JAMES BAKER: I want to thank you all for being here. We took some heat for our work on Iraq, but I still think most Americans thought it was valuable. Now, we turn our attention to a new problem. Again, our mandate isnt to examine how we got into Mordor or to rehash the intelligence leading up to the War of the Ring. I agree things would be different had we known there was, in fact, no ring. But our job, now, is to use your wisdom to help the president create a stable, self-governing Mordor and to expedite a proper transfer of power to the Orcs.
LEE HAMILTON: Ill second my distinguished colleague, and Im proud to have such wise luminaries on this commission. People like Vernon Jordan, Sandra Day OConnor and Chuck Robb will offer valuable, bipartisan expertise on how to stabilize Middle Earth. And I think in confronting a ferocious Mordorian insurgency were blessed to have the advice of Leon Panetta. Now, Id like to open the floor for some questions to our wise panelists.
VERNON JORDAN: Mordor. Thats the place with the pointy-eared people, right? I think we have some clients there.
JAMES BAKER: No, thats Dorwinion, with the elves.
VERNON JORDAN: Oh, right. Good wine there.
SANDRA DAY OCONNOR: I thought that was Erebor.
LEON PANETTA: I recently gave a speech in Erebor. Good golfing.
WILLIAM PERRY: Are we going to travel to Mordor?
LEE HAMILTON: At least once, hopefully, and that should bring you up to speed. Were also going to try to see the area outside Mount Doom if we can arrange for security. I think its important we meet with ordinary Orcs.
ALAN SIMPSON: Honestly, folks, I dont know squat about Mordor.
JAMES BAKER: No worries, Al. Youre here because of your good sense.
EDWIN MEESE: Then why am I here?
JAMES BAKER: Dont know, Ed.
SANDRA DAY OCONNOR: Id like some recommendations for reading up on Mordor.
EDWIN MEESE: I find Wikipedia really helpful. Also, theres my 2004 book, Leadership, Ethics and Policing.
CHUCK ROBB: Is that about Mordor?
EDWIN MEESE: No, but it provides a helpful insight into my thinking.
ALAN SIMPSON: I recommend my own book. Its called Right in the Old Gazoo: A Lifetime of Scrapping with the Press.
CHUCK ROBB: Is that about Mordor?
ALAN SIMPSON: Not at all. But youll appreciate that Im down-to-earth and plain-spoken.
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER: Im still worried that the north might attempt to secede and draw us into conflict with neighboring states like Rohan. Theres a lot of bad feeling.
JAMES BAKER: Well, thats why its so important to bring actors to the table. We know that the freed slaves of Nrn are still resentful about generations of being forced to farm for the Orc armies, but were still hoping for a coalition Orc-Slave-of-Nrn government. Apart from several millennia of exploitation and hatred, they have some shared interests.
WILLIAM PERRY: Im curious about your talks with neighboring countries. I read that youve had several meetings with representatives from Gondor.
JAMES BAKER: I have. Ive also met with the foreign minister of the Dead Marshes. The tough part is that his president denies the existence of the moon and drinks mercury.
LEON PANETTA: I think a lot of what we do in Mordor depends on the next six months. Thats what Friedman says today.
LEE HAMILTON: Hmm, thats very wise. And youre wise to quote it. But well be here well over six months anyway.
EDWIN MEESE: Hey, pardon me, but Im actually pretty sick of those Orcs. Lets beef up our forces and kick some ass.
LEE HAMILTON: Hang on, Ed. To tell you the truth, that doesnt sound very bipartisan.
WILLIAM PERRY: Yeah, Ed. Plus Mordors screwed. I vote we get the hell out of there by early 2008.
JIM BAKER: Whoa there, Bill, thats not very bipartisan either. I thought we discussed the importance of bipartisanism. Anyway, this is my commission. I get to decide on troops.
LEE HAMILTON: Hold on, Jim. Its my commission, too.
SANDRA DAY OCONNOR: Maybe we should just not mention troop levels. Lets just sort of, you know, write around it.
WILLIAM PERRY: Thats very wise, Sandy.
ALAN SIMPSON: Or we could say we forgot.
JAMES BAKER: No, we cant do that. Lets say that we should withdraw some number of troops at some time.
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER: You mean a set number of troops at a definite time?
JAMES BAKER: No. I mean we withdraw a set number of troops at an indefinite time.
LEE HAMILTON: Or we withdraw an indefinite number of troops at a set time.
JAMES BAKER: That works too. As long as we dont rule out adding forces, too.
LEE HAMILTON: Not at all. As long as we withdraw them, too. At some time.
JAMES BAKER: Lets say at least 10 brigades should be withdrawn sometime.
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER: Wait. Is that saying anything?
JAMES BAKER: Its saying everything.
LEE HAMILTON: Indeed. And in a quite bipartisan way. Its very wise.
EDWIN MEESE: Lets call it the Meese Report.