Sovereignty cannot be given... only claimed

By its defined nature, sovereignty cannot be given, only claimed. For anyone to say or think that come July 1, Iraq will have sovereignty is just as absurd as accepting the earth to be flat; or to believe that Bush is the reincarnation of Buddha, Christ and Mohammed, all into one.

America , as occupier and ruler of Iraq , may turn over whatever responsibilities it wishes in order to achieve its own ends… but not sovereignty. Not while the ultimate authority is kept under the stars and stripes… until a desired outcome is achieved, one that meets the criteria of the Bush Administration and its radical foreign policy.

And what is the desired outcome? Democracy, we are told by the framers of the invasion, who now hold the reins. Effective control of Iraq ’s oil reserves, if we are to believe most Iraqis, and much of the watchful world who view Americans with suspicion as addicted oil-gluttons.

If not sovereignty, what then? Well… a change, with limited say and no veto power, but a change nonetheless. The new government will be seen by most Iraqis as puppet figures working to meet the needs of the Americans, but at least there will be Iraqis at the soft helm of government, likely to be partial to Iraqi values and with a desire to improve present living standards. And, given that they have no other option, Iraqis will take whatever is offered to them. Spoils stay with the victors, they always do.

Does optimism set the stage for this “transfer of power”? Unfortunately, such is not the case with Iraqis or their brethren throughout the Middle East . Perhaps hope… but not optimism. My sentiments echo theirs with my optimism at very low ebb.

How can there be optimism, one asks, about this change, inaccurately termed as “transfer of power,” when the United States has not made its position clear? … When the people in the Arab and Muslim worlds have no trust in America ?

If the American military is to stay in Iraq until the sweets chants of democracy are heard from every minaret, then we might as well start thinking of a permanent presence there. But democracy cannot be promoted through war; it needs to be promoted from the outside… but created from within. America , in spite of being a nation of immigrants and diversity, does not seem to grasp what other cultures, other peoples, are all about.

So, the countdown is just four days now… but it might as well be a lifetime, or an eternity. June 30 may be a politically expedient date with views to the US November election, but it will not likely resolve anything else. Not in the way the Bush Administration views a future Iraq , a democracy in the Middle East ; nor in the way Muslim people see the US , a self-serving tyrant.

There are a few dirty secrets that Americans prefer not to talk about. Principal among them is the linkage that exists between Palestine and Iraq . Or between Palestine and any of the Arab nations, even those where their leaders are presumed to be America ’s friends. America ’s politically powerful, regardless of party affiliation, prefer to blindfold themselves on that issue. So, to proclaim goodwill and impartiality becomes nothing but an exercise in hypocrisy… which fools neither friends nor foes. We have already lost the trust of an entire region. Our choice is to shrug our shoulders, and continue in our misguided ways; or try to earn back that trust. To do the latter, our government needs to accept the fact that the root cause of our problems is deeper than terrorism, and directly linked to our foreign policy towards Palestine . That would be a tall order for any administration, and a total impossibility for the Bush White House.

This Sunday, Americans continue clueless in their countdown to the “transfer of power” in Iraq . Someone should be telling Bush that sovereignty is not a first step towards independence and nationhood, but the last.