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Old 12-20-2007, 07:28 PM   #61
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http://giftofireland.com/Siteblog/20...rous-ancestor/

"Genetics promises to teach us more about our ancestors but sometime prosaic genealogy and family history can yield a much more interesting and personalised approach. It turns out that for George Bush he would be better off not knowing who his ancestor was. One of the most reviled figures in Irish history - the traitor Diarmuid McMurragh.


It is perhaps not the best omen for US foreign affairs. Local historians in Wexford have discovered that George Bush is a descendant of Strongbow, the power-hungry warlord who led the Norman invasion of Ireland thus heralding 800 years of mutual misery. With a long line of Scots Irish presidents including Woodrow Wilson, the Irish are normally quick to claim US leaders as their own. But, despite President Bush’s large Ulster Scots vote in the American Bible belt, Ireland had let his family escape the genealogical microscope. "

STING2, this forum's resident apologist for US war crimes in Iraq, has chosen a fitting new name.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:33 PM   #62
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Originally posted by Diemen
So basically, Petraeus has lowered the death rate in Iraq and made things more secure than before the surge. As Murtha said, it's pretty much a no brainer that if you pour more troops into the area that security will most likely increase.

But you consistently ignore the elephant in the room, which is an utter failure of the Iraqi government to... govern. To take the increased security and make some real progress. And without a functioning government the increased security ultimately means little. Which you yourself pointed out with your reference to the NIE stating that restructuring our troops and/or mission would have negative effects on security. If that's true, it's only true because the surge has failed to produce political process.

So we are at impasse. Either we wait around until the Iraqi government gets itself together and actually governs (which at current rates puts us there...oh, I don't know...forever), or we withdraw and the security dissolves (or chaos breaks out as soon as we bring one troop back according to the right). Neither one is an appealing option, but sooner or later you're going to have to face reality.
Well, if it was such a no brainer to Murtha and his friends in congress, there would have been no opposition to the surge. Again, you only have to go back to January of 2007 to find list of democratic Senators, Representives, media, and other individuals including people here stamping their feet that the Surge would be a disaster for this country and would accomplish nothing.

Iraq did not officially have a government until the summer of 2006. Political development is a slow process, but for it to have a chance and for the economy to have a chance, you need to continue to do things to improve security. Abandoning Iraq as Murtha suggested,(withdrawing all US troops within 6 months), or withdrawing all US combat troops by March 31, 2008 as the Democrats wanted to do, would have not only let the violence continue unabated but would have increased it. Political development under the Democratic plan would have been impossible.

I don't know how anyone could argue that because Iraq's government is not functioning like it should, and some major decisions have not been made, that the increased security means little? How could you argue that the thousands of lives that have been saved, insurgents that have given up, Al Quada that have been captured or killed, the increased economic activity, children starting to go to school again, political development at the local level, increased services from the government, the ending of the refugee exodus from the country, the massive decrease in coalition casualties means little?

While political progress has not been made in Baghdad, it has been made in many area's on the local level. Another positive impact that will exist after the surge cycle is complete is the increasing numbers of capable Iraqi security forces. Iraq now provides the security for 9 of Iraq's 18 provinces.


US troops are still in Bosnia and Kosovo today because political development in those countries has not reached the point that US troops are no longer needed.

Its interesting that you ask all these questions about Iraq, yet do not ask them about Afghanistan. Why? Both are countries that are still trying to develop a functioning government that serves the entire country, a military and police force that can secure the country independent of foreign troops and foreign aid, plus an economy that is strong enough to significantly lift the standard of living of the people. The reasons for staying or withdrawing in both Iraq and Afghanistan are the same in 2008. But Iraq is actually the more important country to long term US security, when you compare resources, demographics and geographic location.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:41 PM   #63
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Originally posted by financeguy
http://giftofireland.com/Siteblog/20...rous-ancestor/

"Genetics promises to teach us more about our ancestors but sometime prosaic genealogy and family history can yield a much more interesting and personalised approach. It turns out that for George Bush he would be better off not knowing who his ancestor was. One of the most reviled figures in Irish history - the traitor Diarmuid McMurragh.


