The Baker's Dough
December 6, 2006 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Baker to the rescue Is this guy the most powerful lawyer in the world? And he is now beginning not just to advise Bush but also it seems to dump Israel as an ally in favor of giving various Arab and Muslim groups--including our enemies-- what they have long wished for. As for the tiny democracy called Israel, they can have this for their future. Follow the dough (and oil)
posted by Postroad (66 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, I believe that the Zionist lobby is one we have not heard much from. Do tell.
posted by dhartung at 3:27 PM on December 6, 2006

Translation: Bush screwed the pooch, it's time to cut and run.

Not only does Iraq turn out not to be in America's interest, it's also bad for Israel.

*waves hand in disgust*
posted by modernerd at 3:31 PM on December 6, 2006

Baker is not calling for "dumping Israel as an ally," he is merely talking about discussing the Arab position amongst Arabs (and Iran)... presumably to discuss the Israeli position with the Israelis directly. When two people are fighting, it's not uncommon to take each of them aside to discuss their grievances in private. And as for the Palestinian right of return, the report merely discusses "addressing" it (since the Palestinians have brought it up as a grievance). So what.

Note that I wouldn't lose any sleep if Israel was dumped as an ally or if Palestinians got their right of return. But that's beside the point.
posted by zarex at 3:36 PM on December 6, 2006

Wait... soo we are going to quit being allies with the country that is committing ethnic cleansing in territory under the control and war crimes in in neighboring countries? wow! WTF?
posted by specialk420 at 3:37 PM on December 6, 2006

It's a start. Finally.
posted by Flashman at 3:42 PM on December 6, 2006

Interesting theory articles:
> Diaspora politics in the United States
> Ethnic interests group
> Ethnic interests groups in the United States

Interesting articles about specific ethnic lobby groups:
> Arab lobby in the United States
> Israel lobby in the United States

I find that there is some mystery or confusion about these topics that make them difficult to debate openly. They are actually pretty straight forward.
posted by bhouston at 3:44 PM on December 6, 2006

President: What happen?
Baker: Somebody set up us the bomb.
Hamilton: We get signal.
President: What!!
Baker: Main screen turn on.
President: It's you!!
AIPAC: How are you gentlemen!!
AIPAC: All your base are belong to us.
AIPAC: You are on the way to destruction.
President: What you say!!
AIPAC: You have no chance to survive make your time.
AIPAC: Ha ha ha...
Baker: President!!
President: Take off every 'Yid'!!
President: You know what you doing.
President: Move 'Yid'.
President: For great justice.

posted by three blind mice at 3:58 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

I love the Right-to-Mainstream Media hyper-ventilating about "negotiating with Iran and Syria."

When you jump into a 20-foot deep pile of flaming shit, you really aren't in what diplomats call a "position of strength."

But this is the biggest game of CYA ever played. American kids dying will grease the skids for Bush II to be one of the worst POTUS's ever, rather than the unanimous loser.
posted by bardic at 4:04 PM on December 6, 2006

We have to do diplomacy, crime-fighting and investigation, and international action only.

Bush didn't want this commission (like he never wanted and ignored the 9/11 commission)--nothing will change til he's impeached or out of office. It's a horrendous psychodrama now--with body counts and buckets of blood.
posted by amberglow at 4:06 PM on December 6, 2006

Paging felix betachat...
posted by koeselitz at 4:17 PM on December 6, 2006

some recommendations sure to be ignored: ...RECOMMENDATION 22: The President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. If the Iraqi government were to request a temporary base or bases, then the U.S. government could consider that request as it would in the case of any other government.
RECOMMENDATION 35: The United States must make active efforts to engage all parties in Iraq, with the exception of al Qaeda. The United States must find a way to talk to Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Moqtada al-Sadr, and militia and insurgent leaders.
RECOMMENDATION 40: The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:20 PM on December 6, 2006

...the "mainstream" elite consensus which holds that Iraq is almost certainly doomed, but that we should sort of keep on prosecuting the war for years and years just because it would be embarrassing to give up and, hell, who knows maybe a pony will come along. That sort of thing works, I think, if and only if you regard the war as a total abstraction, rather than actual events happening to actual people. ...
posted by amberglow at 4:23 PM on December 6, 2006

As for the tiny democracy called Israel, they can have this for their future.

This is a good thing for democracy, no?
posted by twistedonion at 4:24 PM on December 6, 2006

...Welcome to 1968: everyone knows the war must end and victory is unachievable, but the will to actually withdraw in full remains unpalatable to the political class. ...
posted by amberglow at 4:29 PM on December 6, 2006

Posty, Posty, Posty... a link to Insight Mag directly recycled from Drudge, and with an even more misleading spin? Makes one nostalgic for YouTube link dumps.

