To The Rescue?
Former Secretary of State, and long-time Bush Family consigliere James A. Baker, III, may be working on an exit strategy for Iraq. If true, this would represent just about the only time Bush II has ever listened to any of his father's advisors. Say what you like about Bush I, but if you have to fight a Middle Eastern War, he knew how to do it: through (after some prodding) the UN and with broad international backing. Like many of people, I criticized Bush I for not pushing on to Baghdad and taking out Saddam after liberating Kuwait: I was wrong. It's abundantly clear now that the sequence of events would have played out almost exactly like they did a decade later: an initial flurry of welcoming, then a long, grinding bloody insurgency. I will, however, maintain my criticism of Bush I for abandoning the Shia and the Kurds to Saddam's tender mercies. Doing so cost thousands of Kurdish civilians their lives and pushed the Shia closer to Iran, a mistake that is coming home to roost even now.