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#600576 --- 07/07/07 07:43 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: SkySoldier]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
Signs violence is easing in Baghdad By LEE KEATH, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jul 6, 7:00 PM ET



BAGHDAD - Shop owners long afraid of Baghdad's bombings and shootings are keeping their stores open later these days on the main street of Jadidah district, saying they feel safer after weeks of a beefed-up U.S. security crackdown.

It is one sign that many Iraqis sense violence is easing somewhat in Baghdad as U.S. forces fight to put down militants in the capital and areas on the city's doorstep to the north and south.

But Iraqis are not putting much faith in the lull attacks still hit some districts, fear of kidnapping remains widespread, and everyone remembers past periods of calm that ended with new bursts of bloodshed.

Even where residents feel safer, security is a fragile, day-to-day thing.

Mohammed Naim, a Sunni Muslim spare parts store owner, said his neighborhood of Abu Dshir in one of Baghdad's most dangerous areas on its southern reaches has grown calmer. "Even the sectarian killings have gone down," he said Thursday.

Hours after he spoke, a car bomb ripped through a wedding party gathered outside a photographer's shop in Abu Dshir, killing 17 people and wounding 28 others, including the bride and groom getting their pictures taken inside. Torn and charred bodies of women and children were left among pools of blood and burning cars in the mainly Shiite district.

But Baghdadis' sense of lessening violence may come from a decrease of such major vehicle bombs, which wreak scenes of devastation in public areas like markets even though shootings and smaller roadside bomb attacks continue.

Some Iraqis credit it to the U.S. security increase, which began in February and culminated with major new offensives launched in mid-June after the full contingent of additional American troops deployed.

The death toll among civilians does not appear to have immediately fallen since the offensives began. From June 20 to Thursday, 472 civilians died in attacks in Baghdad, a dip of 2 percent from the previous 16-day period, according to a tally collected by the Associated Press from daily reports by Iraqi security and hospital officials.

But civilian deaths from car bombings fell 17 percent to 96 between the two periods and all but nine of those deaths were in a single blast at a Shiite mosque on June 20 suggesting the number of such major attacks has dropped. The number of bodies found dumped in the streets victims of sectarian militias decreased 11 percent to 279.

On Friday a day when a curfew is imposed for several hours around noon Muslim prayers authorities reported the killings of 10 civilians seven of them in a single mortar attack on a home. Police found five bodies dumped in parts of the city. Both numbers are down from the frequent double-digit daily tolls.

Violence has continued outside the capital, particularly in Diyala where the U.S. troops are waging their offensives. Friday evening, a suicide car bomber hit a cafe in the tiny Kurdish village of Ahmed Marif near the Iranian border in Diyala, killing 26 people and wounding 33, said an official in the province's police joint coordination center. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

The Baghdad figures don't give a full picture of the capital's death toll since some casualties are not reported to the police. Interior Ministry figures released earlier this week say civilian deaths in June were down 36 percent from May.

Some say they feel the difference, particularly compared to several months ago when more than 100 people a day were regularly killed.

"The improvement is obvious," said Hani Mowafaq, 40, who owns a shop in eastern Baghdad's mainly Shiite Jadidah district. The streets there used to shut down at 3 p.m. as storeowners rushed to get home before dark. "Now I can stay open until nine and feel secure," he said, crediting increased U.S. and Iraqi patrols.

Hassan Nassar, an art gallery owner, said he was stunned to see how many people were out recently on the central shopping strip of Palestine Street. "If it weren't for the barbed wire and blast walls, it would have looked just like the natural old days," he said.

The U.S. military, which doesn't release civilian casualty figures, is reluctant to claim success yet, wary of raising expectations as it has in the past by taking credit for drops in violence, only to see them end. "It's too early to declare a trend," military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said this week of reported reductions in deaths.

But greater quiet is the goal. The Bush administration is gambling that its "surge" of 28,000 additional troops can impose enough calm on the capital that Iraqis will begin to feel greater faith in their fragile government.

Troops in the capital have been going neighborhood to neighborhood, seeking to seize control. Other U.S. forces are waging parallel offensives to the north, in the city of Baqouba, and to the south, around Salman Pak, to uproot insurgents from areas they use as staging grounds for attacks in Baghdad.

The gains they have made may not hold over the long-term. U.S. commanders say there are not enough Iraqi security forces to ensure insurgents don't return after the Americans pull back. The parallel political track of passing new laws to encourage Sunnis to stop supporting the insurgency and back the government has been held up by wrangling between Iraq's politicians for months.

Iraqis are keenly aware that a failure of political progress could bring the security situation crashing back down.

"Yes, there's a reduction in the attacks, but this isn't a sure sign. The causes of disagreement are still there," said Abdul-Karim Ahmed, a technician at the Dora refinery in south Baghdad, whose extended family like hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled abroad.

