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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

You can almost imagine the scene Monday morning as Paul Bremer sneaks into Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi's bedroom, gently waking him with a tap to the shoulder, "Pssssst, wake up Iyad, it's your turn... I'm outta here." And faster than you could say Mission Accomplished, Iraq was symbolically in charge of its own fate.

Naturally, the Bush administration began touting the two-days-early handover as another (or is it the first?) victory in Iraq. While it is no doubt a positive sign that things are moving forward, don't be fooled by all the gusto coming out of the White House. For one, the early handover had nothing to do with Iraq being in a position of readiness earlier than expected; in fact, it has more to do with the fact that they are not. Because the security situation in Iraq is so unstable and has been so poorly managed, the ceremony was moved up a few days and took place in the near-dead of night so as to avoid being rocked by another suicide bombing.

There is no way the Neocon architects of this Iraqi adventure envisioned that the situation would be so uncertain, so fragile and so increasingly dire when they launched this initiative so many months ago. But handing power over on time, regardless of the readiness of the new Iraqi government or its people, was an important milestone for the Bush team to meet, particularly with a presidential election right around the corner. And so, ready or not, Iraq is now sovereign. Hooray. But remember, the only American who left the desert Monday morning was Paul Bremer, leaving behind 140,000 young American men and women to clean up the mess.

Robert Orr, an outside expert sent to Iraq last summer to oversee reconstruction efforts, painted a real picture of what Monday's quiet ceremony represented in this quote to the New York Times:
"The loss of control makes the job even tougher. We have the same number of targets on the ground today as we did yesterday, but less control over the politics. The reality is that we are as engaged in Iraq as we have ever been."
Columnist Richard Cohen added his two dinars about the reality of Monday's transfer here.
And just to clarify, despite what the Bush apologists and cheerleaders would have you think, we on the left are not hoping for continued chaos and violence in Iraq. We are not hoping for failure. We don't cheer when we hear of another roadside bomb or downed helicopter. Even those of us who opposed the war are hoping for the best now that we're sunk in so deep, but we will never forget who got us into this mess in the first place.

Finally, for the sake of levity, and because we at Days love her to death, we add political cyber-kitten and fellow blogger Wonkette's take on this headline's unintended double entendre, hilariously titling her entry "Premature Iraqulation". Keep it "up" Wonkette.

Throughout my Days I've made my opinion about the New York Yankees pretty clear - pure evil, plague on humanity, devil incarnate, etc. But as much as I hate the Yankees, I've always maintained that their fans are probably the most knowledgeable in the country. Last night they proved that once again when a packed Yankee Stadium of 60,000 serenaded visiting vice president Dick Cheney with a good ol' fashion Bronx Cheer. For once Yankee fans, we're on the same side.

Cheney: "How do you say 'go fuck yourself' in Japanese?"

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