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Old 03-14-2008, 06:55 PM   #1
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the surge goes flaccid

Petraeus: Iraqi Leaders Not Making 'Sufficient Progress'

By Cameron W. Barr
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, March 14, 2008; A10

BAGHDAD, March 13 -- Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday.

Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that "no one" in the U.S. and Iraqi governments "feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation," or in the provision of basic public services.

The general's comments appeared to be his sternest to date on Iraqis' failure to achieve political reconciliation. In February, following the passage of laws on the budget, provincial elections and an amnesty for certain detainees, Petraeus was more encouraging. "The passage of the three laws today showed that the Iraqi leaders are now taking advantage of the opportunity that coalition and Iraqi troopers fought so hard to provide," he said at the time.

Petraeus came back to Iraq a year ago to implement a counterinsurgency strategy, backed up by a temporary increase of about 30,000 U.S. troops, intended to reduce violence so Iraqi leaders could pass laws and take other measures to ease the sectarian and political differences that threaten to break the country apart.

The Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has won passage of some legislation that aids the cause of reconciliation, drawing praise from President Bush and his supporters. But the Iraqi government also has deferred action on some of its most important legislative goals, including laws governing the exploitation of Iraq's oil resources, that the Bush administration had identified as necessary benchmarks of progress toward reconciliation.

Many Iraqi parliament members and other officials acknowledge that the country's political system is often paralyzed by sectarian divisions, but they also say that American expectations are driven by considerations in Washington and do not reflect the complexity of Iraq's problems.

In what appeared to be a foreshadowing of his congressional testimony, which his aides said he would not discuss explicitly, Petraeus insisted that Iraqi leaders still have an opportunity to act. "We're going to fight like the dickens" to maintain the gains in security and "where we can to try and build on it," he said.

While violence has declined dramatically since late 2006, when thousands of Iraqis were being killed each month, U.S. military data show that attacks on U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians have leveled off or risen slightly in the early part of 2008. "I don't see an enormous uptick projected right now," Petraeus said, speaking in his windowless office in the U.S. Embassy, which is housed in Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace. "What you have seen is some sensational attacks, there's no question about that."

Petraeus said several factors may account for the recent violence, including increased U.S. and Iraqi operations against insurgents in the northern city of Mosul -- which has lately become one of Iraq's most dangerous -- and insurgent efforts to reestablish some of their havens in Baghdad. And Petraeus said U.S. commanders could not discount the possibility that insurgents "know the April testimony is coming up."

The additional forces sent to Iraq last year have begun to depart and will be gone by midsummer, leaving in place a baseline U.S. presence of about 130,000 troops. Petraeus said it would increasingly fall to Iraqi security forces and neighborhood patrols funded by the United States to help keep violence down.

Petraeus also said the United States would temporarily freeze further reductions in its troop presence to allow for a "period of consolidation and evaluation after reducing our ground combat forces by over a quarter." He said he would discuss the length and timing of what the military terms an "operational pause" during his testimony.

Petraeus credited both the mainly Sunni neighborhood patrols known as the Awakening and a cease-fire called by Shiite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr with helping to bring down violence. The Awakening fighters include former insurgents who say they have turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq, a largely homegrown Sunni group that Petraeus said is in communication with al-Qaeda leaders abroad. The United States is now paying 88,000 members of the Awakening $300 a month to take part in the neighborhood patrols.

Sadr issued his cease-fire in August 2007 and renewed it last month in an attempt to increase his control over his Mahdi Army militia and expel renegade fighters. U.S. military commanders who once saw Sadr and his forces as enemies now speak deferentially of the cleric, who has maintained his insistence that the U.S. occupation must end.

In the interview, Petraeus conceded that some elements of both the Awakening movement and the Mahdi Army may be standing down in order to prepare for the day when the U.S. presence is diminished. "Some of them may be keeping their powder dry," Petraeus said of Mahdi Army members. "Obviously you would expect some of that to happen.