On Friday, a bomb severely damaged the main pipeline to the refinery, which is already producing at 50 percent of capacity because of constant sabotage. That means gas shortages and electricity outages for Baghdad residents, to add daily miseries to the fear of violence.

Some districts remain intensely dangerous, particularly those where Sunnis and Shiites remain close by. In his western Baghdad neighborhood of Hutteen, Amir Mohammed Ali said the number of dead bodies dumped in the streets has only grown. On Wednesday, gunmen sprayed shops with automatic weapons fire, killing several people, he said.

"The owners opened their shops seeing the increased number of checkpoints, thinking it would protect them, but it just didn't happen," said the 50-year-old Sunni.

Even in safer neighborhoods, a single drive-by shooting or roadside bomb can revive residents' fears. Moreover, the worry over kidnapping by sectarian militias or just common criminals has not lifted.

"It's not the bombing we fear because you die immediately," said Mohammed al-Adhami, a real estate agent. "But if I'm kidnapped, I'll be tortured. They will break my bones with iron bars and drill holes in my body."

Suhad Ibrahim, a Shiite schoolteacher, says she feels safe enough to take her children shopping in the Shiite district of Kazimiyah, across town from her home. But she doesn't dare bring her Sunni husband along for fear he will be targeted.

"We've started feeling more secure," she said. "But these areas are not yet secure enough" for him.

_____

AP correspondents Hamed Ahmed in Baghdad, Suheil Hussein in Amman, Jordan, and Julie Reed with the AP News and Information Research Center contributed to this report.

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#600581 --- 07/07/07 08:19 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
From news10now.com:

Local doctor returns from Iraq
Updated: 7/6/2007 6:38 PM
By: Nneka Nwosu



It is a slow afternoon at Port City Family Practice and much different from where Dr. Matthew Liepke was just a month ago.

"Had a rocket land close enough to me where it knocked things off where I was living. Shrapnel chunks of rocks hit my trailer. That was a little bit scary," Dr. Liepke said.



WATCH THE VIDEO



Doctor comes home with many memories

Doctors are used to seeing ailments such as stomach pains and sprained ankles. But, one Oswego doctor saw those conditions and much more while serving in Iraq. News 10 Now's Nneka Nwosu has more.







Dr. Liepke spent three months in Iraq, treating soldiers with everything from back pains to injuries caused by roadside bombs.

"People get blown up in their tour. They may get hit, depending on what they're doing, about five, six times with regular IEDs," Dr. Liepke said.

Thanks to doctors like Liepke, 90 percent of those injured by roadside bombs survive. But for Iraqis, the simplest ailments go untreated.

"The hardest part? Probably seeing a three-year-old child basically die in front of your eyes, knowing you can't really do anything to help them. That was difficult," Dr. Liepke said.



It was also difficult to leave his two children, Matthew and Sam, and wife, Christina, behind. Christina assumed more responsibilities at home and work during Liepke's absence.

"It is hard. It's hard for it to be your husband. But, we're proud of him and we're glad that he's back safely," said Matthew's wife, Dr. Christina Liepke.

Although he's happy to be home, Liepke says he can't forget the young men and women he left behind.

"They're out there, driving around in a convoy or doing what they're doing, knowing they could get blown up any day and just going out there and facing that everyday. Everyday without complaining about what they're doing," Dr. Liepke said.

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#600603 --- 07/07/07 09:49 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Retired Soldier Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 12945
Loc: Rochester, NY
Originally Posted By: Strawberry Jam
"People get blown up in their tour. They may get hit, depending on what they're doing, about five, six times with regular IEDs," Dr. Liepke said.

Thanks to doctors like Liepke, 90 percent of those injured by roadside bombs survive. But for Iraqis, the simplest ailments go untreated.

"The hardest part? Probably seeing a three-year-old child basically die in front of your eyes, knowing you can't really do anything to help them. That was difficult," Dr. Liepke said.



Things are getting better?

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#600613 --- 07/07/07 10:53 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Al Kida Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 3102
Originally Posted By: Strawberry Jam
But for Iraqis, the simplest ailments go untreated.




This can not be so. Everyone knows every other country in the world has a far better health care system than the United States!!!
_________________________


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#600640 --- 07/07/07 12:54 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Al Kida]
Retired Soldier Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 12945
Loc: Rochester, NY
Things are getting better?

TUZ KHORMATO, Iraq - A suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives in the market of a Shiite farm town on Saturday, killing more than 100 people and levelling nearby mud-brick buildings, police officials said.

Separately, eight American troops and a British soldier were killed in fighting over two days.

The blast north of Baghdad, hours after a smaller suicide bombing in another Shiite village killed more than 20, suggested Sunni militants are regrouping to launch attacks in regions further away from the capital where security is thinner.

