sure looked like good news. There was Ambassador
L. Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition
Provisional Authority, handing Iraqis back their
what actually happened was one of the oldest tricks
in the book, the old bait and switch, a technique
President George W. Bush has turned into high
newscasts showed the turnover, a New York Times-CBS
News poll showed Bush's approval rating falling
to 42 percent, its lowest ever -- and found that
45 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion
of the president.
displayed prominent Republicans putting a positive
spin on war.
what happened was a new American general took
command of coalition forces and other American
officials will oversee much of Iraq's financial
and war business.
we saw was the president scrawling a note to Condoleezza
Rice during a NATO summit in Istanbul, saying
"Let freedom reign!"
what happened was freedom returned to America
with the U.S. Supreme Court decision that "enemy
combatants" must have the right to challenge their
detention, instead of being held without access
to counsel. A "state of war is not a blank check
for the president," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
proclaimed that "the Iraqi people have their country
back" -- but he didn't say "Sorry" about those
missing weapons of mass destruction. He didn't
say that coalition forces -- 90 percent of them
are American -- aren't going home anytime soon.
He didn't tell us the Army is preparing an involuntary
recall of about 5,600 civilians who left the service
and still have a reserve obligation or that more
forces may be needed soon in Afghanistan.
the national media covered the turnover like V-J
Day, it missed an ironic sense of deja vu that
echoed through Monday's events: Paul Bremer waving
as he boarded a plane to leave Iraq was reminiscent
of the president standing on the deck of the USS
Abraham Lincoln a year ago, declaring our mission
accomplished with 138 American soldiers dead.
then, more than 700 more American soldiers died.
And there is no end in sight.
Bush team has ignored a persistent lack of stability
in Iraq -- a country where terrorists roam so
freely that some captured U.S. Marine Cpl. Wassef
Ali Hassoun by sneaking into an American base
and luring him away, according to reports. He
was missing for one week, his blindfolded face
shown on TV for two days before he was declared
captured, not missing.
was little to celebrate Monday. Richard Holbrooke,
former ambassador to the United Nations, said
it best: Phase One was a successful military operation,
Phase Two was a disastrous occupation, and Phase
Three is a transfer of power so shaky that security
concerns dictated that it be done two days early.
good thing came from this week's dose of reality
TV: Stepford Americans, once too afraid to question,
are waking up and seeing Bush's strategies as
fantasy: A new CNN-USAToday-Gallup poll found
that nearly three-quarters of Americans approved
of the transfer of power, but 60 percent saw it
as a sign of U.S. failure.
what happened in Iraq this week:
Posted: July 1, 2004