 15, 2006 at 12:38 pm

Thank you for posting this most informative article! I was not aware of the Syrian murders of unarmed soldiers.
I have not read the Baker report in its entirety, but from what I did read, my immediate thought was the sheer treachery contained in its pages. It is a betrayal on so many levels (a betrayal of those brave Americans fighting in Iraq, a betrayal of Israelis, a betrayal even of the Iraqi people). It is a shameful, shameful document. (Yet, I suppose, “wonderful” if you happen to be a Saudi arabist, a Syrian Baathist, or an Iranian mullah — in short, an enemy of the United States).
Baker and his gang are utterly dispicable.

J.S. on December 15, 2006 at 1:12 pm

Rob Brown
Have you ever heard of the term un-conditional surrender? Apparently GWB has not heard that term either and that is why we are loosing this war.
People like you think we solve all the worlds problems through appeasement and diplomacy.
What you are advocating is for the USA to leave the middle east altogether.
You are wrong about Vietnam. Do you remember the 2 million that were slaughtered in Cambodia after we cut and run?
You call fighting a war genocide? Do you remember World War II. We dropped the Atom bomb not once but twice. Was that genocide?
What planet have you been living on?
Independent Conservative and Rocketman are right.
If it were up to me we would take the gloves off and stop fighting this war with our military’s hands behind its back and that includes bombing Iran and Syria back into the stone age.
They have stated numerous times they intend to do the same to us and they are serious.
Just a note, most of the solders in our military are not divided about fighting in Iraq. They just want our limp leaders in DC to allow them to do their job without the ridiculous rules of engagement that they forced to be fighting under.

ScottyDog on December 15, 2006 at 1:27 pm

Jesus…
You are not going to cause me to lose my temper, especially if that’s what you’re going for.
But stop telling me what I believe because you don’t know me. I don’t want to solve all the world’s problems through “appeasement”. Some problems call for diplomacy. Some call for military action. And there are some things, like the human rights abuses in China, that it’s virtually impossible (if not completely impossible) for the U.S. to solve.
Pick your battles wisely, is what I’m saying.
I’m a realist, ScottyDog. If you keep on punching a wall until your knuckles bleed and you haven’t even made a dent, it might just mean its an exercise in futility.
Am I happy about all the people who were slaughtered, imprisoned and tortured after the U.S. left in Vietnam? Of course I’m not! But that war, I am 99.9% sure, was also an exercise in futility. It was fought over the course of three administrations, it was going nowhere, and if we stayed the way you wanted then it wouldn’t have been tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers killed, it would have been a hundred thousand or hundreds of thousands.
There are some jobs that simply cannot be done, no matter how much time and effort and resources you spend on them. Is Iraq one of those jobs? I won’t presume to guess. But it’s sure looking that way right now, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Btw I’ll wait for the response of Gaylan King to my question about how the troops he knows feel about things. With all due respect, I asked him, not you.

Rob Brown on December 15, 2006 at 1:56 pm

Sorry, Brown, but I got as far as your assertion that the “Domino Theory” was proven false and I just couldn’t read any more of your assessment.
Southeast Asia went to hell after the U.S. pulled out. To assert otherwise is false, thus rendering everything you write as merely uninformed opinion – and sadly LOTS of Americans (fortunately, mostly left-wingers) have those to spare.
Lead, Follow, Or Get Out Of The Way
~(ƒ)~

Rocketman on December 15, 2006 at 2:16 pm

Rob Brown
You are once again wrong in your assertions about Vietnam. We were winning the war and the top General of the North Vietnam Army made this very clear in an article he wrote for the NY Times years after we withdrew. Look it up.
They were on the verge of collapsing but people like you, in the peace movement, forced us to withdraw just like you want us to do.
You can wait for your reply from Gaylan but I have friends and relatives that are serving in Iraq which is what I based my comments on my previous post.
Funny how you ignored the whole genocide comment.
It is obvious you have never served in the military from your posts.
Some people believe in fighting for freedom and that means killing the enemy not withdrawing in the face of adversity.
The last thing we need BTW is the UN sticking it self into this conflict. We need to take the gloves off and win the war. Sadly it looks likely we will have to suffer more attacks before some Americans realize that we are in a war for our survival.
I blame GWB for the problems in Iraq. He is responsible for the rules of engagement and letting the state department micro manage this war.
It is encouraging that he may tell the ISG to stuff it. Maybe, just maybe he has seen the light.
You cannot negotiate with fanatics and dictators that have told us over and over again that they intend to destroy us and our way of life.

