Monday, October 09, 2006

G.O.P.’s Baker Hints Iraq Plan Needs Change - New York Times

G.O.P.’s Baker Hints Iraq Plan Needs Change - New York Times: "James A. Baker III, the Republican co-chairman of a bipartisan panel reassessing Iraq strategy for President Bush, said Sunday that he expected the panel would depart from Mr. Bush’s repeated calls to “stay the course,” and he strongly suggested that the White House enter direct talks with countries it had so far kept at arm’s length, including Iran and Syria.

“I believe in talking to your enemies,” he said in an interview on the ABC News program “This Week,” noting that he made 15 trips to Damascus, the Syrian capital, while serving Mr. Bush’s father as secretary of state.

“It’s got to be hard-nosed, it’s got to be determined,” Mr. Baker said. “You don’t give away anything, but in my view, it’s not appeasement to talk to your enemies.”

Mr. Bush refused to deal with Iran until this spring, when he said the United States would join negotiations with Tehran if it suspended enriching nuclear fuel. Iran has so far refused. Contacts with both Syria and North Korea have also been sharply limited.

But the “Iraq Study Group,” created by Mr. Baker last March with the encouragement of some members of Congress to come up with new ideas on Iraq strategy, has already talked to some representatives of Iran and Syria about Iraq’s future, he said."

Are we seeing a clash of the Bushes?


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