Saturday morning's explosion ripped through a market in Armili. Farmers' pickup trucks drove victims 30 miles to the nearest hospital, in Tuz Khormato.

Authorities and residents spent hours digging bodies out of the rubble of two dozen shops and houses, police said. Accounts of the final toll varied, hampered by the difficulty of the search and the town's remote location.

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#600772 --- 07/08/07 05:37 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
Originally Posted By: Retired Soldier
Things are getting better?


According to the Iraqis who actually live there, yes. You just choose to ignore that fact. From the article posted above:

Suhad Ibrahim, a Shiite schoolteacher, says she feels safe enough to take her children shopping in the Shiite district of Kazimiyah, across town from her home. But she doesn't dare bring her Sunni husband along for fear he will be targeted.

"We've started feeling more secure," she said. "But these areas are not yet secure enough" for him.

And here is a link to the article. \:\/

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070706/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_signs_of_calm


Edited by Strawberry Jam (07/08/07 05:39 AM)

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#600807 --- 07/08/07 06:55 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Retired Soldier Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 12945
Loc: Rochester, NY
String of attacks kill 26 in Baghdad By BUSHRA JUHI, Associated Press Writer
58 minutes ago
BAGHDAD - A flurry of bombings in Baghdad killed 26 people Sunday, and officials said the death toll from a giant suicide truck blast that devastated the market of a Shiite town north of the capital a day earlier could be more than 130.
Officials earlier had said Saturday's bombing in the town of Armili killed 115 people, one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq in months. The blast suggested Sunni insurgents are moving further north to strike in less protected regions beyond the U.S. security crackdown in Baghdad and on the capital's northern doorstep.

The string of attacks Sunday morning in Baghdad made clear that extremists can still unleash organized strikes in the capital despite a relative lull in violence there in past weeks amid the U.S. offensives.

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#601139 --- 07/09/07 07:56 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
Iraqi FM Warns Against U.S. Withdrawal
AP
Posted: 2007-07-09 07:27:54
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's foreign minister warned on Monday that a quick American military withdrawal from the country could lead to civil war and the collapse of the government, as pressure on the Bush administration for a pullout grows.

Attacks in Baghdad killed 13 people as prominent Shiite and Sunni politicians called on Iraqi civilians to take up arms to defend themselves after a weekend of violence that claimed more than 220 lives.

The burst of violence comes at a sensitive time. U.S. forces are waging offensives in and around Baghdad aimed at uprooting militants and bringing calm to the capital, and a progress report to Congress is due on July 15. At the same time, several Republican congressman have joined calls for a withdrawal from Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Iraqis "understand the huge pressure that will increase more and more in the United States" ahead of the progress report by the U.S. ambassador and top commander in Iraq.

"We have held discussion with members of Congress and explained to them the dangers of a quick pull out (from Iraq) and leaving a security vacuum," Zebari said. "The dangers could be a civil war, dividing the country, regional wars and the collapse of the state.

"In our estimations, until Iraqi forces are ready, there is a responsibility on the United States to stand with the (government) as the forces are being built," he said.
The calls for the arming of civilians to fight insurgents reflected the growing frustration with Iraqi security forces' inability to prevent extremists' attacks.

The governor of Salahuddin province announced he had detained the police chief of Armili, a Shiite town that was hit in the most devastating of the weekend attacks, a suicide truck bomber who killed at least 130 people.

Gov. Hamad Hmoud Shagti told The Associated Press that the police chief was under investigation for security failures and that 250 police were sent to Armili, a town of 26,000 people with longtime tensions between Shiites and Sunnis that one lawmaker said had only 30 police officers before the attack.

The latest attacks in Baghdad followed a surge of bloodshed in the capital on Sunday, when around 60 Iraqis were killed in bombings, shootings and kidnap-slayings.

A roadside bomb exploded in the central Nahda district in the morning, killing a passer-by and wounding three others. Several hours later, an explosive-wired car detonated in the same area, killing two people and wounding six, a police official said.

In southern Baghdad, a suicide bomber set off an explosives-packed car into a joint Iraqi army-police patrol, killing four passers-by and a soldier in the violence-torn district of Dora, police said.

Around dawn, police discovered gunmen trying to plant bombs near the security wall surrounding the Sunni district of Azamiyah. In a gunbattle that followed, two soldiers and two policemen were killed, police said. There were no immediate reports about the casualties among the gunmen.

