Happy Independence Day! For some of us, maybe it came a little early. For others, just a little late. No matter, Iraqi forces assumed formal control of Baghdad and other cities today after American troops handed over security in urban areas in a defining step toward ending the U.S. combat role in the country. There were fireworks, though I wonder how one cold easily distinguish celebratory explosions from those with a more sinister intent.
So it's independence day in Iraq. Hooray for them. They have certainly paid their revolutionary dues over the past few years, so why not cut loose now that the "liberators" are in full retreat? Or are they? The United States is currently working on a timeline that will have all combat troops out of Iraq by the end of August 2010, and all American forces out of the country by December 31, 2011. That gives Iraqi security forces about a year to get things in hand before we head home for real.
For many Iraqis, that moment can't happen soon enough. "All of us are happy — Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds on this day," Waleed al-Bahadili said as he celebrated at the park. "The Americans harmed and insulted us too much." I suppose we might have felt the same way if France had stuck around after our Revolutionary War to help us out with our constitution and keeping the peace. My guess is that we would have felt harmed and insulted too. But I guess that's what happens when democracy begins to flower. You've got to expect a little fertilizer with your fireworks.