ScottyDog on December 15, 2006 at 5:31 pm

Thank you, Dr. Schlussel for a very insightful column. And thank you, Debbie, for giving your father the opportunity to share his wisdom.
I pray President Bush will continue to not be satisfied with anything less than victory in Iraq. This ISG report is nothing more than appeasement. America did not become the world’s mightiest country by appeasing anyone. If word had leaked out about the A bomb, congress and liberals would have screamed “no way” “inhumane” “no no no” and many more Americans would have died. Yes, it was horrific…but it sure got their attention. We must stay strong! God Bless America!

JASCC on December 15, 2006 at 9:13 pm

Rob Brown,
The problem with your ideas is that you sound like someone who watches the evening news and assumes he understands what’s going on in Iraq. You seem to lack any real sense of history or of the importance of this current conflict to America’s future. Muslims have been military opponents of this country since Thomas Jefferson’s time in office (the Barbary pirates were Muslims). Their tricks of invade, kidnap, rob, ransom, behead and terrorize haven’t changed much since then. What has changed is the modern Muslims have a renewed desire for expansionism in the 21st century. First, they want to destroy Israel because they consider it their land (they stole it sometime during the first two centuries of Islam’s existence from the Christians and Jews who lived there). Then they want to take over Europe (also a centuries-old goal — reference Charles Martel). The grand prize is America. The reason we as Americans cannot let this happen is that Islam is completely inimical to liberty, human rights, equality and independent thought — i.e. all those things Americans are supposed to believe are worth defending. And when you’re talking about death tolls and the supposedly terrible situation in Iraq, consider that we’ve lost only a few thousand soldiers in three years there and the murder rate in Iraq isn’t much worse than the murder rate in Washington, D.C. Now go look up the Battle of the Bulge, where we lost some 80,000 or 90,000 American lives and killed 120,000 or so Germans — and that was one battlefield! Yet we still won that war. Our country recently reached a population of 300 million — don’t tell me we can’t muster the manpower to overrun a few hundred gutter snipes with homemade explosives. What’s lacking in Iraq is the political will to win, as evidenced by the ISG report and the recent Democrat gains. And much of the reason for that lack of will must be attributed to the campaign of lies and half-truths that has been engaged in by the Democrats and the media. It also must be acknowledged that large sections of our bureaucracy, including the intelligence services and the state department, have their own agendas and have fought President Bush’s policies tooth and nail. Syria and Iran, for some reason, have far too much influence on our government. It may go back to Jimmy Carter — who knows? But all the panic about how we’re “losing” in Iraq and we have to cut our losses just sounds like out-and-out hysteria. This country needs a good slap in the face to wake up and realize that our future is at stake here and we’d better get off our prissy little butts and confront the bad guys, Iran and Syria. And the way to win is not to occupy foreign countries, but to do what the Marines did in Tripoli — sail in, do your job and leave the place a smoldering ruin after the bad guys have surrendered.

