Well, that's supposedly it. Calamity Paul Bremer handed over Iraq two days early and was out of the country the same night. If anyone thinks this is anything else than a response to some really ugly intelligence warning about (part-)independence day, they must be astonishingly naive. As Mountbatten's chief of staff put it about the decision to bring Indian independence forward by a year, "in the spring of 1947 India was a ship on fire with ammunition in the hold." Well, the trick worked in so far as Bremer's chopper to the airport and C-130 out of theatre got away. For the rest, we shall see. Allawi's official residence, I see, is an old-regime guest house next to Saddam's palace. He has to be a guest because, although the CPA has "ceased to exist" the Yanks still need the whole thing for office space. You might have thought that, now all their administrative or executive functions are naturally to be given back to the Iraqis, they wouldn't need so much office space. Obviously there's something there I am too stupid to get. Bremer has managed to get through the appointment of the new intelligence chief and national security adviser on five year terms, just in case Allawi loses the election. And they've already picked the election commission too.
A tiresome fake, in short, rather like the note handed to Bush at the NATO summit informing him of the ceremony and oh-so-casually scribbled over "let freedom reign". Clearly a cheap PR stunt, as it was spelt correctly. Meanwhile, the real news was that a US soldier, Specialist Keith Maupin, was killed after being taken hostage. A US Marine is also currently captive. And a British soldier, Gordon Gobbie, a 19 year old private from Glasgow in the Royal Highland Fusiliers, was blown to bits. Naturally he wasn't there, as Iraq is now free and sovereign, nor was he really killed, as it is a country at peace.