"The issue is, again," he continued, "how to sort of prolong what has been achieved, in just a host of different neighborhoods, villages, towns and cities, so that the Iraqi structures can continue to gather strength."


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Old 03-14-2008, 07:12 PM   #2
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no one cares

the great decider said he would listen to what the commander in the field told him

well, when he didn't like what the guy in charge of the Afghan and Iraq wars told him

the guy had to go

Blackwater shoots up and kills 24 Iraqi civilians and will see no consequences

no one cares

the Democratic Governor of N Y resigned for having S E X

Geraldine Ferraro said Obama is black

Rev. Wright said America has a bad record on RACE

George Bush sang a funny song for reporters

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Old 03-14-2008, 07:14 PM   #3
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This has been obvious for a while.

But I have said here before that the public is tired of Iraq and most don't care anymore one way or another. So of course you can slip anything under the radar.
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:29 PM   #4
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I thought this thread was going to be about Suge Knight's erectile problems.
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:10 AM   #5
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Petreaus is obviously a liar!
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:46 AM   #6
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Originally posted by VintagePunk
I thought this thread was going to be about Suge Knight's erectile problems.
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:09 PM   #7
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crys US nears 4,000 dead in Iraq

By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 51 minutes ago

Sometime soon, the U.S. military will suffer the 4,000th death of the war in Iraq.

When the 1,000th American died in September 2004, the insurgency was just gaining steam. The 2,000th death came as Iraq held its first elections in decades, in October 2005. The U.S. announced its 3,000th loss on the last day of 2006, at the end of a year rocked by sectarian violence.

The 4,000th death will come with the war further out of the public eye, and replaced by other topics on the front burner of the U.S. presidential campaigns.

Analysts say the 4,000 dead, while an arbitrary marker, could inject the war debate back into the campaign season, particularly with the war's fifth anniversary on Thursday. Or, with overall violence lower in Iraq, the milestone could pass with far less public discussion than in past years.

Last year was the deadliest for American troops in Iraq, with 901 troops killed. As of Sunday, at least 3,988 Americans have died in Iraq.

James Carafano, a military analyst with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said that the decline in violence since 30,000 troops were sent into Iraq last summer has been more important in the public's eye.

"Americans are not casualty averse. They are failure averse," Carafano said. "They were unhappy with the lack of progress and spiraling violence. That is why you have seen public support rebound after it was clear the surge was working."

The number killed in Iraq is far less than in other modern American wars. In Vietnam, the U.S. lost on average about 4,850 troops a year from 1963-75. In the Korean war, from 1950-53, the U.S. lost about 12,300 soldiers a year.

A 2006 Duke University study found that it was 100 times as likely that an American knew one of the 292,000 Americans killed in World War II than someone today would know a service member slain in Iraq.

Soldiers and analysts alike say the impact of the deaths in Iraq has been largely lost on many Americans who have no personal connection to the war.

"It's still a war that hasn't involved a draft or an increase in taxes," said Jon Alterman, who heads the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "This is a war that most Americans continue to feel they don't have to make sacrifices for."

Alterman said that while the Iraq war has not played as big of a role in the campaigns as once expected, the confluence of 4,000 slain troops, the fifth anniversary and the crucial Pennsylvania Democratic primary could push the war back to the forefront.

"It may be that stacking three things together refocuses the debate," he said. "Or it may be that people are simply tired of the war, tired of talking about it and are wanting to think of something else."

Carafano said that the public's seeming indifference to casualty figures is the rule — not the exception — for most wars America has been in.

"In war and everything else Americans get energized when they are touched in a personal way. In most wars, not just Iraq, that does not happen," he said.

Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey said during a recent speech at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York that the situation for U.S. soldiers in Iraq is "infinitely better" now that during 2006, when Americans were losing the equivalent of a battalion — about 600 to 1,000 soldiers — a month to deaths and injuries.

