Three non republican elephants in the room
The three metaphorical elephants that will be sitting in the room when President Bush begins his speech on Monday are the unacknowledged belligerence of Syria, Iran and the role the syndicate of corruption centered around the Oil for Food Program plays in shaping postwar Iraq. None of these three forces, which have been vying for influence in post-Saddam Iraq, have been given prominent coverage by the media, which has focused on Abu Ghraib. Yet neither the heavy April fighting, nor the continuing maneuvers against Moqtada al-Sadr nor the brouhaha over Chalabi and most of all the process of selecting the interim government can be understood without them. The shape of the next fifty years in the Middle East will be determined by these hulking, but largely invisible issues while viewers are regaled with the sight of Ba'athists crowned with women's underpants. It will be interesting to see whether President Bush mentions Syria, Iran or the power politics being played through Lakhdar Brahimi at all in his coming speech at the War College, and if he does, how long it will take before the media switch to a replay of the gallery at the 9/11 commission heckling Rudy Giuliani.