The Roman Empire is falling. That, in a phrase, is what the Baker report says. The legions cannot impose their rule on Mesopotamia.
Just as Crassus lost his legions’ banners in the deserts of Syria-Iraq, so has George W Bush. There is no Mark Antony to retrieve the honour of the empire. The policy “is not working”. “Collapse” and “catastrophe” – words heard in the Roman senate many a time – were embedded in the text of the Baker report. Et tu, James?
This is also the language of the Arab world, always waiting for the collapse of empire, for the destruction of the safe Western world which has provided it with money, weapons, political support. First, the Arabs trusted the British Empire and Winston Churchill, and then they trusted the American Empire and Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Truman and Eisenhower administrations and all the other men who would give guns to the Israelis and billions to the Arabs – Nixon, Carter, Clinton, Bush…
And now they are told that the Americans are not winning the war; that they are losing. If you were an Arab, what would you do?