06/29/2004: Cut and run...
Haven't had a whole lot of time to ponder the early handover of "sovereignty" to Iraq early Monday morning (IIRC, at least that's when I heard of it). I'm glad to see that Juan Cole's reaction was pretty similar to my first reaction; unlike me, Cole knows the area and whereof he speaks:
Paul Bremer suddenly left Iraq on Monday, having "transferred sovereignty" to the caretaker Iraqi government two days early.A person of good will on the SKEPTIC list (who describes himself as "no supporter of Bush") put it poignantly:
It is hard to interpret this move as anything but a precipitous flight. It is just speculation on my part, but I suspect that the Americans must have developed intelligence that there might be a major strike on the Coalition Provisional Headquarters on Wednesday if a formal ceremony were held to mark a transfer of sovereignty. Since the US military is so weak in Iraq and appears to have poor intelligence on the guerrilla insurgency, the Bush administration could not take the chance that a major bombing or other attack would mar the ceremony.
The surprise move will throw off all the major news organizations, which were planning intensive coverage of the ceremonies originally planned for Wednesday.
This entire exercise is a publicity stunt and has almost no substance to it. Gwen Ifill said on US television on Sunday that she had talked to Condaleeza Rice, and that her hope was that when something went wrong in Iraq, the journalists would now grill Allawi about it rather than the Bush administration. (Or words to that effect). Ifill seems to me to have given away the whole Bush show. That's what this whole thing is about. It is Public Relations and manipulation of journalists. Let's see if they fall for it.
Allawi is not popular and was not elected by anyone in Iraq. The Kurds were sullen today. There were no public celebrations in Baghdad. When people in the Arab world are really happy, there is celebratory fire. They are willing to give Allawi a chance, but that is different from wholehearted support
I want the new government to succeed. I want the terror bombings to stop -- they are horrifying and indiscriminate and opposed by IraqisI'm almost ashamed that my first reaction was: "I want Santa Claus to exist, and I want there to be a loving God who's going to take care of me and keep me from harm, but that's not really the case."
Almost ashamed. Unfortunately, I'm too much of a cynic to be ashamed of much when it comes to this bAdministration and its floundering in Iraq.
Len on 06.29.04 @ 12:08 PM CST