War Drums at Washpo

Middle_east "The killers of Mr. Gemayel have not been identified and may never be. But the attack fits snugly into a pattern of provocations across the region by Iran and Syria, which appear to believe that American reversals in Iraq have given them the opportunity to create what Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad calls "a new Middle East" — one in which their influence and radical ideology will predominate. They would make their client Hezbollah the power broker in Lebanon, restoring Syrian suzerainty. They would use Hamas to block any progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian settlement and perpetuate a continuing, if low-grade, war on Israel. And they would continue to bleed the United States by supplying insurgents in Iraq with arms and sanctuary. Iran meanwhile presses ahead with its barely disguised nuclear weapons program: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently promised to increase the number of centrifuges enriching uranium from the current 328 to 60,000."  Washington Post


This editorial virtually endorses any number of neocon propaganda lines:

It assumes that Iran and Syria are unmitigated forces for evil in the world who can only be dealt with through force and the threat of force or sanctions.

It assumes that Hamas is simply a tool of Iran and Syria without any other status at all.

It assumes that the Hariri/Siniora/US government assertion that the Syrian government killed Pierre Gemayel must be true.

It assumes that a greater share of political power in Lebanon for Hizbullah and Amal would be a bad thing.  The evident truth that the Shia represented by these groups are grossly under-represented seems to mean nothing to the Post.

It assumes that Hizbullah is a "puppet" of Iran and Syria.  It says nothing about the influence that the US and France exercise over the Hariri/Siniora camp.


Based on this editorial as "capstone" for many other recent pronouncements, I judge the editorial page of the Washington Post to be a neocon rag.

Pat Lang


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43 Responses to War Drums at Washpo

  1. lester says:

    why should the US care if Syria offs a christian politician in lebanon? where’s our vital interst? our interst is in stablizing Iraq. we have no troops in lebanon.

  2. zanzibar says:

    The WaPo and WSJ editorial boards have been shilling for the neo-cons and the Decider for many years. In many ways this is par for the course in our contemporary corporate media.
    Not much different to the NYT news section neo-con propaganda dished out by Judy Miller, et al during the lead up to the Iraqi invasion.
    We need a new lens to look at the product of the corporate media since its info ops all the time. I am all for rolling back the media consolidation of the past few decades.

  3. dano says:

    The LA Times has Max Boot and Johah Goldberg as prominent writers on their opinion page. Both are well known neocons. The new publisher is at best a far right wing conservative (lawyer).
    Not that the LAT is as influential as the WaPo, NYT or WSJ , but it is in the same league.
    Not much chance of objective journalism with this crew.

  4. Walrus says:

    If you assume, as I do, that newspaper owners influence their journalists, and that the newspaper owners are themselves influenced by others, then the content and timing of what you read in the papers about certain topics is designed to be part of a wider, coordinated, agenda.
    In other words, what you are reading from the usual sources can be analysed, over time, from a signals intelligence perspective.
    Using Occams razor, I believe that the continuing demonisation of Islam and Iran in certain sectors of the media is a prelude to the bombing of Iran. There is simply no point for their blabberings otherwise.

  5. It seems to me that of all the players in the area Israel, given the uber-realism-cum-paranoia of its current (and recent past) leadership, would see themselves as having the most to gain by bumping off Gamayel, assuming they could do it subtley enough to make it look like a Syrian hit. Especially now, considering all the rumors flying about that Dubya & Co. are making overtures to Syria and Iran in a desparate attempt to pull their Iraqi chesnuts out of the fire.

  6. arbogast says:

    This editorial is written by individuals who know that the bombing campaign against Iran is about to begin. It is another piece in the puzzle.
    You may ask, “Why bomb Iran now, when we cannot adequately maintain our military position in either Iraq or Afghanistan?”
    Silly you. It is an effort to draw the world into a much larger military conflict of “civilizations” that will necessitate a draft and the taking of sides by the European powers. It is the Götterdämmerung strategy.
    What contempt these creatures have for the citizens of their democracy!

  7. James Pratt says:

    The things left unsaid are so important that people outside the pro-war establishment need a glossary. The neocon concept of foreign democracy is a good example. Mostly it means being publically supportive and otherwise useful to US desires. Thus the President-by-military-coup of Pakistan, Pervez Musharref, is a ‘friend of democracy’and the internationally monitored elections that were won by the US critics Hugo Chavez, Hamas, Hezbollah and Amal were not democratic, because to the neocons foreign elections are legitimized by them being won by US clients.
    To the neocons the elections in Iraq were free
    despite the debate being a great deal unfree, since US troops regularly smash up the offices of any organization that dares to criticize them and gives out an address.