mechmorph on December 16, 2006 at 4:26 am

“First, they want to destroy Israel because they consider it their land (they stole it sometime during the first two centuries of Islam’s existence from the Christians and Jews who lived there).”
OK, bear with me here, but IMO we’re hardly in a position to be casting aspersions since our ancestors stole North America from the people who lived there.
Now let’s say there were a military power even greater than the U.S., and it came along and said “everybody out of Florida, we’re giving the entire state to the Native Americans, since it rightfully belongs to them. And if you refuse, we’ll remove you by force.”
The people who lived in Florida would be angry, and why not? It wasn’t THEM who did anything to the Native American population. They have homes there, they have lives there, and now they’re being forced out?
This, I’m guessing, is what was going through the minds of everybody who got displaced in order to create Israel. Am I wrong?
“Our country recently reached a population of 300 million — don’t tell me we can’t muster the manpower to overrun a few hundred gutter snipes with homemade explosives.”
Well, why haven’t we done so, then?
“Then they want to take over Europe (also a centuries-old goal — reference Charles Martel).”
Even if they want to, I have a hard time believing that they CAN. Any more than the IRA was able to defeat England.
“The grand prize is America. The reason we as Americans cannot let this happen is that Islam is completely inimical to liberty, human rights, equality and independent thought — i.e. all those things Americans are supposed to believe are worth defending.”
So’s the Old Testament. You know, stone adulterers to death, etc. It’s a very repressive book. That doesn’t mean everybody who follows its teachings is some kind of insane extremist. There are some parts that are just ignored these days, and that’s good.
The fact that every single Muslim in the world hasn’t violently risen up and begun killing every infidel they saw makes me think that not all of them are crazy enough to take the more extreme parts of the Koran literally.
You’ll have to forgive me, but a red flag goes up whenever I see somebody condemn an entire religion. Ever since WWII. Know what I’m saying?
“And when you’re talking about death tolls and the supposedly terrible situation in Iraq, consider that we’ve lost only a few thousand soldiers in three years there and the murder rate in Iraq isn’t much worse than the murder rate in Washington, D.C. Now go look up the Battle of the Bulge, where we lost some 80,000 or 90,000 American lives and killed 120,000 or so Germans — and that was one battlefield! Yet we still won that war.”
The difference is, and I guess we’re just gonna have to disagree on this since there’s no way I can prove it to you, that Hitler had been a threat to all of Europe, if not the entire globe! Saddam Hussein was only a threat to his own people. Until somebody finds WMD and proves that they were going to be used against the U.S., I won’t believe otherwise.
And I’m not just looking at U.S. casualty figures, I’m looking at the Iraqi death toll, and I don’t like it. As brutal as Saddam may have been, I have a hard time believing that he would have killed 30, 000 or more of his people every single year. I read somewhere recently somebody in Iraq said even under Saddam, you could still go out into the streets without having to worry about being blown up. You can’t do that anymore.
“And much of the reason for that lack of will must be attributed to the campaign of lies and half-truths that has been engaged in by the Democrats and the media.”
I’m beginning to run out of patience. Answer me this: if all of the media except what Murdoch owns has some evil master plan to bring down all Republicans and conservatives, then WHY were they all acting as cheerleaders for Bush in the leadup to the invasion of Iraq? Wouldn’t they have been doing their damndest to cast doubt on whether Saddam really was an imminent threat?
Don’t talk to me about half-truths and outright dishonesty when in 2004 Kerry said “I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history,” and the Bush/Cheney campaign began telling everybody he wanted to fight a more sensitive war on terror. “He talks about leading a ‘more sensitive war on terror,’ as though Al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side,” Cheney mocked during his speech at the RNC.
And that’s just one example. If Democrats fought dirty in 2006, it was because that’s the tone which was set in 2004.
“It also must be acknowledged that large sections of our bureaucracy, including the intelligence services and the state department, have their own agendas and have fought President Bush’s policies tooth and nail.”
Well wow, it’s a wonder he’s gotten ANYTHING done, then. For God’s sake man, the intelligence services are working against him? The NSA covered up his illegal wiretapping! George Tenet of the FBI told him that Iraq would be a slam dunk! Is that “fighting him tooth and nail”? You know what, I’m gonna have to wrap this up soon because my patience is almost at an end here, if it hasn’t already reached its end.
“But all the panic about how we’re “losing” in Iraq and we have to cut our losses just sounds like out-and-out hysteria.”
No, what sounds like out and out hysteria is when people say unless we do this there will be another 9/11. And that unless we do this it’ll be the end of the world as we know it. You’re talking like somebody who’s scared to death of what’s gonna happen if we withdraw. I am not the one who needs to grow a spine here.
ROB BROWN:
YOUR POSTED COMMENTS ARE WAY TOO LONG, AND I AM GETTING MANY COMPLAINTS OVER THEIR LENGTH. I AGREE WITH THOSE COMPLAINTS. SO PLEASE MAKE YOUR COMMENTS SHORTER. THANKS.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Rob Brown on December 16, 2006 at 9:48 am

Rob Brown writes:
“OK, bear with me here, but IMO we’re hardly in a position to be casting aspersions since our ancestors STOLE North America from the people who lived there.”
Rob–You must be fairly new to the DS site–I don’t recognize your ID. You have put up some long posts here–I haven’t had the time to read them through–but if this premise is typical of the kind of reasoning you employ throughout–I am not going waste my time. You sound like the “professor” Ward Churchill from Colorado who compared the Twin Towers 911 vitims to the Nazis/little Eichmans. What are they teaching you guys these days?

