Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Premature Iraqulation

In Turkey, Bush said, “Turkey meets the EU standards for membership. The EU should begin talks that will lead to full membership for the Republic of Turkey.” Chirac tells Bush to butt out.

Wonkette nicely deems the early underhand of sovereignty “Premature Iraqulation.” The media seem to be only mildly embarrassed that they’re using the words “transfer of sovereignty” that the Bush admin put in their mouth, just as they did last year when they talked about the “end of hostilities”, and then the “end of major hostilities”, for months after it was obvious that nothing had ended at all. The media’s stenography habit must end. Even Bush isn’t going to be so stupid--although I’ve been looking back at some of my old emails and no prediction I’ve ever started that way has turned out not to be confounded by Bush’s actual stupidity--as to start in with the “mission accomplished” rhetoric; he’s talking about “freedom” a lot, but that won’t survive Allawi’s determination to impose martial law, even with someone’s else’s military. I suspect the media are so anxious to move on from the Iraq story so they don’t have to pay for expensive campaign coverage and expensive war coverage at the same time that they’ve adopted the Bush admin’s happy-talk exit strategy as their own.

If it were a true handover of power, it would be frightening. Imagine you were going to take a vacation in Hawaii starting Wednesday and were suddenly told on Monday that you had to get to the airport NOW NOW NOW! You’d be in a panic, you’d forget to pack something important, it would be utter chaos. Now running a whole, like, country is probably a bit more involved than a vacation, so if this were real... And don’t look for Bremer to break in the newbies on how to use the xerox machine, he’s already skedaddled.

Owie Allawi said today, “God and truth are with us.” That and a dime’ll get you a cup of coffee. And “we will not forget who stood with us and against us in this crisis.” That’s the sort of talk you like to hear on the first day of “full sovereignty.” And if it sounds familiar, think “you’re either with us or with the terrorists.”

I’m blanking on which columnist (or even which paper, but I think in Monday’s NYT) who wrote that Allawi needs to demonstrate his admin’s independence by picking a fight with the Americans, one he can win. This isn’t independence, this is good cop, bad cop, a farce instantly recognizable as a farce even to Iraqis who haven’t seen an episode of NYPD Blue. And no kabuki display of “independence” can get around the fact, as Robert Fisk puts it, that “Allawi is relying on the one army whose evacuation he needs to prove his own credibility.”

Possibly the WaPo is trying to say something: an article on the reappointment of Christian loon W. David Hager to the FDA panel on reproductive drugs (see the article Dana Milbank piece on the “administration ritual: disavowing the conclusions of official documents.”

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