"Dump Israel" to solve the Iraq mess? It cannot and will not be that easy -- and even you know that. It's going to take a lot of money, a lot of time. And a lot of blood (most of it non-American, don't worry -- that's what counts in the end).

See, Baker and Hamilton and the other grown-ups are just trying to fix the mess you've been cheerleading your country into, Posty. Really, for somebody who used to be as gung-ho in the old Attaq-Iraq department as you were until very recently, you should be a little more careful now, Postroad. Or ashamed. Or, you know, even both.
posted by matteo at 4:31 PM on December 6, 2006

Armitage, you're so right--for Bill Bennett to trash anyone is laughable--and i'm surprised he wasn't struck by lightning as he typed those words.
posted by amberglow at 4:32 PM on December 6, 2006

Here's the Iraq Study Group report.
posted by russilwvong at 4:32 PM on December 6, 2006

Honestly, Bill Bennett hating it that much makes me think it will have a good (if minimal) affect re: keeping more American kids from dying.
posted by bardic at 4:36 PM on December 6, 2006

Lots of tinfoil in this post. Crunchy.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:41 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by you just lost the game at 4:48 PM on December 6, 2006

I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit.

We have, kinda. I'd rather be killed in a nuclear blast than have drill-bits punched through my neck, however.
posted by bardic at 4:52 PM on December 6, 2006

monju_bosatsu writes "Lots of tinfoil in this post. Crunchy."

Indeed. That damn liberal Baker should know we've got to Stay The Course® and not Cut And Run® like a bunch of cowards. Why does Baker Hate America®? Only a traitor would suggest the President is wrong.
posted by mullingitover at 5:09 PM on December 6, 2006

Man, that Bennett thing... I know Republicans had a grasp of realpolitik at some point; when did they lose it? Smug superiority, indeed.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:14 PM on December 6, 2006

Tell a friend about this site.
posted by emelenjr at 5:23 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm always amused when I see that someone is actually paying Bill Bennett to do, well, anything. Given his history, it's clearly a bad bet to start with. Then again he can cheerlead the war all he wants, it's not like he's going out to fight it, and it's not like he went to fight when his country asked him to.

But, as seems to be the standard thing for the talking heads on the right, getting shot at is good enough for other people and THEIR children.
posted by clevershark at 5:25 PM on December 6, 2006

mullingitover writes "That damn liberal Baker should know we've got to Stay The Course®"

Surely we must be hearing different Presidents! W himself will tell you that he was never a 'stay the course' kind of guy. No siree. All the times he used that phrase, that must purely have been to confuse the enemy!
posted by clevershark at 5:30 PM on December 6, 2006

*peers through thick air of sarcasm, fails to see hand five inches in front of face*
posted by koeselitz at 5:32 PM on December 6, 2006

Baker is no idiot, and the post characterizing his advice as dumping Israel is ridiculously biased. First of all, he is working for the U.S. government, not the Israeli govt. If it's in the US's best interest to take a more balanced position in the middle east, well, tough luck for Israel.

Israel played it's hand in Lebanon and blew it on a grand scale, and now they want cover from Daddy.

More to the point, it's funny how Baker and his group just issued a 100 page report on Iraq policy, and the post is all about Israel. And please do stop going on about it being the only democracy in the region. Lebanon was a democracy too, until Israel invaded it.
posted by Pastabagel at 5:39 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

And Bill Bennet is a worthless hack. The Republicans should have sought the advice and counsel of guys like Baker all along, not hypocritical moralists like Bennett who got us into this mess in the first place. I remind you that Baker, Bush I, and Scocroft were all against the Iraq War to begin with.

If Bennett hates the report, I can assure you that means it's realistic, thoroughy thought out, and starts from the fewest moral assumptions as possible.

And backto the fppp, floow the dough and the oil? Oh, come on. Israel gets over $10 billion a year in aid. That's money. At least I can buy stockin oil companies, and ostensibly helping oil companies ensures America's energy future. Can you please tell me, all platitudes aside, what precisely all the aid to Israel gets us? I'm asking this as someone who supported that aid in the past.
posted by Pastabagel at 5:46 PM on December 6, 2006

Selected term frequencies in the report:

Iraq/Iraqi - 913
Government - 199
Security - 148
War - 142
International - 93
Sunni - 86
Iran/Iranian - 83
Reconciliation - 77
Oil/Petro - 67
Syria - 57
Shia - 56
Violence - 53
Peace - 40
2006 - 40
Israel/Israeli - 37
Sectarian - 34
Terror/terrorism - 32
Milestone - 28
Qeada - 26
Power - 24
Constitution - 22
Afghanistan - 19
Sadr - 17
Election - 17
Egypt - 16
Islam - 16
2007 - 15
Lebanon - 14
Saudi Arabia - 14
Palestine/Palestinian - 15
Kuwait - 8
European - 7
Hezbollah - 6
Nuclear - 5
2008 - 5
Taliban - 4
Hamas - 4
Russia - 2