BB on December 16, 2006 at 1:44 pm

Winning in Iraq (or accomplishing anything else beneficial to the U.S.) is not likely when our “govt.” is owned by private individuals who are not very concerned about the sovereignty, safety or strength of our country. Their motives / reasons for opposing Islamofascists are different from those held by true patriots. Our govt. is owned by the same people who own the Federal Reserve. They control the dollar and virtually every important arena (gold; credit; insurance; transportation; energy, etc.) and plainly, whether the citizens of the US thrive is not of much concern to them. If it was, the southern border, using one obvious example, would be the site of a virtually impenetrable barrier that was in the process of being erected with alacrity. Instead, we are witness to govt. abetment of what is obviously an invasion.

wesley123 on December 16, 2006 at 10:37 pm

Oh dear god, do not compare me to that nutjob professor. I’ve got no idea what he was thinking but I certainly don’t consider the 9/11 victims anything like Nazis.
Debbie, please stop capping at me, thanks. It’s rude. But I will respect your wishes and keep this short.
“What are they teaching you guys these days?”
You know, I’d go into that, but it would be another long post. To put it simply: I believe the means almost never justify the ends. And yes, I’m new here.
wesley123, I honestly have no idea what the motives for going into Iraq were. I won’t jump to conclusions. Whatever is going on, I agree with you that blind trust in the government at all times is not wise.
Those of you who refrained from being obnoxious with me, thank you, and I apologize if I was out of line before.

Rob Brown on December 17, 2006 at 8:37 am

Oh, almost forgot: I know Tenet was with the CIA, not the FBI. Just misspoke is all. I realize there’s a big difference.

Rob Brown on December 17, 2006 at 11:09 am

Rob Brown…as one can quickly surmise, you are new to Debbie’s column. When she uses CAPS, she is not being rude, only making sure everyone knows it is her addition to another’s post.

JASCC on December 17, 2006 at 8:02 pm

In 1976 the MARONITE CHRISTIANS (Eastern Rite Catholics) asked Syria to enter Lebanon and help them to control the aggressive PLO who had established a base in Lebanon to ATTACK ISRAEL from. SYRIA enters Lebanon and helps the Christians initially, but SYRIA then BETRAYS THEM by becoming the dominant oppressor in Lebanon and by occupying 40% of the country which Syrian dictator ASSAD declares is now GREATER SYRIA!
1982 marks the year ISRAEL enters Lebanon at the request of the Maronite Christians, and confronts its two worst enemies, Syria and the PLO.
Eventually Israel withdraws after the Maronite Christian president Bashir Gemayel is ASSASSINATED. Israel then establishes ìsecurity-basedî alliance with the Christians. US becomes involved in 1983 and EVENTUALLY withdraws its troops when SYRIA RENEGED on armistice agreement negotiated by George P. Shultz.
LEBANON is then left in complete ANARCHY.
CHRISTIAN Major-General AOUN tells world press, ìWe shall write our story and say the West doesnít help us.î
Like SYRIA or IRAN can be EVER trusted! And BAKER canítÖbecause he sells out the both the CHRISTIANS and the JEWS! GREAT EXPOS…, especially on this point Mr. Schlussel, that WE ALWAYS NEED to remember! WHY are the CHRISTIANS and the JEWS always sold out!
The problem of IRAQ is easy to solve.
Establish THREE democratic countriesÖone Kurd, one Shiíite, one Sunni.
POWER SHARING didnít work in LEBANON or YugoslaviaÖit wonít work in IRAQñ
BUSH is almost thereÖby establishing democracy, not in a UNIFIED IRAQ Mr. Prez butÖbreak her up, baby, break her upÖand your plan WILL work.

The Canadien on December 18, 2006 at 8:43 am

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