If there's one topic that's sure-fire guaranteed to fire up the neocon base, it's anything that might perceivedved as a slight toward Israel. Imagine the nerve of Bakercommissionion to suggest that Arab/Muslim anger at Israel might be a contributing factor to continued unrest in the Middle East! Or the temerity to imply that maybe some compromise might still be in order! The nerve of some people!
From what we know so far, the Baker Commission is going to recommend that we cut troop levels in Iraq, attempt to make nicey-nice with our determined enemies in Iran and Syria, and demand Israeli concessions to serve as the deus ex machina to bring about peace in our time. In a word, oy vey!
Coming from a commission headed by James Baker, the latter recommendation is especially jarring. During his tenure as Secretary of State, I believe his most famous quote regarding Israel and the Jews was (and pardon his French), "Fuck the Jews. They didn't vote for us anyway."
At the end of his petulant, foot-stomping little tirade, Barnett gives us a peek at what's really eating him - the prospect of our government doing anything that might even look like an admission that we screwed the pooch in Iraq, and a continuation of the neverending saber rattling towards Iran and Syria.
Apparently for the diehards in the failed neoconservative movement, All War All The Time has been their mantra for so long that they can't manage to chant anything else. If only they can get us into a shooting war with Syria and Iran, then America will go back to being terrified all the time, the Republicans will regain control of Congress, Keep the White House in '08, and all will be right in the world. Never mind how many more people die in the effort.
WE KNOW WHO'S GOING to love the Baker Commission recommendations. The Democrats at home who think getting out of Iraq is the only thing that matters will jump aboard the report as an intellectual life raft. Bereft of any ideas of their own for the past five years, Democrats will seize on the report as cover for getting our illiterate children in the armed forces home.
But the Iranian mullahs will be even happier. The Baker Commission report will give them the same feeling that Hitler got in Munich - these men will not fight. They will see a solid chunk of the American body politic eager to sell out an ally while making concessions to our enemies without requiring those enemies to fire a single shot.
But here's the killer part: Even if President Bush does the right thing and shoves this report in a part of James Baker's anatomy where the sun don't shine, the Commission will still do incalculable harm. The media, the Democrats and even many Republicans have already given the Baker Commission the sheen of omniscience once wrongly bestowed upon the 9/11 Commission. Regardless of the obtuseness of the Baker Commission's recommendations, they will be hailed as genius and indisputable by wide swaths of the public.