Also Monday, a dead body with bullet wounds and torture marks was found dumped in a street in the western district of Mansour, an apparent victim of sectarian death squads, police said. The police officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Iraqi commanders say U.S. and Iraqi troops are making progress in a three-pronged security sweep launched in mid-June - one in Baghdad, another to the northeast in Baqouba and the third to the south. The offensives on Baghdad's doorsteps aim to uproot al-Qaida militants and other insurgents using the regions to plan attacks in the capital.But Saturday's attack on Armili indicated extremists were moving further north to strike at unprotected regions, and the devastation wreaked there sparked anger at Iraqi security forces for failing to stop them.

The attack was among the deadliest in Iraq in months, though there was still confusion over the death toll.

Two police officers - Col. Sherzad Abdullah and Col. Abbas Mohammed Amin - said 150 people were killed. Abbas al-Bayati, a Shiite Turkoman lawmaker, told reporters in Baghdad that 130 had died. Most of the town's inhabitants are Shiites from the Turkoman ethnic minority

In the absence of enough security forces, al-Bayati said authorities should help residents "arm themselves" for their own protection.

The call for civilians to take up arms in their own defense was echoed Sunday by the country's Sunni Arab vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi, who said the government should provide communities with money, weapons and training and "regulate their use by rules of behavior."

"People have a right to expect from the government and security agencies protection for their lives, land, honor and property," al-Hashemi said in a statement. "But in the case of (their) inability, the people have no choice but to take up their own defense."

Another prominent Sunni lawmaker, Adnan al-Dulaimi, said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had failed to provide services and security but he stopped short of saying his followers would seek to topple the Shiite-led government in a no-confidence vote.

The CBS Evening News reported Saturday that a large block of Sunni Iraqi politicians will ask for a parliamentary vote of no-confidence against al-Maliki's government on July 15.

"The situation has become terribly bad," al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press. "All options are open for us. We are going to study the situation thoroughly, and we are going to look into the possible measures which go with the interests of the Iraqi people. We will also consider whether to keep on with the government or not."

But Iraq's national security adviser, a Shiite, insisted that the government still enjoyed broad support and he warned against any effort to replace al-Maliki, telling CNN's Late Edition that the result would be a "hurricane in Iraq."

The idea of organizing local communities for their own defense has caught on here in recent months following the success of Sunni Arab tribes in Anbar province that took up arms to help drive al-Qaida from their towns and villages.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have said they hope to replicate the "Anbar model" elsewhere in the country, albeit under government supervision and control.

U.S. commanders have long believed the key to restoring security was the ability of Iraqi forces to hold on to areas cleared by American troops. Several senior U.S. officers have questioned whether the Iraqi police and army were capable of preventing insurgents from returning once the Americans had left.

Local defense forces would offer a way to compensate for weaknesses in the Iraqi police and army, but without careful controls, the system could backfire by promoting more militias in a country already awash in weapons.


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
07/09/07 07:26 EDT

http://news.aol.com/story/_a/iraqi-fm-warns-against-us-withdrawal/n20070709072709990004?ecid=RSS0001

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#601381 --- 07/09/07 03:46 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY

US Iraq chief warns of long war

Gen Petraeus took over as head of US forces in Iraq in January


Petraeus interview
The head of US forces in Iraq, Lt Gen David Petraeus, has told the BBC that fighting the insurgency is a "long term endeavour" which could take decades.

(ALERT! Watch what they pulled using the wording above)
Speaking to the BBC's John Simpson in Baquba, Gen Petraeus said there was evidence that the recent troops surge was producing gains on the ground.

But he warned that US forces were engaged in a "tough fight" which will get "harder before it gets easier".

His comments come as US calls for a rapid troop withdrawal gather strength.

Gen Petraeus was keen to emphasise that the ongoing unrest in Iraq is not something he expects to be resolved overnight.

"Northern Ireland, I think, taught you that very well. My counterparts in your [British] forces really understand this kind of operation... It took a long time, decades," he said.

The question is how can we gradually reduce our forces so we reduce the strain on the army, on the nation and so forth

Gen Petraeus


Battle looms in US Congress

"I don't know whether this will be decades, but the average counter insurgency is somewhere around a nine or a 10 year endeavour."

He went on to say that more important than the length of time it would take to stabilise Iraq was the number of US troops which would be required to remain in the country.

"I think the question is at what level... and really, the question is how can we gradually reduce our forces so we reduce the strain on the army, on the nation and so forth," he said.

He said everyone wanted the US forces to be able to leave, both Americans and Iraqis alike, but he said it was vital to ensure that "the gains that have been hard fought in places like Baquba and Ramadi could be sustained, maintained and even built on by Iraqi forces and Iraqi political leaders".

In the last few weeks US forces have captured two big insurgent centres, Ramadi and Baquba, which was the main stronghold of al-Qaeda.

'Surge taking hold'

Gen Petraeus attributes this success to the recent surge in combat troop numbers, under which some 30,000 extra US troops have been deployed in Iraq, saying that although much work still remains to be done "the surge is achieving progress on the ground".


