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The Baker Report, Leaked! | The Nation

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The Baker Report, Leaked!

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"I think it's fair to say our commission believes that there are alternatives between the stated alternatives, the ones that are out there in the political debate, of stay-the-course and cut-and-run."
   -- James A. Baker III, co-chair of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, on ABC's
This Week

About the Author

Evan Eisenberg
Evan Eisenberg is the author of The Ecology of Eden (Knopf, Vintage) and of The Recording Angel, which was recently...

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With apologies to David Blaine, and none to John McCain, an ode to a political magician.

Republicans in Congress have set aside $20 million for a gala in Washington to celebrate victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. The party may be postponed for a while, but the program has been drafted--and we've got a copy.

OPTION A: CUT TO THE CHASE

• All forces under Allied command in Iraq and Afghanistan are redeployed to the search for Osama bin Laden.

• Bin Laden is apprehended.

• The United States declares victory.

• Bin Laden is tried, convicted and sentenced to serve as administrator of both nations, while United States withdraws.

OPTION B: STAY IN CORSICA

• Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are reassigned to an island in the Mediterranean or South Atlantic.

• A naval blockade is imposed.

• They retain their titles, salaries and perquisites of office and are free to exercise their geopolitical ambitions within the confines of the selected land mass.

• Islands under consideration include Corsica (FR), Elba (IT) and St. Helena (UK).

OPTION C: STAYS AND CORSETS

• For reasons of national security, the entire nation of Iraq is classified.

• Individual Iraqis are authorized to be aware of their own activities and experiences on a strictly "need to know" basis.

• Casualty figures, expenditures and other data are selectively released after being subjected to the Playtex-Gödel compression algorithm, which reduces them by two orders of magnitude, plus or minus three inches.

OPTION D: CUT THE MAIN COURSE BUT STAY FOR DESSERT

• As it has proven unfeasible to provide Iraq with such basic elements of a democracy as stability, self-determination and the rule of law, the reconstruction effort instead proceeds directly to late-stage democracy (LSD).

• Emphasis is placed on such indices of LSD as per capita fuel consumption, obesity and online sex.

• Expected benefits to Iraqi population, and indirectly to the United States, include increased goodwill, increased sales of prescription drugs, and decreased interest in politics.

OPTION E: NIP AND TUCK

• "Cosmetic surgery" is performed on the body politic of Iraq, removing "ugly" regions and declaring them independent.

• At the end of the process, Iraq is coextensive with premises and grounds of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.

• Resources that are currently expended on quelling the insurgency are redirected to redecorating, improving recreational facilities and offering free wireless access, turn-down services, pillow mints and other amenities.

• To establish the Iraqi character of the new state, complimentary suites are provided for three Iraqi families, one each of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish extraction, who then become subjects of a reality TV program.

• Revenue from US and foreign syndication guarantees economic independence of the new Iraq.

OPTION F: TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN

• Contractors and other US corporations active in Iraq are asked to estimate the revenues expected to accrue to them from operations in that country over the next twenty years.

• The Iraqi Constitution is amended to provide that the specified amounts be deducted, pro rata and on a quarterly basis, from Iraqi oil revenues and remitted to the corporations concerned.

• Corporations and their support staff (US troops, officials, etc.) are now free to leave Iraq, since income stream is guaranteed regardless.

OPTION G: CUT THE CRAP

• The Bush Administration concedes that the entire Iraq adventure has been an utter fraud and an unqualified disaster.

• President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld and Secretary Rice resign in disgrace.

• Hell freezes over.

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