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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:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Number of Turkish college students detained in the last year for requesting Kurdish-language classes:
Turkey was funding a search for Suleiman the Magnificent’s heart.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”