As Iraq Bleeds, the U.S. Policy Cupboard Remains Bare
Despite the hype, the Baker group's recommendations may be too little and too late to turn Iraq around.
Like the wild, but vain, windmilling of arms by traffic cops hoping to prevent an imminent accident, the signs emanating from Baghdad â as well as Amman and Washington â suggest that as bad as things are in Iraq, they are only going to get worse. Events over the last couple of days have made the following grimly clear: President Bush can't rely on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stop the sectarian warfare, according to Bush's own national security adviser. Al-Maliki is beholden to arch-sectarian Moqtada al-Sadr, who this week showed his clout by ordering his minions out of the fragile coalition government. And if the climax of this cliffhanger was supposed to be former Secretary of State James Baker leading the cavalry to the rescue, the reports of his group's conclusions are not exactly reassuring. There is a sense of profound foreboding in Washington that events in Iraq have spiraled downward beyond anyone's control, and that all the Bush administration can now do is contain the resulting damage.