SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Jim Hoagland repeats the now oft-quoted view that the Bush administration intends, sooner rather than later, to remove Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki through a coup d’état (shades of Ngo Dinh Diem, the Vietnamese president who was assassinated in a CIA-planned coup in 1963, launching the Vietnam War in earnest). But other concerns for the life of leaders in Iraq are still more immediate, giving rise to a multipoint deathwatch.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has been so ill that he has declined meetings with foreign visitors for more than a month now. Today Laura Rozen reports that he is “at the Mayo clinic for medical treatment.”
Iraqi Vice President Abdul Aziz Hakim has been diagnosed with cancer by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has opted to undergo chemotherapy not in Texas, but in Tehran, saying he wished to be closer to his family in Baghdad. The Washington Times reports that he has now arrived in Tehran. No doubt others will see his selection of medical treatment in Tehran over the United States in other terms.
Clearly, this is not a good time to be a high government official in Iraq. You don’t suppose this is all some sort of divine metaphor for the state of the Iraqi body politic, do you?
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.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“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.”