Wednesday, January 14


Michael Jackson Case

THE DAY IN PHOTOGRAPHS: Santa Maria circus

The Village Voice: Features: Last Copter Out of Baghdad by Rick Perlstein
Rick Perlstein, Village Voice, January 14 - 20, 2004

George Bush is selling out Iraq. Gone are his hard-liners' dreams of setting up a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic republic, a light unto the Middle Eastern nations. The decision makers in the administration now realize these goals are unreachable. So they've set a new goal: to end the occupation by July 1, whether that occupation has accomplished anything valuable and lasting or not. Just declare victory and go home. The tyranny of Saddam Hussein will be over. But a new tyranny will likely take its place: the tyranny of civil war, as rival factions rush into the void. Such is the mess this president seems willing to leave behind in order to save his campaign.

"The Bush game plan is to have pictures of some U.S. troops leaving and the Iraqis opening their own government, the U.S. having presided over the birth of this new embryonic democracy," observes former Clinton White House adviser Sidney Blumenthal.

The problem is, there will be no Iraqi democracy. There might not even be a viable Iraqi government.

Instead, Baghdad will become Beirut: Iraq's three major religious and ethnic groups, the Sunnis, the Shiites, and the Kurds, will consolidate their respective positions in the center, south, and north of the country, recruit their militias, and get down to fighting for control of the power vacuum that is the post-war "peace."

Once again, as so often in these last few months, an analogy is Vietnam. And, as so often in the last three years, the analogous president is Nixon.

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