  8. arbogast says:

    The Post editorial ends, “Iran and Syria are ruthlessly waging war against Western interests in the Middle East. Offering to talk is only a small part of what it will take to stop them.”
    Those sentences explicitly call for “ruthless” actions against Iran and Syria.
    It won’t be on the ground as Colonel Lang has repeatedly pointed out.
    Bush must be impeached. He is asking to be impeached. His every action is a gesture of contempt to the American people. He must be recognized for what he is and dealt with under the Constitution.
    The Constitution, that great and noble document, contemplated an individual like this achieving power. They provided a mechanism for removing him.

  9. ckrantz says:

    If wapo is supposed to be representative of the washington establishment is shows how people haven’t learned anything from Iraq. But the simplistic view above on the Middle East is fairly common i suspect. In both democrats and republicans power circles. The israelis displayed the same sympthoms in the latest lebanese war.

  10. Leigh says:

    The most basic question of all is: who stands to gain from this asassination?
    Syria? Not likely. It is already having to contend with the Hariri murder.
    Iran? Not likely. It’s ally is Syria. Weakening Syria does nothing for Iran.
    Israel? Now, there’s a thought. Having lost the war to Hezbollah, how better to take revenge than to get Lebanon fighting within it’s self.
    Is this so difficult to understand?

  11. Got A Watch says:

    Maybe Cheney has been watching Pro Poker on TV and decided to go ALL IN. Or maybe its a crap shoot – one last roll of the dice, double or nothing, for the whole Middle East. Judging by their past record, I would not be surprised by anything.
    The time for action will have to be after next week, what with 43 in Jordan to visit his vassals, and before January brings Pelosi in, who would surely oppose bombing Iran. Syria, well maybe, it fits with only bombing weak countries.
    As was commented, the WAPO demonstrates it’s utter ignorance of Middle Eastern reality. It’s more comforting to stick to standard neo-con hallucinatory terrain, where the lessons of history go un-remarked and unlearned:
    “Beyond the Euphrates began for us the land of mirage and danger, the sands where one helplessly sank, and the roads which ended in nothing. The slightest reversal would have resulted in a jolt to our prestige giving rise to all kinds of catastrophe; the problem was not only to conquer but to conquer again and again, perpetually; our forces would be drained off in the attempt.”
    Emperor Hadrian AD 117-138
    posted by Meirux on DailyKos

  12. North Bay says:

    Colonel Lang: Were the Executive Branch of our Republic to unilaterally opt to attack Iran, would you anticipate resignations- as a matter of conscience- from the highest echelons of our armed forces?

  13. W. Patrick Lang says:

    North Bay
    No. pl

  14. J says:

    a true mark of a leader strives for peace and peaceful exercise of the rule of law. on the flip side, both the bush 43 admin. and israel’s olmert admin. have nothing but contempt for their respective nation’s laws and feel they are gods unto themselves. bush-cheney and olmert are afraid of peace, as peace underminds their dictatorship rule by fear. both want what iran is sitting on — oil, sweet iranian crude. bombing iran has nothing to do with bringing about peace in the mideast, but everything to do with fascist acquisition of oil by all crooked means. the wapo neocon rag is but an extension of that crooked means.

  15. North Bay says:

    Come a showdown between the Executive and Legislative branches on a matter of nuclear launch warfare (against Iran or N. Korea), whose dictates would the U.S. military follow? Is the Constitutional dictate of a congressional declaration of war still existent? In your opinion, of course.

