Baker panel changes mission

Ed Lasky
The Baker Commission was supposedly convened to deal with Iraq. Yet Steven Erlanger of the New York Times writes today that the

"bulk of the report by the Baker-Hamilton group  focused on a recommendation that the United States devise a far more aggressive diplomatic initiative in the Middle East than Mr. Bush has been willing to try so far, including direct engagement with Iran and Syria. Initially, those contacts might take place as part of a regional conference on Iraq or broader Middle East peace issues like the Israeli-Palestinian situation, but they would ultimately involve direct, high-level talks with Tehran and Damascus."
In other words, Baker and Company transformed this single issue commission into a force to be used to try to push Israel into a regional conference with its enemies.

"Heard final testimony from John Kerry."
Huh? Where is the expertise there? Of course, the same could be said about Vernon Jordan, Leon E. Panetta and William J. Perry, and a Clinton adviser, Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Charles S. Robb, former Democratic governor of Virginia, and Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, were also on the panel, along with Sandra Day O'Connor, a former Supreme Court justice who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Why include Edwin Meese III, who served as attorney general under Ronald Reagan.?

Maybe this makes sense when one considers that  witnesses have included Robert Malley(who has an indulgent attitude towards Hamas and has been an apologist for Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority for years) and  and Ray Close who made a fortune via business dealings with the Saudi secret police and whose son is a lobbyist  for Saudi Arabia.
The Baker Commission was supposedly convened to deal with Iraq. Yet Steven Erlanger of the New York Times writes today that the

"bulk of the report by the Baker-Hamilton group  focused on a recommendation that the United States devise a far more aggressive diplomatic initiative in the Middle East than Mr. Bush has been willing to try so far, including direct engagement with Iran and Syria. Initially, those contacts might take place as part of a regional conference on Iraq or broader Middle East peace issues like the Israeli-Palestinian situation, but they would ultimately involve direct, high-level talks with Tehran and Damascus."
In other words, Baker and Company transformed this single issue commission into a force to be used to try to push Israel into a regional conference with its enemies.

"Heard final testimony from John Kerry."
Huh? Where is the expertise there? Of course, the same could be said about Vernon Jordan, Leon E. Panetta and William J. Perry, and a Clinton adviser, Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Charles S. Robb, former Democratic governor of Virginia, and Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, were also on the panel, along with Sandra Day O'Connor, a former Supreme Court justice who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Why include Edwin Meese III, who served as attorney general under Ronald Reagan.?

Maybe this makes sense when one considers that  witnesses have included Robert Malley(who has an indulgent attitude towards Hamas and has been an apologist for Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority for years) and  and Ray Close who made a fortune via business dealings with the Saudi secret police and whose son is a lobbyist  for Saudi Arabia.