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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill


Brace for Impact

Here come the Fatuous Baker Boys, there goes our chance of winning the War on Terror:

Later this week, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group are going to deliver a draft of their report to the White House. We can safely assume that it will be promptly leaked, and the media will rush to adopt it as if it were the latest delivered on marble plaques from atop Mount Sinai. The Pentagon is working on its own recommendations, which may be lost in the coming media feeding frenzy over the Baker report. And like every such plan, the study commission recommendations won't survive the first contact with the enemy (or, in these times, our "friends"). It is up to the president to do that which he has not yet done: lead like a war president and use all the power of the United States -- diplomatic, economic and military -- to establish the agenda for Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. The president shouldn't rush or allow himself to be stampeded by a media and the Democrats into taking anyone's recommendations at face value.

If the president allows himself to be entrapped by the Baker commission, as is sadly most likely, the agenda for progress in the Middle East will be set by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar Assad, Moqtada al-Sadr and Hassan Nasrallah. Ahmadinejad, anticipating the Baker report, has already put a price on Iran's "cooperation" on Iraq. He said last week, "The Iranian nation is ready to help you to get out of the quagmire -- on condition that you resume behaving in a just manner and avoid bullying and invading....Then, nations of the region, headed by the Iranian nation, will be ready to show you the path of salvation....It is the time for the leaders of the U.S. and U.K to listen. You have reached a dead end in our region as well as in the world." The Kissingerian "realists" will label this bluff and bluster and say, as they said in 1973, that we can negotiate a deal for "peace with honor." It would be better for us to take the enemy at his word, and his deed.

Iran and Syria -- believing the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group will recommend a retreat from Iraq -- are pushing violently for outright control of Lebanon by the Hizballah terrorists. The assassination of moderate Lebanese Christian leader Pierre Gemayel occurred within days of Hizballah leader Nasrallah's demand for a veto over Lebanese government action. Neither would have occurred without Syrian and Iranian support. (One Hizballah "parliamentarian" said on Fox News a few nights ago that his "party" wouldn't deny its connections to Syria and Iran.) Again, take the enemy at his word. Lebanon cannot pretend to democracy while it is in thrall to the terrorists of Hizballah, and Hizballah's service as the proxy for Syria and Iran cannot be ignored. In Iraq, as in Lebanon, wars cannot be won by fighting proxies.

I don't often agree with Bush critics, but his incompetence in dealing with Iran and Syria and in allowing himself to be rolled by ol' Israeli-hating Jimmy Baker is a huge, huge problem.

Leaders lead, and they do so by seizing the initiative, not by allowing others to do so.


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