  16. confusedponderer says:

    North Bay,
    is there a point when the political lunacy of the president would require to, at least, stepping down? Is it possible that you imply more?
    To be honest, I can hardly imagine that happening. Bombing Iran’ is ‘over there’, and the threat to the homeland in form of breakdown of democracy is not palpable, so why should an officer got to such a step, when it’s all about (let’s be generous) legal orders from the elected government.
    America is, no matter that Bush, too, has committed war crimes (prominently: war of agression; ordering violations of the Geneva Conventions – that’s where I’m generous. Congress has ratified those threaties, thus, they bind the president. So he would have IMO acted illegally even domestically. Using the principle of lex posterior in reference to ratified international law is ludicrous [#]), far far away from a country like Nazi Germany where officers eventually decided they needed to act.
    IMO US officers and Germany’s Weimar bred officers have in common their apolitical mindset. And officers are almost by nature conservative (literally). They live a secluded base world, and yes, while they get news and have political opinions, they have other priorities. They take/ took pride in standing above petty politics, _serving the nation_ (*). That is why it has to get much much worse before anything like resignations, much less much more, will happen.
    (*) … and that is also why I think the the right wing smear that USMC honour guards didn’t give Clinton the honours he deserved as President, is a flat out lie, and an insult to the soldiers. It shows that those who cooked that up know nothing about the military.
    [#] … because it would allow for signing and ratifying a treaty banning A – making it part of the law of the land – to right then, make a domestic law allowing A. You cannot nullify international law using domestic law. You cannot nullify inter-state responsibilities by making a contradicting domestic law, like the Iraq war resolution, or a presidential secret executive order (sorry, but I can’t help thinking ‘Führerbefehl’ whenever I read it).
    Were this the case, Saddam would have gotten away from the armistice imposed on him legally, by simply ruling it doesn’t apply. Huh, huh. That should show up the general qualms I have with unitary executives and their ‘findings’ on the application of laws. I say this from my armchair (which is in fact a stability ball – thus, no armrests!) and only sketchy knowledge of US law. Because as for int’l law, these are fundamental and unanimously agreed on (Gonzales’ and Cheney’s office don’t count) principles.
    PS: And as for neocons @ the editorial pages: That’s one of their playgrounds for propagandising. The nice thing about it is that it is all ‘just opinion’, thus, no accoutability and no factual correctness needed. Yay!

  17. jonst says:

    I disagree with your assertion that WAPO is a “neocon rag”. A “rag” for sure! But all the “neocon propaganda lines” you highlight are the, idiotic, and often times, delusional ,assumptions tightly held by the chattering class (and most Americans, for that matter). Belief in this pernicious crap is the currency one pays to get on the cable news networks, the Sunday talk shows, or the mainstream media oped pages. Or Congress, and the Whitehouse, for that matter. Or, at minimum, Congressional leadership posts anyway. They are, as well, often, but not always, the price one pays, to secure top posts at various think tanks, non-profit organizations, and Professor’s chairs.
    That every once and a while someone uttering doubt about these a priori truths, is given access to the microphone, is allowed, for the same purpose as, occasionally, people who claim to have been kidnapped by Martians are allowed a bit of publicity. The discordant vantage point serves merely to confirm the soundness of the groupthink.
    The neocon, or not noecon, issue only goes to how one should react to these’eternal truths’ (“eternal” that is, until they aren’t eternal”. See Nixon trip to China, Arafat at the Whitehouse, fall of the Soviet Union and so forth).
    The neocons would have us react this way. The non-neocons, the other way. And the massive, and impressive, groups of scholars, and advisors, who know better, can only chip away at the edges of said “eternal truths” until the time is right for the conventional opinion makers to change their views.

  18. taters says:

    We still don’t know who killed Bashir. Hariri said yesterday that the current situation in Lebanon best serves Israel and Syria.

  19. confusedponderer says:

    Interesting comment on the Gemayel assassination:
    The author points out that for a hand of both Syria and Israel behind the Gemayel (or Hariri) assassination(s) a credible case can be made. That, however, doesn’t mean it’s true. In Lebanon everything is possible.
    Leaving the Syrians aside, Israel today is killing militants and their leaders on an almost daily basis, so I don’t expect Olmert’s crew to suddenly feel an urge for self restraint when the price is strategically as attractive as isolating Syria and giving Bush a reason to ignore Baker’s recommendation to talk to Syria.

  20. jang says:

    How many who read the editorial have Col. Lang’s expertise of the ME to confidently nuance the “assumptions” as he has done for us here? Many readers would be easy targets for this propaganda and the reaction is more fear: the enemy is everywhere. Why would you (or the Democrats) think of drawing down the troops?

  21. W. Patrick Lang says:

    North Bay
    The military will obey the Commander in Chief in any situation in which a time sensitive response is involved.
    If there were a prolonged constitutional crisis over war powers, I don’t know what they would do. It is without precedent except that when Nixon was in his final misery before resignation, the JCS notified major commanders that any order from the WH was to be coordinated with them. pl

  22. confusedponderer says:

    Good read: Gemayel’s death provides new ammunition for all sides.

