David Ignatius hails James Baker

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In this column in yesterday's Washington Post, David Ignatius hails the return of James Baker to the corridors of power in Washington and calls for him to be appointed special Middle East emissary . He lays on the praise and the fawning. He states that Baker gives the term "wheeler—dealer" a good name.

Hmm...  I wonder how Ignatius viewed Baker's efforts during the Florida voter recount battle 6 years ago. Somehow I doubt he had such fulsome praise. But aside from this aspect, does Ignatius bring any sense of history to this worshipful column, especially history from just the last two days?

 Does Ignatius read the Wall Street Journal? Baker's wheeling—dealing? He was White House Chief of Staff when Reagan dispatched Donald Rumsfeld to shake hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983. He was Secretary of State when he ensured Saddam's grip on power after Iraqis heeded President Bush's Feb.15, 1991 call for

"the Iraqis people [to] take  matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein the dictator to step aside".

In the months that followed, Hussein massacred tens of thousands of civilians.

Baker's style of "wheeling—dealing" is to insult allies and coddle terrorists. In his Wall Street Journal column Tuesday, Bret Stephens outlined Baker's history of wheeling—dealing. He covered Secretary of State James Baker's demeaning and humiliating reading aloud of the phone number for the White House while giving Congressional testimony, ostensibly for the benefit of Israel once they got "serious about peace". Stephens continued,

"For its efforts, the Bush administration brought Arabs and Israelis together for the Madrid Peace Conference, which set the groundwork for the Oslo Accords. These were touted as historic achievements, but for Israel it meant more terrorism, culminating in the second intifada, and for the Palestinians it meant repression in the person of Yasser Arafat and mass radicalization in the movement of Hamas. Worse, Mr. Baker fostered the fatal perception that the failure of Arabs and Jews to make peace was the root of the region's problems, not a symptom of them, and that the obstacle to peace was intransigent Israel, not militant Islam. Bob Gates later gave voice to that perception when he wrote, in a 1998 New York Times op—ed, that the road to Mideast peace must "not kowtow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's obstructionism."

Or take "Lawrence of Serbia," the moniker Mr. Eagleburger earned for his initial indulgence, as the State Department's point man on Yugoslav affairs during the early 1990s while the country was coming apart, of Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic. Mr. Eagleburger, who had longstanding business ties in Belgrade, spent the early period of the war largely ignoring Mr. Milosevic's depredations on his neighbors, including paramilitary slaughters in Vukovar and concentration camps in Omarska. "There was a kind of preference for stability and an attachment to the old Yugoslavia over our interests in human rights," Patrick Glynn of the American Enterprise Institute told Newsday in 1992, adding the administration had "been standing by, waiting while the final solution is played out."

Which brings us to "Chicken Kiev," Mr. Bush's spectacularly misconceived August 1991 speech in what was shortly to become the capital of independent Ukraine. Mr. Bush's reluctance to acknowledge —— and better manage —— the breakup of Yugoslavia was partly a function of his reluctance to acknowledge the impending breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall from grace of his friend Mikhail Gorbachev. The U.S. was the 39th country to re—establish diplomatic ties with Lithuania, after Iceland and Mongolia had already paved the way. Once Mr. Gorbachev was gone, Mr. Bush was equally reluctant to help the new Russia get on its feet, prompting Richard Nixon to complain about the administration's "pathetically inadequate response in light of the opportunities we face in the crisis in the former Soviet Union."

Ignatius goes on to state that he believes Iran does not want a Shiite ascendancy in Iraq. Quote,

"The Iranian envoy is said to have explained that Tehran shares America's interest in calming the situation in Iraq and that contrary to U.S. fears, it doesn't seek a Shiite victory in the Iraqi civil war"?

Hmm...  is that why they offered refuge during the Hussein dictatorship to so many Shiites, many of whom are now leaders in the radicalism that is washing over Iraq now?

Ignatius refusal to even touch upon the facts of Baker's history that should disqualify him offering his advice regarding the future course of American foreign policy.

He also seems to have his vision occluded regarding the history of our dealings with Iran. He does not even mention Iran's gloating over their plans to destroy Israel, a democratic ally of ours, or its expressed desire to bring down America. Or its role in the Beirut barracks bombings. Or its role in the Khobar housing complex. All are terror attacks that killed Americans. Or its history of lying to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union regarding its nuclear program. Or its support for Hezbollah and other terror groups.

Ignatius' trips throughout the Arab world — as he touts in his columns — seem to have led him to become a shill for tyrants.

