Also a TimesOnline column by Matthew Parris gives probably the best assessment of the Baker report I've seen so far. Parris notes that most of the recommendations in the report are bunk and have no hope of success. That, he says, was never the point. There is no success to be had anymore. But this is a plan that responds to both success and failure in exactly the same way: withdrawing the troops. Quote:
The plan itself won’t work. As the BBC’s eloquent and curiously underrated Washington correspondent, Justin Webb, put it on the radio this week, “it is the tone” not the detail of Baker’s report that is important and new.
That’s true. The tone says: “We’ve lost.” The tone says: “We should have seen this coming.” The tone says: “All we can do now is play a losing hand.” General Sir Mike Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff, missed the point magnificently this week when he worried aloud that the trouble with a set deadline (of 2008) was that we might have to quit without having achieved our war aims. Poor, upright, soldierly Sir Mike has not realised that that is the whole idea.
But Mr Baker has, and furious neocons realise it too. The term realpolitik has become a cliché in media treatment of the ISG report this week but the irony is this: Baker’s conclusions are anything but realistic: they represent unrealism of the most fanciful kind. His route map is to La-la Land. He knows it. His report is the sugar. The pill is Defeat.