Paul Bremer left behind "grave security threats, a sputtering economy and an appointed government with little popular support," concludes the Washington Post's ( front page assessment of Monday's transfer of power in Iraq. The New York Times begins its coverage ( with the statement that "Iraq was officially made sovereign Monday, but how sovereign is still in dispute." The Los Angeles Times ( it "an inauguration on the run." Franklin leaves his diatribe in post #1023By contrast, the Boston Globe's Anne Barnard ( plays it straight, and gets to the inauguration speech of Prime Minister Allawi in paragraph three, a subject the Washington Post ( pushed into paragraph six and the New York Times relegated to paragraph 10. Thus the bigs work to minimize the accomplishment in Baghdad, and to begin gnawing away at the credibility of the new government in Iraq.Does American media want the interim government to succeed or to fail? Reporters and editors would clamor on and on about their interest only in the objective reporting of the events, but why does the Post, for example, find it necessary to refer to Allawi as "a prime minister who had been a CIA-supported opponent of Hussein," a description sure to mirror those used by extremist opponents of the transition to democracy.Every article and commentary on the new government will either add to its legitimacy or detract from it. It is impossible to conclude that the American press want a successful transition. Like so many Franklins & Michael Moores, they are in the business of delivering the worst possible assessments of all events, the better to usher in a new round of chaos and instability. The "uprising" in April and the urgent warnings relayed of a "Sunni-Shia" coalition to challenge the occupation was so much gas, and now that Sadr is marginalized, the U.N. on board, and Bremer gone, Blowback & the media chorus has to find a new song of despair to sing. Iraq isn't Vietnam, but much of the American press in Baghdad sure wishes it was.For a treatment of Monday's events equal to their importance, read Fouad Ajami's essay ( from As for the future, Victor Davis Hanson has it right ( "The key, of course, will be for the United States to stay engaged as it did in Korea and the Balkans -- and not flee as it did in Vietnam circa 1974-5." The November election will be a referendum on American resolve. Kerry represents the cut-and-run ethic his entire career has embodied. Bush means staying the course. An elite media that is nearly unanimous in its distaste for Bush will do whatever it can to erode American staying power the better to erode support for Bush. Perhaps after November's vote, the editorial rooms of America might find it possible to root for democracy and freedom in the middle east. Don't look for that here though.