US forces recently made gains in the insurgent stronghold Baquba
"This comprehensive offensive that we have launched into al-Qaeda sanctuaries and locations where there are al-Qaeda affiliates is in fact showing effect," he said.

"In Baghdad for example, June was the lowest month for sectarian deaths in a year."

By contrast, April, May and June were the deadliest three months for US troops since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

About 3,600 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the conflict began.

Gen Petraeus insisted it was not yet possible to see the full effect the surge was having as it took until mid-June to get all of the additional troops and equipment on the ground.

"I think again we need to see where we are in September when we'll have had a couple of months of all of our forces. We are still in the first month of the surge of operations that is following now the surge of forces," he said.

Time running out

Gen Petraeus is due to return to Washington in September to report on the campaign's progress.


However, correspondents say the clock in Washington is running fast.

In recent days four Republican senators have withdrawn support for President George W Bush's Iraq strategy, adding their voice to a growing number calling for a new plan.

And this week will see a contentious debate in the US Senate over a major defence spending bill.

On Sunday the Pentagon announced that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was cancelling a planned Latin American tour in order to focus on the upcoming clash.

According to BBC world affairs editor John Simpson, the debate is moving so fast in Washington that Gen Petraeus's efforts, which might have saved the day for the Bush administration if they had been introduced three, or even two, years ago, may well have come too late.


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#601440 --- 07/09/07 07:31 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Offline
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Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 17154
The Associated Press is reporting that the Iraq Progress Report will say that the Iraqi government have met no benchmarks.

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#601441 --- 07/09/07 07:31 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: ]
Offline
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Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 17154
It's time to drop a nuke on the ragheads and end it.

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#601443 --- 07/09/07 07:36 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: ]
Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 17154
Originally Posted By: Festus!
The Associated Press is reporting that the Iraq Progress Report will say that the Iraqi government have met no benchmarks.


Official: Iraq gov't misses all targets
By ANNE FLAHERTY and ANNE GEARAN
Associated Press Writers




A progress report on Iraq will conclude that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad has not met any of its targets for political, economic and other reform, speeding up the Bush administration's reckoning on what to do next, a U.S. official said Monday.

One likely result of the report will be a vastly accelerated debate among President Bush's top aides on withdrawing troops and scaling back the U.S. presence in Iraq.

The "pivot point" for addressing the matter will no longer be Sept. 15, as initially envisioned, when a full report on Bush's so-called "surge" plan is due, but instead will come this week when the interim mid-July assessment is released, the official said.

"The facts are not in question," the official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the draft is still under discussion. "The real question is how the White House proceeds with a post-surge strategy in light of the report."

The report, required by law, is expected to be delivered to Capitol Hill by Thursday or Friday, as the Senate takes up a $649 billion defense policy bill and votes on a Democratic amendment ordering troop withdrawals to begin in 120 days.

Also being drafted are several Republican-backed proposals that would force a new course in Iraq, including one by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., that would require U.S. troops to abandon combat missions. Collins and Nelson say their binding amendment would order the U.S. mission to focus on training the Iraqi security forces, targeting al-Qaida members and protecting Iraq's borders.

"My goal is to redefine the mission and set the stage for a significant but gradual drawdown of our troops next year," said Collins.

GOP support for the war has eroded steadily since Bush's decision in January to send some 30,000 additional troops to Iraq. At the time, Bush said the Iraqis agreed to meet certain benchmarks, such as enacting a law to divide the nation's oil reserves.

This spring, Congress agreed to continue funding the war through September but demanded that Bush certify on July 15 and again on Sept. 15 that the Iraqis were living up to their political promises or forgo U.S. aid dollars.

The official said it is highly unlikely that Bush will withhold or suspend aid to the Iraqis based on the report.

A draft version of the administration's progress report circulated among various government agencies in Washington on Monday.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow on Monday tried to lower expectations on the report, contending that all of the additional troops had just gotten in place and it would be unrealistic to expect major progress by now.

"You are not going to expect all the benchmarks to be met at the beginning of something," Snow said. "I'm not sure everyone's going to get an `A' on the first report."

In recent weeks, the White House has tried to shore up eroding GOP support for the war.

Collins and five other GOP senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Robert Bennett of Utah, John Sununu of New Hampshire and Pete Domenici of New Mexico support separate legislation calling on Bush to adopt as U.S. policy recommendations by the Iraq Study Group, which identified a potential redeployment date of spring 2008.

Other prominent Republican senators, including Richard Lugar of Indiana, George Voinovich of Ohio, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Olympia Snowe of Maine, also say the U.S. should begin redeployments.

Several GOP stalwarts, including Sens. Ted Stevens of Alaska, Christopher Bond of Missouri, Jon Kyl of Arizona and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, said they still support Bush's Iraq strategy.

