With the Iraqis working hard to resist a long-term U.S. occupation agreement, this week's Economist cover executes the latest version of "Mission Accomplished," reframing a potential American repudiation as the result of a country that -- through a new and profound capacity for self-healing -- might somehow not need our fixing anymore.
Forget that splits among Shiite factions are so severe as to continue threatening civil war, or that the delicate counterbalance between traditional Sunni factions and the Sunni Awakening groups created by the Americans is wearing thin in the face of upcoming elections, or that the country continues to move farther into the Iranian sphere.
With a small generator (drawing power for how many hours a day?) and a bit of varnish (also, the preferred palliative of the Administration), the initiative of the tradesman is meant to signify that Iraq is well on the way to making its own music once again. And then, I'm not sure how far The Economist meant to push the metaphor, but considering how America's "rescue" of Iraq mostly succeeded in setting off wide-scale looting, isn't it poetic that this craftsman is fashioning a lute?