Frank Gaffney

It seems as though poison is much in vogue at the moment. For example, Russia’s emerging dictator, Vladimir Putin, appears to be offing his enemies left and right. One instrument for doing so is a radioactive substance called Polonium 210, stuff so toxic that even the assassins seem to be dying from it.

Unfortunately, the American body politic is currently under assault as well from a poisonous offering. It comes in the form of the fruits of the nine-month-long fulminations by the Iraq Study Group (ISG, more accurately known as the Iraq Surrender Group). This advisory commission was mandated by the 109th Congress and its deliberations and report were clearly dominated by co-chairman and former Secretary of State James Baker.

Mr. Baker’s pride of authorship is evident in his characteristically arrogant assertion that President Bush has no choice but to adopt every last one of the ISG’s 79 recommendations. As he contemptuously put it last week: “I hope we don't treat this like a fruit salad and say, ‘I like this, but I don't like that. I like this, but I don't like that.’” Baker and his fellow commission members have suggested that Congress should compel Mr. Bush to accept their report in toto should the Commander-in-Chief have the temerity to take advice from other sources – for example, his generals in the field or his National Security Council – and reject the poisoned fruit in Baker’s salad.

Among such fruit is the ISG’s central idea of a “New Diplomatic Offensive.” What would be “new” about this “offensive” would be the ill-conceived idea of negotiating terms of our retreat from Iraq with two of our most implacable regional enemies: Iran and its wholly owned subsidiary, Syria. Like much of the rest of the ISG report, this recommend­ation is rooted in a laughable proposition, namely that “Iran and Syria [have an] interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq.” Therefore, “the United States should try to engage them constructively.”

The Baker Surrender Group proposes to do this by convening a regional conference and “Iraq International Support Group” in which the regimes that have, arguably, done most to instigate chaos in Iraq, Iran and Syria, would have plenty of company. As the inimitable Mark Steyn has observed, everyone imaginable will be invited to attend – from the Arab League to the European Union to the Chinese and Russians to the UN. Everyone, that is, except the one country Secretary Baker insists must lubricate our deal with Tehran-Damascus by making still-further, strategically dangerous territorial concessions: Israel.

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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