Kyl said he would try to focus this week's debate on preserving vital anti-terrorism programs, including the detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The defense bill is on track to expand the legal rights of those held at the military prison, and many Democrats want to propose legislation that would shut the facility.

"If Democrats use the defense authorization bill to pander to the far left at the expense of our national security, they should expect serious opposition from Republicans," Kyl said.

As the Senate debate began, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee arranged to run television commercials in four states, beginning Tuesday, to pressure Republicans on the war.

The ads are to run in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota and New Hampshire, according to knowledgeable officials, but the DSCC so far has committed to spending a relatively small amount of money, less than $100,000 in all. Barring a change in plans that means the ads would not be seen widely in any of the four states.

The targets include Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Collins of Maine, Sununu of New Hampshire and the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. All face re-election next year.

The boost in troop levels in Iraq has increased the cost of war there and in Afghanistan to $12 billion a month, with the overall tally for Iraq alone nearing a half-trillion dollars, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which provides research and analysis to lawmakers.

The figures call into question the Pentagon's estimate that the increase in troop strength and intensifying pace of operations in Baghdad and Anbar province would cost $5.6 billion through the end of September.

__

Associated Press reporters Pauline Jelinek, Andrew Taylor, Matthew Lee and Jennifer Loven contributed to this report


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070709/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_iraq

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#601669 --- 07/10/07 11:35 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: ]
harleybobtailer Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/07
Posts: 179
Loc: Seneca,County , New york
MILITARY SERVICE
Reservist fighting his fifth war call-up
After serving in Afghanistan and three times in Iraq, an Army Reserve sergeant from Port St. Lucie recoiled at still another deployment.
BY AMY DRISCOLL adriscoll@MiamiHerald.com

