Back here, we started in on the unseemly satisfaction that Canada's Lowest Common Denominatrix (and right-wing nutbar) Kate McMillan gets from yammering on tediously about how things are going so swimmingly in Iraq because the Coalition forces are turning over control of the provinces of Iraq one by one back to the Iraqis. (And only in Kate's fevered imagination could the idea of slowly and carefully giving people back their own country piece by piece be considered a sign of stupendous progress, but let's not go down that road. We don't need to.)
And so, without further ado, let's examine closely the actual victories here, sort of like what Steve Janke does when he gets into junior investigative journalist mode, the major difference being that we here at CC HQ actually end up publishing stuff that isn't meaningless, boring shit.
In the beginning, there was the stirring, heart-wrenching victory of Muthanna:
For the first time since the war began, Iraqi forces took over security in a province. The Coalition has high hopes for the handover’s success.
Updated: 2:41 p.m. ET July 13, 2006
On Thursday, the southern Iraqi province of Muthanna celebrated the handover of security responsibilities from coalition forces to Iraqi troops in a soccer stadium outside the provincial capital of Samawah.
Whoo hoo! Yowzah! High five, slap my hand, dammit! Whoops, hang on a second, what's this? (all subsequent emphasis added)
The first transition of its kind in the country—Coalition troops will remain in Muthanna, but only in an advisory role
Apparently, that "handing over" thing doesn't actually involve Coalition troops actually ... what's the word I'm looking for here ... oh, right -- "leaving." Kind of a bummer, that. Takes a bit of the lustre off the celebrations, don't you think? But let's not be cruel; surely, we should appreciate this for the spectacular miliary victory that this is and ... and ... uh oh ...
Australian and British forces have handed over security for the relatively peaceful southern province of al-Muthanna to Iraqi forces, in the first such transfer of an entire province.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't quite the see the excitement in handing over a province that was "relatively peaceful" to begin with, if you catch my drift. But, what the heck, at least it's peaceful, and successful, and well-run, and ... oh, shit:
... as many Iraqis are fond of saying, shwey-shwey—little by little. Coalition-led water treatment projects and road and bridge projects in the province have proved successful, but even putting on the ceremony in Samawah seemed to present some real challenges. When Maliki arrived shortly after 9 a.m., a small crowd on the track began to push and shove as he made his way to his seat in a tent to the side of the track. The Iraqi military stepped in quickly to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. Test one: passed.
Moving the increasingly nosy bystanders to clear a corridor on the grass behind the speakers' podium, however, proved a bit too difficult to achieve in one go. Test two: failed. And then there was the PA system. Having already proved the unreliability of Muthanna's power supply by cutting out during several earlier speeches, the creaky audio system at times reduced Maliki's voice to a feint croak reminiscent of Yoda. "How are they going to run the [province's] infrastructure if they can't get the mics to work?" a Coalition soldier asked me as Maliki mumbled away. To the P.M.'s credit, he persevered and kept on speaking despite the fact that few in the crowd could hear a word he was saying.
And about those Coalition troops, well ...
The international troops have said they would maintain a presence nearby and be prepared to help the Iraqis if needed.
That fits in with the overall strategy so far: American and international forces hand over security control for specific regions and redeploy to larger bases - where they can act in a support or reserve role. A final future stage would involve the drawdown of troops from those bases.
So, to recap, what we here is the ceremonial handover of a province that was already doing fairly well (except for the crappy infrastructure that would allow for a reasonable standard of living), the actual handover meaning that international troops would simply walk down the road a bit and wait for the shit to hit the fan, at which point they'd simply wander back in to help out. Yes, I can see how, in Kate's world, this would constitute success. And we've only covered the first province. It just gets better from here.
Up next: You can't spell "Dhi Qar" without "dhiq".