  23. Abu Sinan says:

    Typical nonsense. With media like this in the US, it is little wonder why Americans are so ill-informed about the Middle East.
    This guy’s family and their paramilitary killed and assasinated so many people the potential suspects probably number in the tens of thousands.

  24. Matthew says:

    Here’s the great irony: W wanted to liberate the ME, i.e., establish a zone of pro-American, corporate-friendly oil-rich states that would love to offer their economies for maximum Western investment and market penetration. Unfortunately, he seems to have overlooked the fact that democracies–if they really are “democratic”–try to advance their own interests for their own people. There already are a bunch of docile Arabs consumers with no skills, they are called “Kuwaitis.” A real Arab nation does not want to be an American satellite. As one blogger recently noted, if Bush really cared about the ME why did he surround himself with neo-cons who plainly loathe Muslims? Is the end result of his policies all that surprising?

  25. Yeah, the WaPo has quite often in recent years lurched into the position of being a neocon rag. And Jim Hoagland is, I believe, the chief neocon raghead there. (W/ unsigned editorials as well as signed op-eds.)

  26. walrus says:

    Today the New York Times is reporting that the Baker report calls for direct talks with Syria and Iran.
    The Australian ABC is reporting Professor Robert O’Niell speech saying Iraq is “worse than Vietnam”, something that I think Col. Lang might agree with.
    I also note that both Bush and Cheney are going on missions to the Middle East.
    Now the talk here is starting to be about “How can Bush be stopped from bombing Iran”?
    Now this is a relevent question, and the answer is that he can’t be stopped, if he starts before the Democrats arrive in January. Bush has the AUMF Bill to back him up and has already labelled Iran as a rogue “terrorist” state.
    I am also reminded of that old military dictum. You can bypass one level of incompetency in the army and get away with it. You cannot bypass two levels of incompetency – you will get nailed evey time. Therefore you would have to impeach Cheney as well as Bush for the madness to stop.
    Thinking over the unusual visits of Cheney and Bush to the middle east, I’m suddenly reminded of an old top management tactic to “kill” a proposed course of action or report that they do not wish to act upon. That is to find a single dissenting voice and focus all attention on it, then dismissing the carefully constructed report as “flawed”. I have a sneaking suspicion that Bush and Cheney’s missions have this “fact finding” component in them.
    They will use their newly discovered “facts” to torpedo the Baker report, as in:
    “Your report says that Iraq is ungovernable, well let me tell you something, I spoke to President Maliki just last week and he says your conclusions are Bullsh1t, and he should know better than you.”
    Very few reports can stand up to sustained bombardment with this type of ammunition.
    I believe that Bush is on track to sideline the Baker report and bomb Iran within weeks, continuing refusal to talk to Iran is consistent with this conclusion.

  27. Yohan says:

    Col. Lang
    “when Nixon was in his final misery before resignation, the JCS notified major commanders that any order from the WH was to be coordinated with them.”
    Was that in response to Kissinger unilaterally putting US forces on nuclear alert during the October 73 War in the Middle East while Nixon was drunkenly crying himself to sleep?

  28. dasher says:

    I didn’t see anyone here take note of this ‘little’ bit of mendacity:“Iran meanwhile presses ahead with its barely disguised nuclear weapons program”.
    Didn’t the CIA just recently put out a report that came THIS close to categorically denying that the purpose of Iran’s nuclear program was trying to develop weapons?

  29. LG says:

    Walrus wrote “…I’m suddenly reminded of an old top management tactic to “kill” a proposed course of action or report that they do not wish to act upon. That is to find a single dissenting voice and focus all attention on it, then dismissing the carefully constructed report as “flawed”. I have a sneaking suspicion that Bush and Cheney’s missions have this “fact finding” component in them. ”
    They have already done this once, with the aluminum tubes story. I think that there was one analyst at WINPAC who thought that they were designed for centrifuges while the majority of experts believed that they were to be used for rocket tubes. Guess who Bush, et al believed and guess who was right.