PORT ST. LUCIE --
Erik Botta believes he's done right by his country.
Days after 9/11, as a young Army reservist, he volunteered to go to war. He was soon in Afghanistan.
The next year, he was sent out again, this time to Iraq, part of a Special Operations team.
In the next two years, he was sent to Iraq again. And again.
He thought he was done. But now, the Army wants Sgt. Botta one more time.
The 26-year-old Port St. Lucie man has been ordered to report to Fort Jackson, S.C., on July 15 for his fifth deployment. And that has compelled Botta, a first-generation American who counts himself a quiet patriot, to do something he never thought he'd do: sue the Army.
''I'm proud of my service,'' he said. ``I never wanted it to end like this.''
Nearly seven years into his eight-year commitment to the reserves, the personal costs are higher for Botta. He could lose his home. His job at Sikorsky, working on the Black Hawk military helicopter, could be on the line. He's halfway to his electrical engineering degree, planning a career in defense work, but his professors say he'll suffer a significant setback if he is deployed. He doesn't mention the danger another deployment would bring, but his wife and parents do.
''I'm proud of being in the Army,'' he said. ``They taught me responsibility. They taught me maturity. And they gave me a good toolbox of technical skills to work with. I think I'd be more valuable to my country at this point by being here, getting my degree and working at Sikorsky.''
In a lawsuit he expects to file this week in federal court in Florida, Botta says he will ask for an exemption or delay so that he can complete his engineering studies. He will also ask the court to prevent the Army from requiring him to report for duty until the legal questions are settled.
His attorney, Mark Waple -- a West Point graduate and former military judge advocate who practices in Fayetteville, N.C. -- says Botta's case shows that the Army is inconsistent in its decisions when selecting reservists for involuntary mobilization, over and over.
''This is an arbitrary decision by the Army Human Resources Command with no rational basis,'' Waple said.
THE CONSEQUENCES
Deployment now would mean that he could no longer afford his house -- his wife would probably have to move in with her parents. Plans to start a family would be on hold. He would probably have to repeat some engineering courses after his return, and he might even lose the job he just landed about a month ago. Previously, he worked at Pratt & Whitney in the Joint Strike Fighter and Raptor engine programs.
''This is no peace protester,'' Waple said. ``I wouldn't have touched this case with a 10-foot pole if it was. He's put the boots on and been in combat.''
Although Botta knew there was a risk that he would be called to duty again, he assumed that it was very slight, given his four combat deployments, pursuit of an engineering degree and employment with military contractors, he said.
''The world pretty much stopped when I got the notice,'' said Botta, weighing each word. ``I've sacrificed a lot for the military. I didn't want to end with litigation, but I feel I've done my service to my country. I've done what I signed up for in more ways than one.''
The Army doesn't agree. It turned down one appeal, with another pending but unofficially denied. Last year, it granted Botta a 287-day delay, pushing his deployment date to this month, after an inquiry by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
''This is something we're starting to see more of,'' Bryan Gulley, Nelson's spokesman, said about repeat deployments. ``It's one of the reasons Nelson has been saying we have to stop relying so heavily on the [National] Guard and the Reserve.''
Army spokeswoman Maj. Cheryl Phillips issued a statement Friday regarding Botta's case, saying in part that the Army evaluates ``each request independently to determine if the mobilization will cause undue hardship for the soldier or the family. We appreciate the sacrifice our citizen soldiers and their families make when called to active duty.''
The Army has granted 87 percent of delays requested by soldiers -- most are 90 days or less -- and 54 percent of exemptions, the statement said. It did not comment on Botta's case, but the Army said in a letter sent to him regarding one of his appeals that he did not ``meet the requirements for a hardship exemption/discharge.''
Botta joined the reserves in 2000 and asked to be activated in 2001 -- ''I felt like I had to do something'' after 9/11, he said -- and his tours of duty have lasted up to eight months. He left active duty at the end of 2004.
Under his current reporting date, he might not even complete the semester; classes end in August.
Attorney Waple says the Army has granted an exemption in at least one similar case, in 2005. A 24-year-old North Carolina enlisted Army reservist with two combat tours under his belt -- in Iraq and Kosovo -- was involuntarily mobilized while attending community college in Raleigh, pursuing a degree in chemical engineering.
He had completed five of his eight years in the service, Waple said. The man's first appeal was denied, but after Waple filed a second appeal, he was given an exemption and honorably discharged, Waple said.
Botta's case may be even stronger. He has completed more years of service and more combat tours, has a job in the defense industry while pursuing his engineering degree, and was granted a 287-day delay already, Waple noted.
Botta has tried hard to avoid a suit, Waple said, filing every appeal available within the Army's justice system. Botta and his wife have sent letters to everyone from Sen. Nelson to the White House. His professors and employers have sent letters, too, on his behalf.
''It's an awkward thing for any serviceman,'' Waple said. ``He has a very strong sense of responsibility and duty to serve.''
In his own letters to the Army, Botta notes that he is attending school on the GI Bill, maintaining a 3.9 grade-point average, and is grateful that he can use his Army skills in his work with military contractors.
''If I was to go back to the Army at this juncture in my life, I could very well lose my house and be in considerable debt for years to come,'' Botta wrote. ``I am proud of the fact that I can still continue to serve my country with the knowledge that I have acquired from the U.S. Army.''
The Army's response during the appeals, Botta said, has been ``minimal communication.''
Carlos Botta, his father, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Argentina, said he applauded his son's military service -- until now. ``He served in Afghanistan. He served three times in Iraq. The odds are getting slimmer and slimmer for him. He might get hurt. Don't you think he has served the country enough already?''
WIFE'S CONCERNS
Botta's wife, Jennifer, who married him between Iraq stints, said she can't face the idea of his returning to combat. Losing their house, painful as that would be, is the least of her worries.
''He's been over there four times. There's only so many times you can go over without something happening . . . .'' Her voice trailed off.
During his deployments, she said, she would watch television news reports about bombings and then count the hours until he called. ''My cellphone was in my hand 24 hours a day,'' she said. ``I never let it go.''
For Erik Botta, who keeps his hair military-short, the last few months have played out as a struggle between his battle-hardened loyalty to the Army and an abiding sense of what's right.
''We were in a wartime situation,'' he said. ``I did what they asked me to do. I went over and did it. And then when I was leaving, they told me I could leave. They told me to get on with my life, and I did. Now it seems they've changed their mind.''
But he doesn't regret his service -- at all. ``I'm proud to be in the Army, and I'm proud -- cheesy as it might sound -- I'm proud to be an American.''
_________________________
I'm just a functional illiterate! Just ask That
Nasty little alcoholic.

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#601825 --- 07/10/07 04:47 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
harleybobtailer Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/07
Posts: 179
Loc: Seneca,County , New york
Originally Posted By: Retired Soldier
If your definition of winning is the same stupid one you use for our victories in Vietnam, than I agree. If winning means the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion for the US and the present Iraqi government you are, as usual, living in a parallel universe.
We will end up withdrawing most of our combat troops from Iraq within the next year and the chaos that exists now will get even worse. Lebanon will look good in comparison.


Retired Soldier, are you saying that the war in Vietnam was lost?
_________________________
I'm just a functional illiterate! Just ask That
Nasty little alcoholic.

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#601886 --- 07/10/07 07:23 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: harleybobtailer]
Retired Soldier Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 12945
Loc: Rochester, NY
Yes, the war in Vietnam was lost. The mission was to preserve South Vietnam as a free, independent state. That did not happen. Therefore, we lost. Do you have another view?

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#602287 --- 07/11/07 06:14 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
SkySoldier Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 25300
Loc: Finger Lakes National Forest, ...
You were lost azzwipe.