Ed Lasky   11 16 06

In this column in yesterday's Washington Post, David Ignatius hails the return of James Baker to the corridors of power in Washington and calls for him to be appointed special Middle East emissary . He lays on the praise and the fawning. He states that Baker gives the term "wheeler—dealer" a good name.

Hmm...  I wonder how Ignatius viewed Baker's efforts during the Florida voter recount battle 6 years ago. Somehow I doubt he had such fulsome praise. But aside from this aspect, does Ignatius bring any sense of history to this worshipful column, especially history from just the last two days?

 Does Ignatius read the Wall Street Journal? Baker's wheeling—dealing? He was White House Chief of Staff when Reagan dispatched Donald Rumsfeld to shake hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983. He was Secretary of State when he ensured Saddam's grip on power after Iraqis heeded President Bush's Feb.15, 1991 call for

"the Iraqis people [to] take  matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein the dictator to step aside".

In the months that followed, Hussein massacred tens of thousands of civilians.

Baker's style of "wheeling—dealing" is to insult allies and coddle terrorists. In his Wall Street Journal column Tuesday, Bret Stephens outlined Baker's history of wheeling—dealing. He covered Secretary of State James Baker's demeaning and humiliating reading aloud of the phone number for the White House while giving Congressional testimony, ostensibly for the benefit of Israel once they got "serious about peace". Stephens continued,

"For its efforts, the Bush administration brought Arabs and Israelis together for the Madrid Peace Conference, which set the groundwork for the Oslo Accords. These were touted as historic achievements, but for Israel it meant more terrorism, culminating in the second intifada, and for the Palestinians it meant repression in the person of Yasser Arafat and mass radicalization in the movement of Hamas. Worse, Mr. Baker fostered the fatal perception that the failure of Arabs and Jews to make peace was the root of the region's problems, not a symptom of them, and that the obstacle to peace was intransigent Israel, not militant Islam. Bob Gates later gave voice to that perception when he wrote, in a 1998 New York Times op—ed, that the road to Mideast peace must "not kowtow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's obstructionism."

Or take "Lawrence of Serbia," the moniker Mr. Eagleburger earned for his initial indulgence, as the State Department's point man on Yugoslav affairs during the early 1990s while the country was coming apart, of Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic. Mr. Eagleburger, who had longstanding business ties in Belgrade, spent the early period of the war largely ignoring Mr. Milosevic's depredations on his neighbors, including paramilitary slaughters in Vukovar and concentration camps in Omarska. "There was a kind of preference for stability and an attachment to the old Yugoslavia over our interests in human rights," Patrick Glynn of the American Enterprise Institute told Newsday in 1992, adding the administration had "been standing by, waiting while the final solution is played out."

Which brings us to "Chicken Kiev," Mr. Bush's spectacularly misconceived August 1991 speech in what was shortly to become the capital of independent Ukraine. Mr. Bush's reluctance to acknowledge —— and better manage —— the breakup of Yugoslavia was partly a function of his reluctance to acknowledge the impending breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall from grace of his friend Mikhail Gorbachev. The U.S. was the 39th country to re—establish diplomatic ties with Lithuania, after Iceland and Mongolia had already paved the way. Once Mr. Gorbachev was gone, Mr. Bush was equally reluctant to help the new Russia get on its feet, prompting Richard Nixon to complain about the administration's "pathetically inadequate response in light of the opportunities we face in the crisis in the former Soviet Union."

Ignatius goes on to state that he believes Iran does not want a Shiite ascendancy in Iraq. Quote,

"The Iranian envoy is said to have explained that Tehran shares America's interest in calming the situation in Iraq and that contrary to U.S. fears, it doesn't seek a Shiite victory in the Iraqi civil war"?

Hmm...  is that why they offered refuge during the Hussein dictatorship to so many Shiites, many of whom are now leaders in the radicalism that is washing over Iraq now?

Ignatius refusal to even touch upon the facts of Baker's history that should disqualify him offering his advice regarding the future course of American foreign policy.

He also seems to have his vision occluded regarding the history of our dealings with Iran. He does not even mention Iran's gloating over their plans to destroy Israel, a democratic ally of ours, or its expressed desire to bring down America. Or its role in the Beirut barracks bombings. Or its role in the Khobar housing complex. All are terror attacks that killed Americans. Or its history of lying to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union regarding its nuclear program. Or its support for Hezbollah and other terror groups.

Ignatius' trips throughout the Arab world — as he touts in his columns — seem to have led him to become a shill for tyrants.

Ed Lasky   11 16 06