It is perhaps not the best omen for US foreign affairs. Local historians in Wexford have discovered that George Bush is a descendant of Strongbow, the power-hungry warlord who led the Norman invasion of Ireland thus heralding 800 years of mutual misery. With a long line of Scots Irish presidents including Woodrow Wilson, the Irish are normally quick to claim US leaders as their own. But, despite President Bush’s large Ulster Scots vote in the American Bible belt, Ireland had let his family escape the genealogical microscope. "

STING2, this forum's resident apologist for US war crimes in Iraq, has chosen a fitting new name.
Well, Bulmers decided to name their Cider after Strongbow, so I guess they have a different take on the history. Strongbow is still buried in Christchurch Cathedral, the basement of which is the oldest structure in Dublin today.
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:50 PM   #64
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Originally posted by Strongbow


Well, Bulmers decided to name their Cider after Strongbow, so I guess they have a different take on the history. Strongbow is still buried in Christchurch Cathedral, the basement of which is the oldest structure in Dublin today.
I was joking. The initial Norman invaders often tried to become integrated into Gaelic society, rather than remaining aloof from it, which gave rise to the saying 'more Irish than the Irish themselves'. Contrary to what that article suggested, Strongbow and McMurrough would not really be regarded as hate figures in Irish history, certainly not to the extent of Oliver Cromwell.

Of course, strictly speaking, all Irish people are colonists as anthropologists believe the original 'native' inhabitants probably came from Britain or continental Europe via a landbridge.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:32 PM   #65
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Originally posted by Strongbow

Well, then, discuss how Putin has impacted world events beyond the borders of Russia for the year 2007? Remember, Putin is not the reason that energy prices are up and Russian oil and natural gas companies are raking in the money.
Putin has been the biggest thorn in the side of neocons'/big oils' plans for world domination in 2007. He refused to go along with the UN Security Council's resolutions for Iran, and has shipped nuclear fuel to Iran.

He has strengthened alliances in Central and Eastern Asia to the detriment of the US administraion. This is a region that controls a large portion of world land, GDP, and oil. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and have signed agreements on economic and security cooperation. The Caspian Sea littoral states of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan have increased cooperation over the oil and gas-rich Caspian Sea to the detriment of US big oil.

Putin has withdrawn from old treaties in response to US actions such as the missile defense shield and has developed new ICBMs. The Russian Navy will have a permanent base in Syria. He has tried to lay claim to the Arctic Circle (or a large part of it).

How Petraues had an impact greater than the above is beyond me.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:29 PM   #66
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Originally posted by ntalwar


Putin has been the biggest thorn in the side of neocons'/big oils' plans for world domination in 2007. He refused to go along with the UN Security Council's resolutions for Iran, and has shipped nuclear fuel to Iran.

He has strengthened alliances in Central and Eastern Asia to the detriment of the US administraion. This is a region that controls a large portion of world land, GDP, and oil. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and have signed agreements on economic and security cooperation. The Caspian Sea littoral states of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan have increased cooperation over the oil and gas-rich Caspian Sea to the detriment of US big oil.

Putin has withdrawn from old treaties in response to US actions such as the missile defense shield and has developed new ICBMs. The Russian Navy will have a permanent base in Syria. He has tried to lay claim to the Arctic Circle (or a large part of it).

How Petraues had an impact greater than the above is beyond me.
Many of the things you list above actually have questionable relevance and are not specific to 2007. Again, were talking about who had the most impact on events specifically in 2007. Putin has actually supported security council resolutions against Iran in 2007 and the nuclear reactor deal with Iran occured long before 2007. Again, what has Putin done in 2007 beyond Russia to make him person of the year, that he was not already doing in 2006 or earlier?

As for Petraues, he is involved in a war in a vital region of the world and has implemented a plan in 2007 that has rapidly changed the situation on the ground in that war, which impacts the region, the world, and United States politics.
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:10 PM   #67
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Not many people outside of the US know Petraues. TIME magazine is a worldwide magazine, and therefore should have someone that most people know, like Putin.

Aside from that, I think people, especially the US (left over cold war smugness?) love to derride Russia, but I tell you what, they are still hardcore, the amount of shit that goes down in that country is frightening, and they're plotting. This is a country that is secretive, that sneaks in behind your back and slits your throat. They don't come in with a brass band and the stars and stripes all puffed up, proclaiming greatness. They create a diversion and then the shit goes down.

There are actually quite a few good books on the russian revolution and the fall of communism, and some very frightening books on Putin and his government.

This is a man who has many secrets to keep. He knows whats going on, in fact he runs whats going on with an iron fist. This is not a man who chokes on a pretzel and doesn't know anyhting about the CIA or FBI and the things they do, this is a man who has felt lives fade away from beneath his clenched hands....

That is why he's man of the year.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:09 AM   #68
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Petraues turned it around?


Quote:
120 War Vets Commit Suicide Each Week on Average

By Penny Coleman


Monday 26 November 2007

The military refuses to come clean, insisting the high rates are due to "personal problems," not experience in combat.

