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George Bush made a detour to Anbar Province, Iraq, en route to the upcoming Australian summit. He spoke there encouragingly about the progress achieved by his policies. Anbar is no doubt a success story. In large measure that is because a number of groups previously identified by the U.S. as “the enemy” are no longer viewed as “the enemy.” They remain opposed to the Maliki Government in Baghdad. But they cooperate with U.S. in efforts targeting Salafi organizations. There is certainly good news in Anbar, but this is still a great demonstration of our ability to declare victory simply by redefining expectations.
Still, why the unannounced sudden stop in Iraq? A few explanations. One, Bush announced what the so-called Petraeus Report will tell us. Evidently, the Surge is a success and this will justify a draw-down before the end of the year. So no need for General Petraeus to finish up that report; we know what it will say.
But here’s the news that may be lurking just behind the news. Military commanders urged a draw-down to occur before the commencement of military operations against Iran. Bush is accepting this recommendation only because he has mentally committed to an aerial campaign against Iran. He will therefore follow the general’s advice to get soldiers out of harm’s way, off to positions which are more secure in the event of an Iranian counterattack.
Throughout the Gulf area, moves are underway at this moment which are consistent with preparation for an aerial assault on Iran.
And how will the Bush appearance in Anbar be understood inside of the region? Bush aligns himself with Iraq’s Sunni minority, against the Shi’a Government in Baghdad, and in preparation for a massive attack on Shi’a Iran. We’re witnessing the latest dramatic summersault in U.S. policy on Iraq, and most of our brain dead punditry on the Potomac hardly even seem to notice.
Bush and his core White House team have come to a key conclusion. The Iraq War is going very poorly. Time for a new war.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
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.
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Amount of U.S. military aid given to the government of El Salvador each minute during the 1980s:
A team of European sexologists reported that 40 percent of Italian couples were not having sex, due in part to Italian men’s declining sex drive and growing predilection for prostitutes and cybersex.
Telecommunications company AT&T agreed to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion in a bid to find new ways to reach consumers, and hackers took control of Internet-connected cameras and baby monitors to overwhelm the routing company Dyn with traffic, causing worldwide disruption to outlets such as Netflix and Amazon.
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"She never thanked me, never looked at me—melted away into the miserable night, in the strangest manner I ever saw. I have seen many strange things, but not one that has left a deeper impression on my memory than the dull impassive way in which that worn-out heap of misery took that piece of money, and was lost."