In a move designed to shock the American press and Iraqi terrorists, the new Iraqi government took sovereign control of that country this morning in a low-key ceremony in Baghdad. The US, British, Polish, Turkish, Czech, South Korean, Japanese, and other troops are now guests of the interim government.
Just months ago, critics claimed that June 30 was a ridiculous date, that the Iraqis, being dark-skinned people who don't speak English natively, would never be able to handle the responsibilities of self-governance with so little preparation. I mean, come on, it took Hillary Rodham nearly 30 years to become a Democrat. Moreoever, the naysayers argued, not a single prospective member of the interim government had yet subscribed to The Nation.
Well, they were wrong. While many challenges and potential potholes lie in new government's path, the Iraqis requested the early transfer to throw off the terrorists and to demonstrate their readiness for self rule.
This move will have both immediate and long-term consequences.
Immediately, the entire operation will take on additional legitimacy in the eyes of intelligent and honest critics of the war. (The Michael Moore crowd is too bloated with Hostess snack cakes, malicious ignorance, and self-congratulatory smugness to be swayed by any event.) The indiginous governors are legitimate. Paul Bremmer is on his way home. The war is, for all intents and purposes, successfully concluded.
In the longer term, moving early to transfer power will destablize the terrorist networks that have been operating inside of Iraq. The terrorists lost the element of surprise and the argument of legitimacy. Iraqis will be impressed that their new leaders could take this step early. It shows courage and efficiency that the people of Iraq clearly admire because the clearly demonstrate them in the face of the insurgents.
This could be the beginning of a great weak and year for the President, the United States, a free Iraq, and the world.