Earlier this year, using the clout that only major broadcast networks seem capable of mustering, CBS News contacted the governments of all 50 states requesting their official records of death by suicide going back 12 years. They heard back from 45 of the 50. From the mountains of gathered information, they sifted out the suicides of those Americans who had served in the armed forces. What they discovered is that in 2005 alone - and remember, this is just in 45 states - there were at least 6,256 veteran suicides, 120 every week for a year and an average of 17 every day.

As the widow of a Vietnam vet who killed himself after coming home, and as the author of a book for which I interviewed dozens of other women who had also lost husbands (or sons or fathers) to PTSD and suicide in the aftermath of the war in Vietnam, I am deeply grateful to CBS for undertaking this long overdue investigation. I am also heartbroken that the numbers are so astonishingly high and tentatively optimistic that perhaps now that there are hard numbers to attest to the magnitude of the problem, it will finally be taken seriously. I say tentatively because this is an administration that melts hard numbers on their tongues like communion wafers.

Since these new wars began, and in spite of a continuous flood of alarming reports, the Department of Defense has managed to keep what has clearly become an epidemic of death beneath the radar of public awareness by systematically concealing statistics about soldier suicides. They have done everything from burying them on official casualty lists in a category they call "accidental noncombat deaths" to outright lying to the parents of dead soldiers. And the Department of Veterans Affairs has rubber-stamped their disinformation, continuing to insist that their studies indicate that soldiers are killing themselves, not because of their combat experiences, but because they have "personal problems."

Bush has also expressed the opinion that suicide bombers are motivated by despair, neglect and poverty. The demographic statistics on suicide bombers suggest that this isn't the necessarily the case. Most of the Sept. 11 terrorists came from comfortable middle- to upper-middle-class families and were well-educated. Ironically, despair, neglect and poverty may be far more significant factors in the deaths of American soldiers and veterans who are taking their own lives.

There is a particularly terrible irony in the relationship between suicide bombers and the suicides of American soldiers and veterans. With the possible exception of some few sadists and psychopaths, Americans don't enlist in the military because they want to kill civilians. And they don't sign up with the expectation of killing themselves. How incredibly sad that so many end up dying of remorse for having performed acts that so disturb their sense of moral selfhood that they sentence themselves to death.

There is something so smugly superior in the way we talk about suicide bombers and the cultures that produce them. But here is an unsettling thought. In 2005, 6,256 American veterans took their own lives. That same year, there were about 130 documented deaths of suicide bombers in Iraq.* Do the math. That's a ratio of 50-to-1. So who is it that is most effectively creating a culture of suicide and martyrdom? If George Bush is right, that it is despair, neglect and poverty that drive people to such acts, then isn't it worth pointing out that we are doing a far better job?
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:16 AM   #69
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Originally posted by Strongbow
I think he is definitely ahead of Putin on the list for 2007, but this is TIME magazine and they would never put anyone so connected to administration policy on the cover.


you continually make shit up.

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Old 12-21-2007, 10:30 AM   #70
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Originally posted by Strongbow
[B]

You said Baghdad was ethnically cleansed. It is not, not even close. Srebrenica, and multiple towns in the Serb section of Bosnia are examples of that. Baghdad still has multiple ethnic groups within the city, Srebrenica and other cities like it do not. What don't you understand?

the neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed. where once they were mixed, they are not anymore. the city has been walled. this is one of the major reasons for the decrease in violence, and the other is the increased (and unsustainable) troop levels along with the creation of shaky alliances that started in the western provinces. but good tactics can't fix a shit strategy, or no strategy to begin with.

i'm not going to get into a bullshit semantical discussion over what ethnic cleansing actually "means." Baghdad has over 5 million people. the neighborhoods have been cleansed. the only thing that has prevented an all out civil war is the increased presence of American troops.

you still can't get around the fact that the invasion is a total failure by the very goals you set out. we have not secured WMDs from terrorists because those WMDs never existed. we have not stopped Islamist terror and in fact we have increased it's danger and frequency (Bali, Madrid, London) by sending a generation of young muslim men into the arms of Al Qaeda. we have not consturcted a democratic model for the Middle East. Iraq has always been a totalitarian government that sews together a phony country. it is now a permanently unstable, chaotic state where all you can do is celebrate the fact that you might have prevented an all-out genocide. (gosh, so much to be proud of, what a success!)

what's worse is that we've solidified, in the Arab mind, that democracy means anarchy and mass murder, Iran has been emboldened, and the Sunnis and Shiites are much closer to a regional war than they were in 2003.

the only rational response is a prudent withdrawal. it doesn't make sense to continue to pour billions of dollars to prop up this collapsed region. an endless military, economic, and political commitment to this region doesn't make a whit of sense.

