American Proscenium

The League of Frightened Gentlemen: U.S. Occupation and Iraqi “Sovereignty”

Before the surprise early transfer of power to a “sovereign” Iraqi government on June 28, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told the House Armed Services Committee that the interim government was “prepared to step up to its responsibilities.”  He emphasized that the White House plan would shift the burden of rebuilding Iraq and fighting insurgents to the interim administration, setting up its own replacement by an elected government in January 2005.  Pressed by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), however, Wolfowitz admitted that “it’s entirely possible” that U.S. forces could be in Iraq for years to come, a possibility that seemed to be supported by the testimony of Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Pace told the panel that “we should expect more violence, not less” in the immediate future.  Indeed, even as the panel met, insurgents were stepping up attacks against U.S. forces and their allies across Iraq, while some media reports described anti-occupation hotbed Fallujah as Iraq’s de facto second capital, a “green zone” for insurgents, according to one AP report.

Meanwhile, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was momentarily eclipsed in media stories by Jordanian-born Islamic radical Musab al-Zarqawi, whose jihadist group claimed responsibility for the gruesome beheadings of American Nicholas Berg and South...

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