In the press of post-Christmas events, which included the rush to execute Saddam Hussein, the stately, drawn-out dirge of the Ford funeral, and the advent of a new Democratic Congress, one might be forgiven for forgetting that January 16 will mark the sixteenth anniversary of the U.S. war on Iraq, which began in 1991 with a shock-and-awe campaign that within days destroyed the Iraqi air force, giving the U.S. command of Iraq's air space-space it has never relinquished. This week, President Bush will pre-empt the occasion by announcing a new strategy for winning this war. The centerpiece of the plan will be an increase in troop levels, carefully couched in terms to make it appear as if Iraq's Shiite-dominated government is assuming more responsibility for combat operations. The plan will include, but probably not mention, a transfer of authority over Iraqi skies to Iraq. That authority, of course, will be, only a paper covering. The only planes flying the unfriendly skies will be those of the U.S. and Britain.
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