unless, of course, you're happily willing to admit that the huge debt we are piling up and our entanglement in a region that hates us, will continue to hate us, and will continue to blow up trains in London, Madrid, and New York, is all worth it to secure the Middle Eastern oil supplies.

and that's fine. just admit that's what it's about, and admit that all this blood and treasure is better than trying to move away from oil dependence and you'd rather have a financially ruinous, morally decrepit, American controlled Middle East empire that will bog down our forces (notwithstanding the deep damage that's already been done) and make us unable to adequately respond to the next actual crisis (and not the fabricated ones).
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:34 AM   #71
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How Petraues had an impact greater than the above is beyond me.


if you want to help McCain's slowly climbing poll numbers, Patraeus is a big help.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:20 PM   #72
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Originally posted by Strongbow


Many of the things you list above actually have questionable relevance and are not specific to 2007. Again, were talking about who had the most impact on events specifically in 2007. Putin has actually supported security council resolutions against Iran in 2007 and the nuclear reactor deal with Iran occured long before 2007. Again, what has Putin done in 2007 beyond Russia to make him person of the year, that he was not already doing in 2006 or earlier?

As for Petraues, he is involved in a war in a vital region of the world and has implemented a plan in 2007 that has rapidly changed the situation on the ground in that war, which impacts the region, the world, and United States politics.
Like the Nobel Peace Prize committee, it's not unusual that Time Magazine names someone Person of the Year although much of what that person has done has happened in years before.
The way how he stayed in power without having to stay in power is certainly some very critical event this year, among others, and it's no big surprise that he got that title.
Like others said, this title is something international, and believe it or not, outside the US only very few give a damn about Petreaus, let alone knowing that this person exists. He is not such a big figure internationally, and for most countries Putin's actions are way more important that Petraeus'.

Putin knows exactly what he does, and when he does it, and as you can see here, he is pretty good in letting his actions speak rather quietly, thus obscuring his impact.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:31 PM   #73
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Originally posted by Diemen
[B] Ethnically cleansed is not the right term to describe Baghdad. However, I dare say that ethnically segregated is, /B]

from late 2006 ...

[q]In Baghdad, a Last Stand Against Ethnic Cleansing
By MARK KUKIS/BAGHDAD

Lt. Sam Cartee doubts the Sunni families barricading themselves in his sector can hold out much longer. Shi'ite militants thought to be from the Mahdi Army have mounted an aggressive campaign since this summer to clear Sunnis from the northern end of Ghazaliya, a formerly posh neighborhood in western Baghdad. The cleansing push has moved steadily southward, gaining ground house by house, day by day. Cartee says Mahdi Army fighters typically give Sunni families they threaten in Ghazaliya just 24 hours to leave their homes, which are then handed to Shi'ite families. Anyone who defies the deadline risks death. Few do, allowing the Mahdi Army to flip up to five houses a day. Many of the Sunni families forced from their homes have now gathered in an enclave in central Ghazaliya under the protection of a local sheik named Hamed Ne'ma Taher al-Obaydy, who has turned his block into an Alamo of sorts. Cartee's unit hopes to stop the onslaught before Hamed's holdout of about 1,200 people falls, but lately hopes on both sides have dimmed. "They're not surrounded yet, but they will be soon," says Cartee, a reedy young officer from West Virginia who speaks with a slight southern accent. Cartee thinks Hamed's flock can last perhaps weeks, not months, before the Mahdi Army overruns them. "They don't have long."

The pace of events in Ghazaliya and other violent neighborhoods in Baghdad these days makes the policy debate on Iraq in Washington seem like a glacial process doomed to produce a strategy immediately rendered outdated. Even now, much of Washington appears to be clinging to the belief that the killing across Iraq is not a civil war, since the violence has unfolded in fluid patterns defying conventional notions of a battlefield divided by opposing forces. But that now is changing. The war is down to territorial street fights in places like Ghazaliya, where Cartee and the men in his platoon see the front lines taking shape.

The fortifications marking battle lines around Hamed's neighborhood are crude. Chunks of chopped-up palm trees rest next to rusting refrigerators, junked generators and bags of rocks. In another life not too long ago, Hamed was a businessman who spent days tending to his various shops. Now Hamed's afternoons go to checking on the Sunni families crowded into the houses around his. Often at night he joins the neighborhood lookouts keeping watch on rooftops, eyeing the newly claimed Mahdi Army territory that sits literally across the street. "The situation is too much to bear," says Hamed, who wraps himself in a long brown robe lined with faux fur as he walks the neighborhood compound. "If the Americans cannot do something to help us, we're going to make our own army."

