One of the Study Group's co-chairs, Lee Hamilton, is a good, decent and principled man. The other co-chair is James Baker, who is to diplomacy what J.R. Ewing was to oil.
Regardless of what you think or don't think of the war in Iraq, you will delude yourself if you believe that it is not a major battle in the ongoing war pitting Islamo-terrorism against us. You will delude yourself at your peril. Do not believe me, listen to the terrorists themselves. As soon as the Iraq Study Group's report was out, out came the response of Abu Ayman, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad, "The report proves this is the era of Islam and of Jihad. It is not just a simple victory it is a great one.... It is a sign to all those that keep saying that America, Israel and the West in general cannot be defeated on the ground, so let us negotiate with them ... the next step would be a total defeat on their [American] land."
What is the strategy suggested by the report, which so encourages Abu Ayman and his like-minded Jihadis? There are three big ideas: Withdraw combat troops by 2008, engage Iran and Syria and include the Israel-Palestinian/Israel--Syria conflict into the mix.
Withdrawing combat troops by 2008 means quite simply that by 2008 you intend to stop fighting. Clerk typists are not going to engage in combat.
Recommendation 10, the issue of Iran's nuclear programs should continue to be dealt with by the United Nations Security Council and its five permanent members (i.e., The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China) plus Germany."
"Recommendation 11: Diplomatic efforts within the support group should seek to persuade Iran that it should take specific steps to improve the situation in Iraq."
This then is the Jim Baker back-room deal. By committing the United States to assigning the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council, we are virtually guaranteeing that no action will be taken to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon! That is, as Daddy Bush liked to say, the quid pro quo. Iran gets a nuclear weapon in return for buying us just enough stability in Iraq to pull out and thus stick the next administration -- which would either be a Democrat or John McCain -- with the consequences.
But, like the famed Ginsu knife set commercial, that's not all! What else do you get if you're one of the first two state sponsors of terror to call the 1-800 number? Well, if you're Iran and Syria you get Lebanon and the Golan Heights! Recommendation 13: "There must be a renewed and sustained commitment from the United States on a comprehensive peace plan on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine."
Now that's interesting. What do Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria and Israel and the Palestinians have to do with Shias killing Sunis in Baghdad? The tip-off is including Lebanon in these conversations. Lebanon is not at war with Israel, and Israel is not at war with Lebanon. Hezbollah, Iran and Syria's terrorist army proxy, dragged Israel and Lebanon both into a war which neither one wanted as a way of changing the West's conversation away from the topics of Iran's nuclear aspirations and Syria's assassination of Lebanon's president!
The only reason for including Lebanon in the conversation at all is to signal to Iran and Syria that it will be offered up for grabs to them on a silver platter as well. It will be done under the guise of encouraging a more representative government in Lebanon, a truer Democracy that recognizes Hezbollah's legitimate rights and interests.
But that's not all! No! If you're amongst the first two callers not only do you get the Ginsu knife set, Shia domination from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, and the government of Lebanon; if you're Syria you get the Golan Heights! And again, all you have to do is buy just enough time to give W a fig leaf, and then you can stick it to the next Democrat or John McCain.
The first page of the letter from the co-chairs, at the very beginning of the report, states "Our political leaders must build a bipartisan approach to bring a responsible conclusion to what is now a lengthy and costly war ... the aim of our report is to move our country toward such a consensus."
The tone is remarkably similar to another report presented to another body of legislators "Therefore ... we should quickly reach a conclusion so that this painful and difficult operation ... might be carried out at the earliest possible moment and concluded as soon as was consistent with orderly procedure, in order that we might avoid the possibility of something that might have rendered all our attempts at peaceful solution useless ... every one of the modifications is a step in the right direction."
That last bit of rhetoric was Neville Chamberlain as he sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler in order to bring about peace in our time. When you think of it, from his perspective, he may have been cutting a better deal than the present one. He only sold out one country. The Baker report sells out four: Lebanon, Israel, Iraq ... and the United States.
Dan Gordon is the writer of such films as "The Hurricane" and "Murder in the First." In addition, he is the author of numerous articles on the Middle East conflict and served as a captain (Res.) in the IDF during the recent Israel-Hezbollah war.