Instead of listening to the advice of Baker and the Iraq Study Group to seek an exit strategy, Bush prefers to up the stakes, increasing the number of troops in Iraq and threatening both Syria and Iran. He is coming into conflict with the ruling class he is supposed to represent. Herein lies a potential political crisis of major proportions in the USA.

George W. Bush last night announced his “new strategy” for Iraq. His speech consisted of the usual rhetoric about “establishing democracy” and “defeating the terrorists” but particularly a lot of wishful thinking. Like an about to be defeated poker player, US imperialism faces the problem every gambler has when he is losing: if he leaves the table, he won’t be able to win back his losses. But a final bet can prove fatal too.

The execution of Saddam Hussein could not have been a more cynically calculated PR event if a banner proclaiming "mission accomplished" had been placed above the gallows. His hanging will not provide a day of relief from the misery, humiliation, and violence the Iraqi people are enduring under the occupation, or absolve imperialism of its role in Saddam's rise to power and decades of brutal rule.

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