[Baker] is advising the Bush administration to consider a phased withdrawal of some of the 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.Yeah, "however wrongly"...
Otherwise, Baker says, the United States risks being suspected of having an "imperial design" in the region.
A protracted U.S. military presence in Iraq is probably unavoidable since attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces and on Iraqi security forces are likely to continue, Baker said Tuesday in a speech at Rice University in Houston.
"Even under the best of circumstances, the new Iraqi government will remain extremely vulnerable to internal divisions and external meddling," he said.
Still, former President George H.W. Bush's secretary of state said, "any appearance of a permanent occupation will both undermine domestic support here in the United States and play directly into the hands of those in the Middle East who -- however wrongly -- suspect us of imperial design."
Cue the theme song.