But McCaffrey said the U.S. military is being drained of its energy and morale because of the slow pace of training that will allow more Iraqi soldiers to take over the fight. American soldiers, he said, are "becoming increasingly unsure about the position they've been placed in."

What that position is will largely be determined by who wins the presidency in November.

"The military is very conscious of the long-term costs of the war," Alterman said. "But we have a civilian-led military and it is for the civilians to decide when we fight and how we fight. As much as the military is conscious of the costs of continuing to fight, they are also aware it isn't their decision whether to stop or not."
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:13 PM   #8
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[Q]A 2006 Duke University study found that it was 100 times as likely that an American knew one of the 292,000 Americans killed in World War II than someone today would know a service member slain in Iraq.[/Q]

Well, I have a dead paritioner and a dead student. Nobody I served with has been killed.

I wonder how many in our little forum know someone who died.
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:34 PM   #9
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I know 2.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:17 PM   #10
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I don't know any killed, but I know several who have been there, or are there now, or will be soon. Many of them are my classmates.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:34 PM   #11
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2 former students, a neighbor's son and a colleague's stepdaughter.
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μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:38 PM   #12
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
I wonder how many in our little forum know someone who died.

i sort of played intramural water polo in college during the few months before swimming season began. we'd have a big initiation part the "first friday" in september after classes had started, and it was tradition for seniors to take freshmen around a circle of upperclassmen and play the "name game" -- either the freshman knew the upperclassman's name, or you made that freshman drink some of his beer. and there were a whole lot of names. and you then looked after that freshman for the rest of the evening.

the freshman i looked after that night went on to become captain of the swim team his senior year.

he was killed december 9, 2006 in al-Anbar.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:44 PM   #13
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oh eff ... i tried to edit it but it doesn't seem to have taken.

can a mod do something about that?

this is a very, very important topic ... and, yet, no one is replying.

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Old 03-17-2008, 11:23 AM   #14
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Iraq invasion was "successful endeavor": Cheney

By Tabassum Zakaria
5 minutes ago

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday declared the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq a "successful endeavor" in a visit to Iraq that was overshadowed by a suicide bombing that killed at least 25 people.

"If you look back on those five years it has been a difficult, challenging but nonetheless successful endeavor ... and it has been well worth the effort," Cheney told a news conference in Baghdad after meeting Iraqi leaders.

The Iraq war is a major issue in the U.S. presidential campaign. As it enters it sixth year, the war has cost the U.S. economy $500 billion and seen nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis killed.

Shortly after Cheney spoke, a woman wearing a suicide vest blew herself up in a cafe in the southern holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala, killing 25 people and wounding 50, police and health officials said. Bombs in Baghdad killed four and wounded 13.

Cheney, an architect of the invasion, arrived as Republican presidential candidate John McCain was meeting Iraqi leaders as part of a Senate Armed Services Committee fact-finding mission.

"I was last in Baghdad 10 months ago and I sense that, as a result of the progress that has been made since then, phenomenal changes in terms of the overall situation," Cheney said after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Cheney said there had been a "remarkable turnaround" in security after 30,000 extra troops were sent to Iraq last year to help reduce sectarian violence that threatened civil war.

Despite the improved security, however, some 4 million Iraqis are still displaced, and the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a report on Monday that millions were still deprived of clean water and medical care.

Like McCain, Cheney is in Iraq as part of a wider tour to the Middle East. Cheney will also visit Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories, Turkey and Oman on a nine-day tour.

Both men have been staunch supporters of the U.S. troop build-up that Washington says helped drag Iraq back from the brink of all-out sectarian civil war between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Muslims who were dominant under Saddam.

"The surge is working," McCain, referring to the troop build-up, told CNN in an interview in Baghdad.

(Writing by Paul Tait and Ross Colvin, additional reporting by Sami al-Jumaili in Kerbala; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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Old 03-17-2008, 11:46 AM   #15
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That prick Cheney should not have anything to do with any other country ever again as long as he lives. At the very least he should be barred from visiting them.

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