We left South Vietnam as a democracy.

It fell two years after we left, two years after the peace accords were signed in Paris and wewere OUTTA there..

We didn't lose it.


The North took it with the blessings of the Democratically controlled US congress.


We, the US Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard, had been GONE for two years by then you dumb SOB.


http://ivpnewmedia.com/10thst/tifts/index.php








Edited by SkySoldier (07/11/07 06:42 PM)
_________________________
America has problems.

We can fix that.

America is not THE problem.

Next time. Vote for the AMERICAN.


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#602324 --- 07/11/07 07:40 PM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
harleybobtailer Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/07
Posts: 179
Loc: Seneca,County , New york
Originally Posted By: Retired Soldier
Yes, the war in Vietnam was lost. The mission was to preserve South Vietnam as a free, independent state. That did not happen. Therefore, we lost. Do you have another view?


I for one think you're full of crap.

You were in that war and you don't know we won, what hole have you been hiding for the last few years?

The USSR fell, communism died with it, China just doesn't it know it yet.
_________________________
I'm just a functional illiterate! Just ask That
Nasty little alcoholic.

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#602530 --- 07/12/07 08:08 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: harleybobtailer]
Retired Soldier Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 12945
Loc: Rochester, NY
Mission, mission, mission.
We had a mission in Vietnam and we never achieved it. To the best of my knowledge Vietnam is unified and communist. Was that our mission?
Putting the blame on our South Vietnam puppets is convenient but doesn't cover the reality that we wasted billions of dollars, 58,000 US lives and the efforts of millions of troops for nothing.
By your definition we can pull all our troops out of Iraq and when it falls blame it on the Iraqis because it was a democracy when we left?
Oh, I forgot, you'll blame it on the Democratic Party!

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#602539 --- 07/12/07 08:38 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 17154
Government report: Al Qaeda strongest since September 11, 2001

From Kelli Arena
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Al Qaeda is the strongest it has been since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a new U.S. government analysis concludes, according to a senior government official who has seen it.

Despite a campaign of military action and counterterrorism operations, al Qaeda has regained its strength and found safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the report says, according to counterterrorism officials familiar with the report.

The five-page intelligence analysis remains classified and was prepared for senior U.S. policymakers. It was not issued in response to a specific threat.

Two intelligence officials said the report's finding are similar to what is expected to be in the National Intelligence Estimate anticipated to be released later this summer. The NIE is the intelligence community's collective analysis of pressing national security issues.

The White House's view is that "over the past six years, we have prevented attacks from al Qaeda by taking the fight to them," a senior administration official said. "But they are an enemy that adapts."

This new report backs up warnings by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and other officials that al Qaeda remains a serious threat and that the United States is vulnerable despite the numerous security changes made since September 11, 2001. Watch Chertoff explain his "gut feeling"

Chertoff said Wednesday, however, that there is no "specific, credible information" that terrorist attacks on the United States are imminent.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, several senior intelligence officials talked about how the terrorist group has found refuge in parts of Pakistan.

"We actually see the al Qaeda central being resurgent in their role in planning operations," John Kringen, head of the CIA's intelligence directorate, testified at the hearing Wednesday. "They seem to be fairly well settled into the safe haven in the ungoverned spaces of Pakistan there. We see more training. We see more money. We see more communications."

Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence, told lawmakers that al Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan are able to maintain relationships "with affiliates throughout the Middle East, North and East Africa and Europe."

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it was no surprise al Qaeda has been able to reorganize and rebuild "given President Bush's stubborn dedication to keeping our overextended military mired in an Iraqi civil war."

"It is a travesty that Osama bin Laden remains at large nearly six years after the 9/11 attacks and appears to have found new sanctuary to operate freely in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border regions," Reid said. "The Bush administration and most congressional Republicans would rather stubbornly stick with a flawed strategy and fight a war that senior military leaders say cannot be won militarily, than adapt to fighting the enemy who attacked us six years ago."

In recent weeks, counterterrorism authorities have expressed concern about the possibility of another attack on U.S. soil, saying several factors, such as the thwarted terror plots in Britain, have them on edge.

The FBI has created a small group of agents and analysts to examine new threats and leads over the summer, a bureau official told CNN. The group, which was created several weeks ago, is supplementing what agents and others are also doing in field offices across the country and is an example of how the government is trying to make sure no credible lead is missed, the official said.

CNN's Carol Cratty, Kevin Bohn and Pam Benson contributed to this report.

All AboutAl Qaeda September 11 Attacks








Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/07/11/al.qaeda.report/index.html

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#602540 --- 07/12/07 08:38 AM Re: The reason we are WINNING in Afghanistan and Iraq [Re: ]
Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 17154
How strong would AlQ be if we weren't winning this thing?

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