For his part, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., looked none too happy as he stood before cameras Monday warning about security on the ground. For months now, Americans have been hearing Kerry say that he voted for the war but feels betrayed because Bush has been so inept in the Persian Gulf.
This week, the good guys pulled off a coup -- in devising a handover that robbed terrorists of the pretext of murdering people to prevent the big change. The bad guys, who kill civilians randomly to stop self-governance, were unable to stop this move to push Iraq toward representative democracy -- and Kerry's all long-faced.
The senator should take lessons from Michael Nacht, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Nacht clearly approved of the handover and how it was done. "It takes the American face off the Iraqi mess," he said, and that should boost Iraqi popular support for the new government.
Kerry's not the only Bush critic who couldn't look pleased. Former terrorism czar Richard Clarke told "Good Morning America,'' "If you went back a year ago and asked the White House or the people in the U.S. headquarters in Iraq what would today look like, they would have painted a very different picture. They would have said this would have been a large public ceremony. Instead, it looks like Jerry Bremer is sort of skulking out in the middle of the night -- the secret ceremony -- because the security situation is so bad that we can't even guarantee the security of a handover.''
Such is the state of discourse on the war with Iraq: There is no victory that cannot be painted as a defeat.
And this worries al-Bander, who desperately wants to see his homeland thrive. "I think it's all politics to say this is a failure of George W. Bush," said al-Bander. "Give it a chance."
"They gave the time to Saddam Hussein," said al-Bander. (Try two-plus decades, including 11 years during which Hussein violated a peace agreement with the United Nations and shot at U.S. and British planes daily.) "Let's give this government a chance."