Monday, April 12, 2004


The following exchange took place between Tim Russert and Viscount Paul Bremer on Meet the Press yesterday:

MR. RUSSERT: June 30: You're going to turn the keys over to the Iraqis. Who do you turn them over to?

AMB. BREMER: Well, that's a good question, and it's an important part of the ongoing crisis we have here now. We've always said that there are two dimensions to dealing with the problems of Iraq. One, of course, is the military dimension, which we're working on right now, but the other is to give a political perspective for the Iraqis to have more and more responsibility. We've been working on that for months. We are now working with the secretary-general of the U.N.'s special representative here, Mr. Brahimi, to figure out the best way to get a representative government in place before the end of June so it has a little practice and then turn over sovereignty to it on June 30. And I'm confident that working with him and with the Iraqi people, we, in fact, will get that. We'll get a representative government in place before June 30.

Ok, Tim, here’s your first lesson in interviewing: the next thing you say should be, “Well, that’s very interesting, but it isn’t what I asked. Who are you going to turn power in Iraq over to?”

Am I hearing this right? We are scheduled to turn over sovereignty in Iraq in a month and a half, and we don’t know who we are going to hand it to?

It absolutely boggles the mind that these guys can sit there and say that with a straight face and not realize that it sounds completely and totally insane.

What are they going to do, hold a raffle, and hand power over to whichever name they pull out of the hat?

When, exactly, are they going to decide? And how? What are they waiting for? To see who hasn't started shooting at us on June 29th?

And what, exactly, do they mean by “sovereignty” and “democracy”?

We say we are going to turn over sovereignty to the Iraqis. But we have no intention of leaving or ceasing occupation.

Well, in that case, how “sovereign” is this supposed Iraqi “sovereignty”? I mean, isn’t it just a sham? What if the new Iraqi Government says, “Now that we have our country back, we want the Americans to leave”? Will we?

The fundamental question is: Will we obey they’re orders, or will they obey ours? Because only the former is actual Iraqi sovereignty. If they are still obeying our orders, the sovereign government is just a figurehead, and not sovereign at all.

And what do they mean by "democracy"?

If we want democracy in Iraq, why don’t we hold an election? That's what I thought was the defining characteristic of a democracy.

"Well, we will have an election once we make sure that somebody we like will be

How can you say that what you want is democracy, but the leaders will be chosen unilaterally by you? That isn't democracy; it's a transparent masquerade.

It is rather obvious that the Bush administration regards both sovereignty and democracy as mere words – political talking points – and not genuine principles or ideals.

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