Gives a bit of a clue as to what their general focus was.
posted by bhouston at 5:58 PM on December 6, 2006

Mod note: Bush screwed the pooch
You could have guessed that junior would screw the pooch. It’s in his character. Dad knew it would happen. Dad’s friends tried to warn the kid. But Junior, being Junior, took the pooch out for a broadway show and then cocktails and, well, one thing led to another.
posted by kirkaracha (staff) at 6:13 PM on December 6, 2006

How is Israel an "ally" anyway? I mean, what exactly have they ever done for us?

Israel is like the friend who keeps picking bar fights, wherein you both get the crap beat out of you.
posted by delmoi at 6:13 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

clevershark writes "I'm always amused when I see that someone is actually paying Bill Bennett to do, well, anything. Given his history, it's clearly a bad bet to start with. "

Bet. Hee hee.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:19 PM on December 6, 2006

More to the point, it's funny how Baker and his group just issued a 100 page report on Iraq policy, and the post is all about Israel. And please do stop going on about it being the only democracy in the region. Lebanon was a democracy too, until Israel invaded it.

Did you mean 20 years ago when they invaded the first time? Lebanon's democratic government managed to survive the recent bombing, so the word "until" doesn't exactly make sense otherwise.
posted by delmoi at 6:22 PM on December 6, 2006

You know.. if every option was on the table we'd talk about about impeachment until we got someone who could deal with the problem...

Hmm I wonder if now that he's more or less charged with pulling the president's nuts from the fire if Baker is sorry he played such an important role in getting Bush into office?
posted by edgeways at 6:29 PM on December 6, 2006

In realpolitik terms, what benefit does the United States get from having Israel as an ally? Israel has been the the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since 1976 (except for Iraq recently). What does the US get in return?

As far as I know, the US doesn't have any overt military bases in Israel. In the Gulf War, several Arab countries sent combat troops to fight Iraq, but it was politically impossible for Israel to even though they have a strong military. US support for Israel motivated Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to launch the 9/11 attacks.

By the way, how's that Roadmap for Peace coming along?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:38 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

<missing img tag>
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:39 PM on December 6, 2006

kirkaracha, delmoi, Pastabagel all ask what is the value of Israel to the United States as an ally. That's a good question and those articles I linked to earlier contain a lot of the answer.

Demographics, especially demographics that has political weight, is a large determinant of the United State's foreign policy. Not just with regards to Israel, but also to other countries with very politically active US-based diasporas such as Armenia.

It was the case that during the early and middle parts of the cold war, the US-Israel alliance was useful in checking influence from Soviet-backed states such as Egypt. But since the end of the cold war, it hasn't served a huge strategic purpose.

But a conflict in a diaspora's homeland, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can mobilize its domestic diaspora community in support of their struggling homeland. This is really what has happened. As explained in those articles above, it is the domestic diaspora community that is largely responsible for the United States' orientation towards Israel -- it is the reason why people refer to the US and Israel as having a "special relationship", similar to the US-Britain "special relationship" that many speculate is similarly based on a feeling of shared ethnic identity, albeit differing slightly in which segments of the population are responsible for that bond.

If you read the above articles, some speculate that the US's long-standing support for Apartheid South Africa was because of southerners identifying with the Africaner's "whiteness" in the presence of a similar threat.

It's all just ethnic identity politics, that's why these types of relationships don't seem to make sense on the abstract geostrategic level.
posted by bhouston at 6:52 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

From page 31:
I was so used to get up early in the morning and run to the stores to get my cheese wheels......So I got up this morning and but no where to go.

I even got a call from a supermarket here in NJ, saying they got some cheese wheels and asking me when can I come to pick them up.
How sad...
posted by delmoi at 7:02 PM on December 6, 2006

Also on page 31 we get an offer from the company to redeem certs issued before the first of December. It may be that the company was worried about a 'keygen' being released, based on the hundreds of certs issued to individual IP address.
posted by delmoi at 7:05 PM on December 6, 2006

Alas, poor Stay The Course®, we knew him well.
posted by homunculus at 7:07 PM on December 6, 2006

Today December 2 I go to the market and buy a package of Swiss Knight Cheese Fondue. On the front of the package it is stated that the contents are a Certificate for 500 AA Miles and so much “Real Cheese Fondue.” When I open the package I find the Certificate but no Fondue. Upon contacting Emmi I am informed that they ran out of cheese and on December 1 they decided that they did not want to buy any more cheese. I am then told that as compensation for not receiving the Fondue I will be given a jar of Gerber Baby Food if I jump through some hoops.
From page 36
posted by delmoi at 7:20 PM on December 6, 2006

