News Release

Baker-Hamilton Agenda: Damage Control?

ANDREW BACEVICH
Professor of history and international relations at Boston University, Bacevich recently wrote a piece in the Christian Science Monitor titled “Iraq Panel’s Real Agenda: Damage Control,” which commented about the Iraq Study Group: “Their purpose is twofold: first, to minimize Iraq’s impact on the prevailing foreign policy consensus with its vast ambitions and penchant for armed intervention abroad; and second, to quell any inclination of ordinary citizens to intrude into matters from which they have long been excluded. The ISG is antidemocratic. Its implicit message to Americans is this: We’ll handle things — now go back to holiday shopping.

“The group’s composition gives the game away. Chaired by James Baker, the famed political operative and former secretary of state, and Lee Hamilton, former congressman and fixture on various blue-ribbon commissions, it contains no one who could be even remotely described as entertaining unorthodox opinions or maverick tendencies.

“Instead, it consists of Beltway luminaries such as retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and lobbyist Vernon Jordan. No member is now an elected official. Neither do its ranks include any Iraq war veterans, family members of soldiers killed in Iraq, or anyone identified with the antiwar movement. None possesses specialized knowledge of Islam or the Middle East. Charging this crowd with assessing the Iraq war is like convening a committee of Roman Catholic bishops to investigate the church’s clergy sex-abuse scandal.”

Bacevich’s most recent book is The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War.
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ERIK LEAVER
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Leaver just wrote the piece “Think We’re Leaving Iraq? Not So Fast.” He said today: “As a result of political pressure from the White House, the Iraq Study Group’s report is not a reflection of the best minds of our nation on how to stop the killing and violence in Iraq and how to bring our troops home. Instead of taking the opportunity to produce a bold change of direction, the ISG’s ‘lowest common denominator’ approach will keep U.S. forces in Iraq for years to come without producing the political changes needed to stabilize Iraq.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167