There's a lot of hype about Iraq's new "government."
In a speech to the National Restaurant Association in Chicago, George Bush called the new government a "turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror."
He called the government "something new" – a constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East.
One thing it probably won't lead to is an end to the occupation. In speeches both George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to give a timeline for withdrawal of their armies from Iraq, meaning the more than 150,000 foreign troops in Iraq will probably not be coming home any time soon.
Sure, the politicians are making their usual noises. At a press conference alongside Blair in Baghdad, Iraq's new Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki spoke of an agreement to turn security in almost every Iraqi city over to his government by the end of the year.
"There is already an agreement, and a plan has been submitted to hand over security issues in every Iraqi city," he told reporters, saying the process will be started in June with the handover of the southern provinces of Samawa and Amara.
By the end of the year, Maliki said, Iraqi forces could be in control of every province except Baghdad and Anbar in the western desert.
But Maliki admitted that timeline is hardly guaranteed.
"It depends on the ability of the Iraqi forces," he said. "We should first run a test by turning over some cities to make sure the military has enough training before we turn the whole security issue over to the Iraqi military and make sure they can handle it."
Many Iraqis voted for Maliki's slate of religious Shi'ite parties because they campaigned on the platform of improving security and ending the occupation by peaceful, democratic means.
Fadil e-Sharra, spokesman for the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has millions of followers with dozens of seats in the new parliament, explained the cleric only supported Maliki as a means of winning more sovereignty.
"The Iraqi people should protect themselves by themselves," he said. "We are with the Iraqi military and Iraqi police if they are run by Iraqis, not by anyone else. We want an Iraqi army that defends the people of Iraq and not the chairs of those in power or the foreign occupation."
Right now, there is no Iraqi army in any national sense of the word. Instead, there are Iraqis who work for the American military – the commander of the Iraqi military is the commander of the U.S. military in Iraq. Iraqi military officers are not allowed to move their soldiers from one part of Baghdad to another without specific permission from their American bosses.
Bush and his defenders say this is necessary to keep all armed forces in Iraq on the same wavelength and that it's the only way to keep up the fight against "insurgency" and "terrorism."
But terrorism continues in Iraq unabated.
At least 11 Iraqi people were killed in shootings and bomb attacks Monday. One of the victims was the director-general of the Youth and Sports Ministry, who was shot dead on his way to work in southern Baghdad. The spokesman for Sadr says there's no reason for the U.S. military to remain in Iraq.
"I don't expect that anything will happen more than happened today or yesterday if the Americans leave," he said. "But I think if the Iraqis handle the security it will be more efficient and it will be more positive for the Iraqi people. The security will be better."
The new Iraqi prime minister has still not announced who will take over the Defense and Interior Ministries. Until he does, any talk of handing over power would seem to be premature.
Pacifica radio network reporter Aaron Glantz is author of the new book "How America Lost Iraq" (Tarcher/Penguin). More information at www.aaronglantz.com. Additional reporting by Salam Talib.