  30. Mo says:

    That is an incredible editorial; I do not believe I have ever read a more mis-informed paragraph of tripe in my life. I find it remarkable ironic that I can read a more balanced, well-informed article on Iran, Syria, Lebanon etc. on Israeli newspaper sites than American sites.
    The list of half-truths and wrong assumptions could probably be triple the length stated!
    Lets be honest here. If the Arab/Muslim world and the US are ever to not be at each others throats, there will need to be massive changes, on both sides of the equation, but as long as there are neo-cons, as long as there are AIPACs those changes will never happen.
    Col, would you mind awfully if we did a straw poll for a Col. Lang for President campaign?

  31. will says:

    There is so much ignorance about the middle east- even by the people supposedly in then now.
    I just now heard Chris Matthews and the new senator from Mo. debate why Syria has consistently rejected the return of the Golan heights deal the Israelis have for years offered it for Peace.
    Anybody that knows anything about the Middle East knows that is exactly the deal the Syrians have been calling for since 1967. How many years is that? Thirty Six years. Such is the power of disinformation. And the power of the Israeli Lobby.
    Technical note. i used to know how to do these things when I was younger and i finally remembered. Any browser allows you to look at a page in html script mode. here is how to do hot links on the Col. blog. extra spaces for instructional purposes
    < a href="http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2006/11/war_drums_at_wa.html">War Drums at Washpo”< /a>
    War Drums at Washpo
    you have to do the http:// instead of just www. or it assumed it is an internal blog address

  32. ckrantz says:

    Rather than direct talks with syria och iran an alliance of sunni states and players like the hariris in Lebanon to counter the iranians becoming the regional power seems more likely. With american backing and israel quietly in the background.
    All setting the stage for a large regional conflict and the public at large having little understanding of what is going on.

  33. W. Patrick Lang says:

    If nominated I wil try not to be ridiculous. If elected I will have no choice but to serve. pl

  34. zanzibar says:

    Jim Webb’s campaign is instructive. He had no money nor institutional support. He did not fit the standard “conservative” or “liberal” labels. Was he a Democrat or a Republican? What he had were volunteers who believed in him and his judgment and principles. Thousands of citizens stepped forward and contributed money. He won the Democratic primary without running a single TV ad. He then defeated a career politician – a former governor and incumbent senator who was on his way to a presidential campaign. Sure it was very close but Webb prevailed. I believe the Senate will be better because of that.
    Until the country gets better leadership we’ll continue to be off course. Your insight and common sense are what is needed. A chat with Jim could give you some perspective on what its like to run a major political campaign.

  35. Will says:

    Col Lang is no William Tecumseh Sherman
    who famously said
    “If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve.”
    “Such a categorical rejection of a candidacy is now referred to as a “Sherman Statement.”
    He also shared his sentiment about chickenhawks such as Bush 43 and Cheney. I”m sure he had them in mind prospectively.
    “I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation. ”

  36. arbogast says:

    Three cheers to dasher for pointing out the bald-faced lie about Iran’s weapons program.

  37. taters says:

    Dear Col. Lang,
    This op/ed is a full press water carrying operation for the neocons. Perhaps not as blatant as Ledeen’s for the Jerusalem Post or Netantahu’s for the LA Times but it is all there. I strongly agree with your assessment. It’s almost a rerun of the type of op/eds by Perle, Cheney and Safire leading up to Iraq by the NYT. I wonder who wrote it?

  38. arbogast says:

    There is an extremely fat pitch out there just waiting for Bush to throw it. Such a fat pitch.
    Nobody what anybody else thinks, I guarantee to you that the American electorate would rather pay $4 for a gallon of gas than have one more American die in Iraq. I assure you that the public does not give a damn what happens in Iraq. And I don’t blame them. At all.
    So, what’s the fat pitch? Bush still stands a chance of being remembered as the hero of Afghanistan. All he needs to do is pull X number of troops out of Iraq and send 50%X to Afghanistan where they are desperately needed. Pakistan will back him to the hilt, because there’s oil from the north to be had.
    Change the subject. Focus on Afghanistan, not Iraq.
    That is a truly fat pitch, and it is also the perfect fit for an opportunistic plutocrat who doesn’t want to be punished for his bad deeds…bad deeds that have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

  39. Got A Watch says:

    “Bush blames al-Qaida for Iraq violence – The US president, George Bush, today denied that Iraq was descending into civil war and said al-Qaida was behind the violence sweeping the country As well as reiterating that talks with Iran would depend on an end to its uranium enrichment programme, Mr Bush blamed Tehran and Syria for the situation in Lebanon.”
    It takes a special kind of stupidity to be GWB. You have to go above and beyond the single digit IQ to reach this state. So any who think the situation in Iraq will be resolved by this Administration need a hard reality check. The ISG Report will be worthless before it comes out of the printer.
    The really pathetic part is explaining to all the families of those who will die in Iraq, and all those who have died, exactly what has been accomplished. How can the reality challenged put a positive spin on that? Not that they won’t try.

