Contrary to president Bush's May 24 speech to the Army War College, the United States will not "transfer full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens" on June 30. It appears that the "sovereign Iraqi government" the Bush administration claims will assume power on that date will lack many of the attributes generally associated with a sovereign state. For example, the U.S., not the Iraqi government, will continue to control Iraq's security, including Iraqi police and military personnel.
This interim Iraqi authority will not have the power to enact new legislation or overturn laws imposed during the U.S. occupation. In addition, given the chaos engulfing the country and the widespread non-cooperation with U.S. occupation forces, there are questions as to how much governing power the U.S. would be able to transfer anyway. Furthermore, there is so much ill will toward the U.S. at this point that the legitimacy of virtually any Iraqi-led government that emerges will - rightly or wrongly - be questioned.
Bush boasted of the accomplishments of the Iraqi Governing Council, including its approval of "a new law that opens the country to foreign investment for the first time in decades." This ignores the fact that the council was appointed by U.S. occupation authorities and that the Iraqi people never had a say in its key decisions, such as selling off public assets to American multinational corporations with close ties to the Bush administration. His claim that U.S. forces are in Iraq to defeat "terrorism at the heart of its power" ignores the fact that terrorism by extremist groups inside Iraq was virtually non-existent until after the United States invaded and occupied the country.
Perhaps most misleading is President Bush's assertion that the Iraqi resistance - consisting of more than a dozen separate groups with diverse tactics and ideologies - are all simply "terrorists," "foreign fighters" and "Saddam loyalists."
According to President Bush, "They commit dramatic acts of murder to shock, frighten and demoralize civilized nations, hoping we will retreat from the world and give them free rein. They seek weapons of mass destruction to impose their will through blackmail and catastrophic attacks."
This is largely an effort to portray the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq not as an act of aggression - as most of the international community sees it - but as an act of self-defence. By extension, it seeks to depict those who oppose the ongoing U.S. occupation as supporters of totalitarianism and violence.
In interviews with the international media and social scientists, however, Iraqi resistance fighters have spoken of no such grandiose designs. Their overriding concern is simply to rid their country of a foreign occupation.
Unfortunately, despite polls showing that a majority of Americans oppose U.S. policy in Iraq, the Democratic party has chosen as its presidential nominee a supporter of the U.S. invasion and occupation. Senator John Kerry, like President Bush, has made a series of misleading statements falsely claiming that Iraq possessed "weapons of mass destruction" and, like President Bush, insists that a continued U.S. occupation is necessary to bring peace and security to the region. As a result, outside of the insurgent Nader campaign, the election cycle will not likely provide the forum to challenge the lies and misleading statements coming from the White House.