Cartee and other U.S. officers don't blame Hamed for thinking of forming a militia, even though the prospect presents huge problems for them. Any fighters who come to Hamed's aid are likely to include Sunni militants with some degree of affinity for al-Qaeda in Iraq or the insurgency. Hamed acknowledges as much, and he tells Cartee again and again that he'd hate to end up on the wrong side of the Americans. But time is running out, and few other options remain as long as U.S. forces are unable to quell the sectarian violence overwhelming the streets here.

By the sound of things during the day, the battle for Hamed's neighborhood has already begun. Three mortars fell on the streets around Hamed's house in the hour I spent with him, and he says bullets fly into the neighborhood almost daily. Cartee visits Hamed frequently, always urging him not to take matters into his own hands. U.S. troops try to help Hamed by keeping up patrols in the area and raiding safe houses of the Mahdi Army — which denies any operations in Ghazaliya. But the U.S. raids often come to nothing. Shi'ite militants have a knack for disappearing before U.S. forces can nab them. And the U.S. patrols aren't omnipresent. Much of the time the sheik is on his own.

"We can keep defending ourselves for two or three months like this," says Hamed, who plans to begin forming a militia in mid-January unless the picture changes. "But we've already decided to attack them if they keep attacking us."[/q]
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:36 PM   #74
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What the article does not tell you is that the walled neighborhoods and seperation of ethnicities within the city to the degree that they are today had already happened MONTHS prior to the Surge and there for do not explain the decrease in violence in the city. The Surge did not cause sectarian violence, it reduced it.


let's consult your NIE, then:

[q]The polarization of communities is most evident in Baghdad, where the Shia are a clear majority in more than half of all neighborhoods and Sunni areas have become surrounded by predominately Shia districts. Where population displacements have led to significant sectarian separation, conflict levels have diminished to some extent because warring communities find it more difficult to penetrate communal enclaves.[/q]



and here's a visual!





note that the green denotes the Shia, who are gradually taking over Baghdad by destroying Sunni neighborhoods. Baghdad used to be a 65 percent Sunni majority city. Now it’s 75 percent Shia city.
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Old 12-21-2007, 03:42 PM   #75
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and the other thing to ponder: what's going to happen when the nearly 1 million Sunnis who've fled to Syria in the face of "the surge" return to find a majority Shiite city?

it looks like we have a violent return of hundreds of thousands of Sunnis to Baghdad and a second "Battle for Baghdad" as soon as the US forces are shrunk again after March of 2008.

good times.

and there's this:

[q]Despite drop in violence, Pentagon finds little long-term progress in Iraq
By Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Despite significant security gains in much of Iraq, nothing has changed within Iraq's political leadership to guarantee sustainable peace, a Pentagon report released Tuesday found.

The congressionally mandated quarterly report suggests that the drop in violence won't hold unless Iraq's central government passes key legislation, improves the way it manages its security forces and finds a way to reconcile the country's competing sects. It said none of those steps has been taken.

"Although security gains, local accommodation and progress against the flow of foreign fighters and lethal aid into Iraq have had a substantial effect, more needs to be done to foster national, 'top-down' reconciliation to sustain the gains," the report said.

The Pentagon report is the latest assessment circulating in Washington as officials ponder whether the strategy of increasing U.S. troop strength this year by 30,000 can be called a victory or whether the drop in violence is a lull that will break once the United States returns to last year's troop levels.

Another report this week, by retired Lt. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, said that mid-ranking U.S. military officers have become "the de-facto low-level government of the Iraq state."

"The Iraqis tend to defer to U.S. company and battalion commanders based on their respect for their counterparts' energy, integrity and the assurance of some level of security," McCaffrey wrote after a three-week visit to Iraq.

The Pentagon report documents the steep decline in violence. It said that 600 civilians were killed in November, compared with 3,000 in December 2006. The report also said that al Qaida in Iraq is now on the defensive, weakened by a Sunni Muslim populace that no longer backs it.

But the report also said that the Iraqi government has failed to improve basic services such as water and electricity and hasn't passed legislation outlining how it would distribute oil revenues or hold provincial elections. Most sessions, the parliament struggles to reach a quorum.

Corruption remains a major problem throughout the government. The report cited both the Ministry of Interior, which runs the police force, and the oil industry, Iraq's largest generator of revenue. "Corruption and sectarian behavior continue to be evident in the MoI," the report said. "Corruption at all levels of the oil industry remains a significant problem."

The report also said that despite four years of intense U.S. effort, the Iraqi security forces remain unprepared to operate independently. It said that the ministries of interior and defense are plagued by "deficiencies in logistics, combat support functions and . . . by shortages of officers at all operational and tactical levels."[/q]
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