Bush Admin Afraid of Insurgency
That is the only way to read their decision to hand over sovereignty two days early. They did not even have live video -- much less a spectacle -- to show on CNN this morning. The only reason to turn what should have been a grand day for the Iraqis (in theory, they were getting their country back today. Yes, the sovereignty was pretty much a joke in practice, but in theory, the hand over was supposed to be truly significant) into an almost secret event was that the Bush Administration as afraid of what was going to happen on June 30th.
That is how bad the situation in Iraq actually is -- their is no event or person that the insurgents cannot completely destroy or derail.
Like I said this morning; like thieves in the night.
Update 16:00: From Ezra over at Pandagon:
The political calculus here was a simple one. The June 30th transfer would symbolize success; make it a ceremonial event fitting of a historic occasion and the political rewards would be enormous. At the very least there'd be a significant uptick in support for the war and satisfaction with the outcome; sham or not, a milestone would have been reached. The downside of this plan was its importance, were insurgents to substantially interrupt or wreck the proceedings, it'd be further evidence of our weakness and exponentially more damaging due to the event's significance.
But even I didn't expect this. Not only did the Bush Administration sacrifice the political benefit of the transfer, they did themselves harm. Pushing it up two days and conducting it in a tiny room with few watching leaves the media with no relevant spin save "they were afraid of insurgent attacks". Stunningly, they essentially admitted that they can't protect the country and they've no control over the events.
The next few days will be spent on damage control with the Administration's political arm hoping that this'll fade from memory and Americans will begin ignoring Iraq as Bush begins washing his hands of responsibility for the attacks. . .
Read it all here.
Update 17:00: My guess is that the timing is right for them to hastily train some sort of Iraqi national army so the Administration can begin a limited pullback of American troops by the end of September. By the end of October, Bush/Cheney '04 ads are going to emphasize the pullout and the American victory in Iraq. The country will probably be in a complete shambles by then but hey, fuck it, we won and the boys are coming home.