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!
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:
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.”