Monday, December 04, 2006

The Real Problem With Iraq Policy

The ordinarily oleaginous Evan Thomas crafts a couple of anomalously decent paragraphs:

Persuading Bush to listen -- and to change course, even at the margins -- will be very difficult. One of the myths that the Bush camp has tried to perpetuate over the years is that the president follows the model, learned as a student at Harvard Business School, of a chief executive who delegates, listens to advice and only then decides. Bush is the "decider," as he calls himself, but there is little evidence that he listens to advice that he doesn't want to hear. It may be that the last really serious call for a midcourse correction heeded by George W. Bush was the hangover he experienced at Colorado's Broadmoor Hotel one morning in the summer of 1986, when he decided to quit drinking -- a decision that put him on the path to the presidency. That was indeed a momentous example of evaluating options and choosing to change, but it happened two decades ago. ...

Bush's reluctance to change course ... may come as a disappointment to voters who thought they were sending the president a message last Election Day. Bush seems determined to play the role of a 21st-century Winston Churchill, steadfast in the West's darkest hour, when many Americans see Bush as the captain on the bridge of the Titanic. But in fact the dire situation in Iraq -- and the reality that there are no magical fixes -- may push the president into listening to Baker and other advisers, if only for a moment, and then maybe with only half an ear. At least that is what Baker, according to those who know him, is hoping and maneuvering for -- a chance to get his foot in the door of the Oval Office, to make one last pass at getting Bush to make an attempt at true diplomacy in the Middle East.


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