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Reports out of Iraq catalogue a dramatic continued collapse of security conditions even after Bush administration’s escalation plan has been put in place. Leading Republicans have given the plan through Labor Day to work, but General Petraeus has been busy disabusing them of the notion that there is much prospect for that. And that leaves many Washington observers wondering what is next? Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland gives us a glimpse of “Plan B” in his piece on Sunday:
There is growing concern in Baghdad that Washington is developing a “Plan B” that involves both hitting Iran and ousting Maliki — who ironically was brought to office by American pressure to force out Ibrahim al-Jafari, Maliki’s predecessor. The concern is augmented by demands from both sides of the aisle in Congress that Maliki meet obviously unrealistic benchmarks quickly or face a cutoff of U.S. support.
Hoagland reminds us of Vice President Cheney’s recent visit to Iraq and the Persian Gulf, and his delivery of an incendiary, taunting anti-Iranian speech from the deck of an aircraft carrier. He also notes Iran’s shameless capture of a prominent American academic, Haleh Esfandiari, on ludicrous espionage charges. There are more pieces to that puzzle that go unnoted, for instance, the Iranians’ seizure of former senior FBI agent Bobbie Levinson. And conversely, the American seizure and continued detention on baseless charges of five Iranians sent to the Kurdish city of Arbil to establish a consulate. Condoleezza Rice had suggested that they be released, but this move was blocked by Dick Cheney – obviously it got in the way of his war-mongering plans.
President Bush’s Neocon advisors have a perfect remedy for the quagmire of Iraq: start a new war. This thinking, indeed, lurked behind the Iranian-American proxy war fought last summer in Lebanon. As the Vinograd Commission concluded, that war was a humiliating defeat for the United States and its proxy, Israel. So now the geniuses who cooked it up are busy working on still more spectacularly stupid plans. Don’t expect them to honestly air their intentions in the public, however. It’s not the Neocon way.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”