Uhh, delmoi? I think you have the wrong thread. Three times.
posted by blasdelf at 7:46 PM on December 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

- graffitti on Baker's wikipedia page.
posted by swell at 8:10 PM on December 6, 2006

And delmoi's right. It's one thing to offer the Syrians the Golan Heights, but another thing entirely to offer them frequent flyer miles in exchange for their cheese purchases.
posted by swell at 8:14 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

what do we get from israel for 30% of the entire us foreign aid budget? what do we get in exchange for vetoing security council resolutions?

an embargo on cuba. take a look at the chart

just pathetic.

and the above referenced guardian article is spot on.
posted by altman at 8:31 PM on December 6, 2006

swell writes "It's one thing to offer the Syrians the Golan Heights, but another thing entirely to offer them frequent flyer miles in exchange for their cheese purchases."

It's all part of a hitherto-secret "cheese for peace" plan.
posted by clevershark at 8:32 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

seems to dump Israel as an ally in favor of giving various Arab and Muslim groups--including our enemies-- what they have long wished for

Am I listening to FOX News here? Pragmamtism does not equal capitulation. However, the jaded could turn it into a nice sound bite.
posted by caddis at 8:33 PM on December 6, 2006

Delmoi's strategy for being first to 20,000 is becoming increasingly obvious.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:53 PM on December 6, 2006

interesting thing about the guy Bush met with just the other day, and related to Bennet's spouting as well: Bush's Meeting With A Murderer
posted by amberglow at 10:34 PM on December 6, 2006

Hmmm... ...Hours after the release of the Iraq Study Group, President Bush and some of the most vocal Capitol Hill backers of the Iraq war gathered for what an insider described as a group therapy session. “The hawks who met with Bush included his pal Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), California Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA)…and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).”

President Bush “may not be in much of a hurry to accept [ISG co-chairman Jim] Baker’s ideas about [Iraq] — or much else. Asked if Baker would help implement the report, a spokesman for Mr. Bush said, ‘Jim Baker can go back to his day job.‘

posted by amberglow at 7:23 AM on December 7, 2006

he doesn't have a day job amberglow, he stays put in a coffin and comes out at night.

and seriously, the spinning of Baker as surrender pacifist lib'rul is one of the funniest jokes in the Bush administration's massive comedic opera omnia
posted by matteo at 8:05 AM on December 7, 2006

i know--and how pathetic (and dangerous) is it that the one man who historically always saves Bush's ass isn't even being listened to?

I don't know about you, but I find the release today of the Iraq Study Group report to be utterly annoying. After all, it says what Democrats have been saying for a few years now only to be pointed at and called "faggots." ...
posted by amberglow at 8:07 AM on December 7, 2006

amberglow: Bush and co's dismissal of the bipartisan report suggestions is resulting in fairly widespread acknowledgment in the mainstream that Bush is adrift or a slave to delusional ideology. In a way, its actually better for Bush and co to completely discredit themselves, since the correction will be more extreme when it happens, than if they made pragmatic concessions designed to retain as much of their agenda in the long term as possible. It sounds counter intuitive, but I think that this is sort of the trend that is happening right now.
posted by bhouston at 8:24 AM on December 7, 2006

bhouston, i'm sort of with you, except for the fact that the white house has their own group "studying" iraq also, which hasn't reported yet. Even earlier today with Blair, Bush repeated that it's a thing for future presidents.
posted by amberglow at 2:30 PM on December 7, 2006

great analysis by Taibbi at Rolling Stone: That Iraq Report? More of the Same--The great Baker-Hamilton crock: A classic bullshit-cloud in the proud tradition of congressional "studies" --...With the midterm elections over, and George Bush already a lame duck, the Iraq war is no longer an urgent problem to anyone on the Hill who matters. ...
posted by amberglow at 3:51 PM on December 8, 2006

and something not mentioned on TV at all, or anywhere, really:

...The ISG report, however, goes further, stating that "the United States should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise." In addition, the current Constitution of Iraq is ambiguous as to whether control over Iraq's oil should be shared among its regional provinces or held under the central government. The report specifically recommends the latter: "Oil revenues should accrue to the central government and be shared on the basis of population." If these proposals are followed, Iraq's national oil industry will be privatized and opened to foreign firms, and in control of all of Iraq's oil wealth. ...
posted by amberglow at 11:21 AM on December 9, 2006

Palast: Iraq Study Group or Saudi Protection League?
posted by amberglow at 9:22 PM on December 9, 2006

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