I understand why so many (namely President Obama) are careful not to call this a coup. But whatever we call it, we must acknowledge the basic facts: A president elected in unprecedented free and fair elections was overthrown by an ever-powerful military that took its cues from an unprecedented mobilization of millions of Egyptians challenging his rule. Morsi failed at nearly everything the Egyptian people had hoped and entrusted him to do, chief among them, uniting a divided Egypt. But Egypt's military has failed for far longer, with a lot more blood on their hands. And no one is more ruthless in suppressing the rights of others in Egypt than the American-made military.
Throughout this derailment of Egypt's transition, the U.S. government has managed to appear both disengaged from the brewing crisis and curiously deferential to Morsi's democratic legitimacy, conferred on him in a wafer thin run-off victory against a representative of the discredited Mubarak regime.
Those who don't pay much attention to Egypt would be forgiven for thinking that the images dominating their television sets these days are simply a replay of the popular revolution that overthrew President Mubarak two and a half years ago. They are not. What we are watching today is an attempt by a majority of normal Egyptians to reclaim a revolution that has stalled. They are out on the street in order to reset the conditions for success, and to place the country on a more promising and prosperous path. Make no mistake, these are messy, noisy, uncertain and unpredictable days for Egypt.