"That was in keeping with the moment. And momentary it was. An unannounced five-minute, 'furtive' ceremony, two days early, on half an hour's notice, in a 'nondescript room' in the new Iraqi prime minister's office, under a blanket of security, with snipers on adjoining rooftops in the heavily fortified Green Zone, 'before only a handful of Iraqi and U.S. officials and journalists.' A few quick, polite lies (L. Paul Bremer III: 'I have confidence that the Iraqi government is ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead'), a few seconds of polite clapping by the attendees. That was it. Sovereignty transferred. The end.Well, I must say, I hadn't looked at it like that, but it appears to be a valid alternative way to look at the events.
Other than L. Paul Bremer, not a significant American official was in sight, even though the President, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, and Secretary of State were all in Turkey, not 90 minutes away. There were no representatives from other governments. No flags. No bands. No cheering crowds. No marching troops. No hoopla. Nothing at all. And two hours later, Bremer, the erstwhile viceroy of Baghdad, his suits and desert boots packed away, was on a C-130 out of the country.
Talk about 'cutting and running,' he didn't even stick around the extra five hours for the swearing in of the new interim administration. That's not a matter of catching a flight, but of flight itself. I'm sure Bremer is already heaving a sigh of relief and looking forward, as Time magazine tells us, to enrolling in 'the Academy of Cuisine in Washington.' As for the 'psychological boost' provided by the transfer of sovereignty, Prime Minister Allawi and friends are not likely to be its recipients. It looks as if the Bush administration engaged in a game of chicken with a motley group of insurgents and rebels in urban Iraq -- and at the edge of what suddenly looked like a cliff, the Bush administration flinched first.
This is a victory, certainly, but not for Bush & Co. or for their plan to, as they like to say, put "an Iraqi face" on Iraq. It may be spun here as a brilliant stratagem to outflank the Iraqi insurgency, or as Carol Williams and Alissa Rubin of the Los Angeles Times put it, a "ploy to pre-empt disruptions," or as proof that the interim administration was ready ahead of schedule, but the word that most fits the moment is actually humiliation. Ignominious humiliation."
At bottom, Bush's neocon strategists profoundly misunderstood the nature of American power; too many war movies in childhood perhaps, but they believed their own propaganda about the ability of high-tech military power to pacify and reorganize the world. They simply had no idea how hard it was for a giant to stand alone and on one foot, while mites, poorly armed, scurried around below making mischief and causing havoc.Well, I'm still not entirely convinced, but again, an interesting filter. On the otherhand, if true, what does it mean? I'm not yet ready to put Iraq into the 'loss' column. Not because I think we should ever have fought the Baby Bush War, but now that we're there, let's do at least try to save some face, we need to hold out for a "peace with honour". I'd hope for better, but...
It's hard to believe that, in such a brief span, we've gone down the imperial rabbit hole and out the other side of who knows what, so that when the moment that would validate everything came in Iraq, though it was morning, it had the feel of the dead of night. Who would have believed that the administration which declared, in Greta Garbo's famous phrase, "I vant to be alone," would find itself so profoundly alone -- and undoubtedly fearful.
Be careful what you wish for, they say. The Bush administration talked the talk, but when it came to the walk, they bogged down on only the second stop in their armed stroll across our planet, and their representative in occupied Iraq had to make a mad dash for the exits.
From Co Clare's cliffs to the Anatolian plain; from medieval battlements to Ottoman minarets; from the slate grey Atlantic to the Golden Horn; from armoured cars on deserted streets to, er, armoured cars on deserted streets.Yeah, that I have noticed. It's almost a totally surreal existance. I don't ever remember a president that so many of our allies' citizens hate and fear. Or a president who looks so weak. At least get him a 'pope-mobile', if that's what it takes for him to feel safe. I mean it's embarrassing watching our president have to hide from everybody. It's sad, pathetic, and indeed, lonely, I'm sure. Poor Baby Bush.
President George W Bush took in the full East-West sweep of Europe this weekend, travelling from the mouth of the Shannon to the Bosphorus via Ankara in less than 24 hours. He also appeared to have fostered a rare unanimity on the streets of two of Europe's geographical extremes.
Hours after anti-Bush Irish demonstrators outwitted the Garda and delayed the president's plans, Turkish police in Ankara clashed with protesters trying to break through a barricade outside Mr Bush's hotel.
The only difference was the colour of the armoured cars: in Ireland they were khaki; in Ankara and Istanbul they were black.
Otherwise the impression from the motorcade was the same: anti-Bush graffiti, lines of armed policemen, roadblocks, and emptied roads."
"At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that 'people are poor because they are lazy.' He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to 'free market competition.' To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was 'socialism.' Recently, President Bush's Federal Appeals Court Nominee, California's Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown, repeated the same broadside at her Senate hearing. She knew that her pronouncement would please President Bush and Karl Rove and their Senators. President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary, and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal."So, maybe all is fine in Baby Bush world after all. These 'people' (citizens at home and abroad) aren't really 'his kind of people', anyway.