  40. semper fubar says:

    “I guarantee to you that the American electorate would rather pay $4 for a gallon of gas than have one more American die in Iraq.”
    Really? I think the opposite is true. Plus, it’s hardly been articulated to us as a choice – ‘lower gas prices’ versus ‘bring the troops home.’
    But if it were, I’m not so sure that most people wouldn’t opt for lower gas prices. Especially if the “one more American dying in Iraq” isn’t someone you know. Which it likely isn’t.

  41. John in LA says:

    It really makes one uncomfortable to contemplate this sick state of affairs. There is — clearly — some sort of AIPAC-Media-Foreign Policy Mandarinariat nexus. How else to explain the idiocy of the present Middle East policy of the United States?
    This is uncomfortable because it opens one to the unkind charge of anti-semitism which repeatedly is tossed at those of use who state the obvious.
    The depressing part is that the Democrats offer no alternative whatever.
    It pains me to say it, but only military defeat is going to teach the Israelis and the Americans the lessons that they need to learn.
    And it’s going to be far worse when the Iranis deploy the $1 billion in surface-to-air missiles that the Russians just sold them.
    And what happens when the Jihadis put a bullet in Musharraf?
    Any way you look at it, the military solutions are check-mate at every turn.
    Political solutions may be for Europeans and sissies…but I don’t see any other route.

  42. ali says:

    I do think Jonst has it right. The ignorant prejudices expressed in this article are now so widely held in the US as to represent a consensus.
    It is also a fine, gibbering example of defensive projection: “American reversals in Iraq have given them the opportunity to create what Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad calls “a new Middle East” — one in which their influence and radical ideology will predominate. ”
    And we talk about the end of neo-conservatism while most folks still seem to be filled to the gills with kool-aide.

  43. MarcLord says:

    Got A Watch @10AM:
    “It takes a special kind of stupidity to be GWB. You have to go above and beyond the single digit IQ to reach this state. So any who think the situation in Iraq will be resolved by this Administration need a hard reality check. The ISG Report will be worthless before it comes out of the printer.”
    If you’re negotiating for an incompetent, it’s your job to use their incompetence to advantage in facilitating a deal which makes them look and feel good. You use the areas they don’t care about, or don’t see, as leverage to achieve that objective, and the more bone-headed they are, the more they tend to miss. While the missed areas may be extremely important to others (let’s say they’re oil leases and development rights or domestic political concerns), to Bush they would be mere casualties in the greater cause of his ego fulfillment, of as little importance as lives and limbs lost by young volunteeers and older reservists.
    Bush has his Destiny, and he will not deviate from it. For him to approve anything, he must be shown a quicker, preferably easier way to fulfill it, and Baker is keenly aware of that. He’s not butting heads with Dubya, nor will he need to. Cheney, for example, has used Bush’s divinely confident incompetence to his own advantage–to attempt to directly seize the world’s greatest known oil reserves from the inside out.
    The ISG plan isn’t worthless. It was carefully set up to carry congressional imprimatur and to be bipartisan. The ISG’s immediate aim, already half-met with the departure of Rumsfeld, is to neutralize or eliminate Cheney. That’s where the head-butting is happening.
    If James Baker (whose clients in this matter are the Bush Family, The Carlyle Group, The United States Establishment, and Big Oil), cannot neutralize Cheney, it means he probably cannot convince Bush to facilitate peace in the Mid-East or Christ’s reign on earth through more reliance on diplomacy. If Cheney is removed as an obstacle, the true objective is much easier to realize.
    So if Baker’s first efforts to drive for a diplomatic solution fail, which they will, he has still successfully laid the groundwork for them abroad. Domestically, he can then go back to the impetus for the ISG and recommend a course of action to remove the necessary political roadblocks. Cheney correctly perceives himself as Baker’s target; he even predicted that when and if his critics came after him, they would take Rumsfeld out first.
    If I were Baker, I would make it look like it came from the Democrats.

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