Notes: This past week the secret CIA report that everyone knows about was leaked. It "concludes that ordinary Iraqis increasingly are siding with the insurgency amid doubts about the U.S. ability to stamp it out ...," according to a Reuters report by Will Dunham dated November 12.
On November 11, "L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator in Iraq, made a hurried return to Washington on Tuesday as Bush administration officials held an urgent round of meetings to discuss ways of speeding up the transfer of power to Iraqis," wrote Richard W. Stevenson in the New York Times on November 12.
Another Reuters report by Sea Walker on November 15, reported the following about Bushy new timetable for Iraqi self-rule:
"Jalal Talabani, current president of the council, said a sovereign Iraqi government would take over power from occupying forces by the end of June 2004. The government would be selected by an assembly to be picked by May by caucuses in each of Iraqis 18 provinces, and the U.S. -led Coalition Provisional Authority would be dissolved. A constitution would be written and democratic elections held by the end of 2005, Tala bani said.
" 'I am very happy and proud. The dream of the Iraqi people has been achieved today," Talabani said. Once sovereignty was transferred, "the state of occupation would end,' he added.
"While Iraq will no longer legally be in a state of occupation, Washington fully expects any new government to request a sizeable U.S.-led force to remain in the country. 'The presence of the forces of the United States and other countries will be discussed by the transitional government,' Talabani said. 'If we need them to stay, we will ask them to stay. If we don't, we will respectfully ask them to leave.'
"In Washington, President Bush issued a statement welcoming the new timetable.
"Adnan Pachachi, another member of the Governing Council, said Washington had answered Iraqi aspirations for self-rule. 'I think they have responded to our insistent desire that we should rule ourselves and we should have an elected government, and I'm very glad to see that our point of view and their point of view have coincided,' he told a news conference."
After a serious hurricane two decades ago, my island town had National Guard troops in Jeeps with weapons to keep order and prevent looting. There were checkpoints on roads and a dusk-to-dawn curfew. The would mass each late afternoon at the police station in view of where I lived. A friend called to check on me and after describing the massing to him, he commented that it sounded like I was living in a 1950's invasion-of-the-earth science fiction movie.
Like other islanders, I welcomed them at first and have no criticism of them. But, after several days of checkpoints and curfews, I became tired of it all. I wanted to drive down the streets I normally drove down without stopping for a stranger with a gun to show an I.D. Being a jogger and a night owl, I defied the curfew one evening to take my normal run on the beach. Halfway through it, a military helicopter checked me out. Then I saw a squad of guardsmen walking abreast towards me in the distance. I turned around and ran to get home.
A Jeep of guardsmen was dispensed after me. I will say that they were courteous once they were able to stop me -- the only person out after curfew. They told me to get inside my house or I would be arrested. I did so.
My point is this. While we may welcome troops for our safety, ultimately no one likes to be told what to do by gun-toting strangers. It's a basic, animal, territorial thing. 11.16.03
Copyright 2003 by Charles Pugsley Fincher