The Mix

There is no 'savvy Washington insider' who can save Iraq

Just a bunch of seat-of-their-pants hacks who are as deluged by the headlines as the rest of us.
The calls by establishment DC figures to change the course in Iraq, bring in seasoned experts to replace bankrupt ones in the White House, none of that is going to do a single thing. Stupid AP reporter Terence Hunt has adopted the DC wisdom, and hints that a "savvy Washington insider" might help clean things up. Grown ups from Bush I days, or even Reagan days, like Zbigniew or James Baker III. Unless they want withdrawal well before "future presidents" consider it, as Bush prophesized in his press conference, then forget the greybeards-as-saviors concept.

Truth is, nobody's got a plan, they are just sailing from headline to headline like the rest of us. We're leaning on Iran to help out -- what a sign of weakness that is (admittedly pragmatic though). Listen to greybeard General Odom -- who was, among other things, director of Reagan's National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988 -- on the Ian Masters show from this Sunday (Masters' show btw, is in my view the best national affairs show in the country going). He came out and said it: No one's got a clue what's really going on, where to go. The only thing that's clear, he said, is that we're screwing it up as long as US troops are there.

Interestingly, all this stress and uncertainty in Washington has folks nervous about what Bush has done to the reputation of DC, almost more than the damage his policies have wrought -- that the federal power consolidations won way back in the New Deal era are in peril. And it's at times like this that you'll find some very perverse political coalitions to salvage centralized power.
Jan Frel is an AlterNet staff writer.
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