Long and frightening Seymore Hersh article argues that the Rumsfeld/Gates switch doesn’t necessarily indicate an administration-wide change of approach to national security. Cheney is still Cheney and still wants to start a war with Iran and Bush just might do it.
Meanwhile, I have to say I sort of hope Baker-Hamilton doesn’t recommend negotiations with Syria and Iran. The official hawk line on why we shouldn’t do this is that it won’t accomplish anything. Meanwhile, it would be the easiest thing in the world for an administration that doesn’t want to negotiate with Syria and Iran to “agree” to negotiate, do so in bad faith, walk away having achieved nothing, further poison the diplomatic atmosphere, and thereby “prove” that such negotiations are useless. In fact, they’re vital, but to do any good they need to be done in good faith. That means either a genuine change of heart by the president (unlikely) or else a new administration in 2009.