Just as the failure of the Basra offensive may signal the beginning of the end for US involvement in Iraq, so Walmart’s decision to cut back on new store openings may signal the beginning of the end for our stupid consumer economy. From Huffpost:
According to a list released this week, Wal-Mart Stores has abandoned a record-shattering 45 proposed projects over the past 10 months — often leaving local officials dejected and confused. Another 19 Wal-Mart projects have been killed by local citizen’s groups. In total, the world’s largest retailer has suffered an historic loss of 64 projects.
and here, from the pen of Frank Rich, is the New Yawk Times Official Announcement that the pooch has been screwed in Iraq:
In Mr. Bush’s telling, Basra was a “defining moment in the history of a free Iraq.” He praised the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, and boasted repeatedly that the Iraqi forces were fighting “in the lead.” The Pentagon spokesman declared that this splendid engagement was “a byproduct of the success of the surge.”
It was a defining moment all right. Mr. Maliki’s impulsive and ill-planned attempt to vanquish the militias in southern Iraq loyal to his Shiite rival, the cleric Moktada al-Sadr, was a failure that left Mr. Sadr more secure than before. Though some Iraqi armed forces were briefly in the lead, others mutinied. Eventually American and British forces and air power had to ride to the rescue in both Basra and Baghdad. Even then, the result was at best a standoff, with huge casualties. The battle ended only when Mr. Maliki’s own political minions sought a cease-fire.