Monday, June 28, 2004

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Open sovereignty thread

Feel free to comment on the surprise decision to transfer Iraqi sovereignty two days early -- the Washington Post and the Economist have some nice background.

posted by Dan on 06.28.04 at 09:07 PM


I think the the look on Bush and Blair, the look of the new Iraqi PM and President said more about the handover then I could. It is the re-birth of their country.

Al Jazeera stayed true to form, dredging up an editor to say that this was a sign the insurgency was winning.

What was even more bizarre was Al Jazeera's report that the Western media was too biased. How many of the images of dead women and children displayed every 15 minutes were blamed on the Fallujan and Sadr insurgents? Not a one.

posted by: Cog on 06.28.04 at 09:07 PM [permalink]

I thought that the handover would mean little - if we weren't in control afterwards, it would be because we'd relinquished the field to let the Iraqis settle scores and find a suitable strongman to take Saddam's place. I'm pretty sure that will still happen, and I think I know who the first contender for "strongman" will be. All together now: "We can't hold the elections until the crisis is over. It's a State of Emergency."

I think that moving up the handover was ... awful. I think in general that we're lucky to be so overwhelmingly powerful that we don't have to worry about atmospherics - make the best decision at the time regardless of what it says about our power, our will, etc. We are rich enough and strong enough to ride out any miscommunication until the appropriate message is received. But if that's what happened this time, it was a grievous mistake.

The most the handover could be was a message, and this was a horrible message to send. I think that the Al Jazeera report referenced above (which I didn't see) captures the way it will be received by the rest of the world (and us in time). I can't believe it would have been that hard to keep, what, eight guys safe for 48 more hours. Instead of a day filled with ceremony and pomp, we get this dirty little thing done in a broom closet. Can you imagine the reaction if we quick-kicked the Inauguration in 2005 by two days? And this, the birth of a new nation.

Yeah, this bodes well.

posted by: SomeCallMeTim on 06.28.04 at 09:07 PM [permalink]

Sorry to nitpick, SCMT, but the violence leading up to the handover killed a couple of hundred people and wounded several times that many, almost all of them Iraqis. As the bombings, mortarings and assassinations were pretty clearly related to the impending transfer of authority moving up that transfer's date seems a sound tactical move to deny these insurgent vermin the press hit they were likely to seek between Monday and Wednesday.

posted by: Zathras on 06.28.04 at 09:07 PM [permalink]

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