Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Harper's Weekly Review
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a timetable for
ending the Iraq war by a six-vote margin. The bill
mandates American withdrawal in September 2008 if the Bush
Administration meets certain benchmarks, earlier if it
does not. Several Democrats voted against the timetable
because it was not sufficiently antiwar, and Republicans
derided the inclusion of domestic provisions benefiting
spinach growers, citrus farmers, salmon fishermen, and
peanut storers. "What does throwing money at Bubba Gump,
Popeye the sailor man, and Mr. Peanut have to do with
winning a war?" asked Representative Sam Johnson of
Texas. "I will veto it," said President George W. Bush,
"if it comes to my desk." British troops pulled out of
Basra; two days later, rival Shiite factions began
battling over a government building that had been been
evacuated by the military. In the Green Zone, a press
conference held by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was interrupted by a
nearby rocket attack. Ban, frightened, ducked behind a
podium, and the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to
impose new sanctions on Iran. Iranian officials claimed
that American authorities had prevented President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad from attending the Council meeting by delaying
his visa, and in the Iraqi territory of the Shatt al-Arab
waterway, Iranian forces captured and detained 15 members
of the British Royal Navy. Oil reached $62 per
barrel. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United
Nations, discussing last summer's conflict in Lebanon,
said that he was "damned proud" of U.S. efforts to delay a
cease-fire, and White House press secretary Tony Snow
announced that he would soon undergo surgery to remove a
growth from his lower abdomen.

Al Gore returned to Capitol Hill to testify that global
warming is a planetary emergency. Rep. Ed Markey of
Massachusetts called Gore a prophet, and Rep. John Dingell
of Michigan addressed him as "Mr. President." Joe Barton
of Texas, the leading Republican on the House Energy and
Commerce Committee, told Gore he was "totally wrong" and
that, if need be, Republican lawmakers would stay late for
an "all-out cat fight" with Democrats. Ralph Hall, also of
Texas, speculated that Gore's attack on the energy
industry could result in war "when and if OPEC nations
abandon the U.S.A.," and Roscoe Bartlett (R., Md.) said
that he thought it was "probably possible to be a
conservative without appearing to be an idiot.

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