Tuesday, December 05, 2006


DIGGING DEEPER , By Ivan G. Goldman
Robert Gates will sail through the Senate as the next Defense Secretary, not on his merits, but because everyone is so pleased to have Anybody But Rumsfeld. And James Baker, named to head a commission on how to get the Blunderer-in-Chief out of Iraq, profits from a similar dynamic. Most of us are so happy to have at least a small shot at changing Prince George’s disastrous non-policy in the Middle East that we skip over the fact that Baker is the general who led the campaign that stole the presidency for Bush-O-Ramus in the first place.

Fix-Master Baker knew he didn’t have to present a winning case in 2000 – not with five Republicans on the Supreme Court. He just needed to construct one that was sufficiently plausible so they could get away with calling Florida for the guy who lost Florida as well as the national popular vote by a margin of 530,000.

Baker spat out just enough lawyer-speak to give the Gang of Five their excuse, landing the most egregious blow to our democracy since the Dred Scott decision. If roles were reversed, if Baker had an actual winning hand instead of the bluffing cards he used to get the victory, it wouldn’t have taken him an entire month. Swindles are more complicated and take more work than honest business.

Back to Gates. At least two CIA whistle-blowers told Congress under oath that he’d doctored intelligence under orders from the secret society within the Administration that got Reagan re-elected while he was already debilitated from Alzheimer’s. The group then ran the government for him. Baker, first White House Chief of Staff and later Treasury Secretary when he switched jobs with Donald Regan, was a key member of this collective presidency to whom Gates gave his allegiance.

Under oath, Gates, desperate to run the spy agency, denied conversations during which he defended presenting false intelligence for political purposes. With Nixon's old tape recorder in a museum somewhere, he got away with it -- just barely.

Gates took a giant step forward when he conceded today that the U.S. is not winning the Iraq War, and Anybody But Rumsfeld makes a kind of sense. But he also made it clear to anyone really listening that he doesn't have the imagination to exit, which is a death sentence to a lot of troops there now and the ones he'll feed into a pointless grinder during the next two years. It would be a mistake to buy a used car from either this devious apparatchik of the right or soul-less co-conspirator and Fixer-in-Chief Baker.

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