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:
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.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Percentage of registered Democrats who say that fishing is their favorite spectator sport:
Democrats would win more elections if black Americans died at the same rate as white Americans.
A former U.S. intelligence official said pornography constituted 80 percent of the material on jihadists’ seized laptops, and Starbucks and McDonald’s made porn inaccessible from their Wi-Fi networks.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“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.'”