$3 Trillion

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And all we got was this lousy photo-shoot?

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Ahmadinejad's visit with the Shiite government of Iraq is a useful reminder of what the permanent Iraq occupation means: an expansion of the power of Iran in the region, even as its nuclear bomb aspirations continue, and the slow emasculation of the US. Of course, the visit has inflamed the Awakening forces and widened the gulf that separates Sunni and Shia Mesopotamia:

“I think Ahmadinejad is the most criminal and bloody person in the world,” said Emad Abbas, a university student in Samarra. “This visit degrades Iraq’s dignity, and it proves that Iraq is occupied twice, once by the United States and once by Iran.”

In Kirkuk, where Sunnis are fighting efforts by Kurds to control the city, tribes and political parties rallied against the visit. “How can we tolerate this?” said Salman Abdullah Al-Hamad, an Arab tribal leader in Kirkuk. “Today we live under the regime of the clerics. The Iranian revolution has been exported to Iraq.”

But no worry: the US will spend more billions and deploy 100,000 troops for decades if necessary to make Iraq safe for the Iranian mullahs and keep oil prices lower than they would otherwise be for Chinese industrialists. Bush is the gift to our enemies that keeps on giving.

(Photo: Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty.)