Sunday, March 19, 2006

News roundup 03.19.2006

Three years in Iraq

The Washington Post:
On the eve of the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, President Bush yesterday promised to "finish the mission" with "complete victory," urging the American public to remain steadfast but offering no indication when victory may be achieved.
Is it a civil war?

A.P.: "Cheney: Iraq Not in Midst of Civil War"

BBC News:
Iraq is in the middle of civil war, the country's former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has told the BBC.

He said Iraq had not got to the point of no return, but if it fell apart sectarianism would spread abroad.
Al Jazeera:
The Iraqi president has discounted the risk of a civil war in response to remarks by Iyad Allawi, the former premier, that the country was in the midst of such a conflict.

"One can completely rule out the threat of a civil war," Jalal Talabani, the president, told reporters after a meeting of political parties discussing the formation of a unity government.
Donald Rumsfeld

The Secretary in today's Washington Post:
One of the most important developments over the past year has been the increasing participation of Iraq's Sunni community in the political process. In the volatile Anbar province, where Sunnis are an overwhelming majority, voter turnout grew from 2 percent in January to 86 percent in December. Sunni sheiks and religious leaders who previously had been sympathetic to the insurgency are today meeting with coalition representatives, encouraging Iraqis to join the security forces and waging what violent extremists such as Abu al-Zarqawi and his al-Qaeda followers recognize as a "large-scale war" against them.
General Paul Eaton in the New York Times:
In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld must step down.
The Los Angeles Times:
WASHINGTON — A growing Republican chorus is calling for a staff overhaul inside President Bush's beleaguered White House, but some conservatives say such a change would stop far short of fixing what they view as a serious flaw: an unfocused domestic agenda.

The war in Iraq is dominating the attention of Bush and his top aides, these critics say, while the recent departure of the president's top domestic policy advisor after just one year has left the White House without an obvious conductor to direct the sometimes disparate policy-making machine.
The New York Times: "Before and After Abu Ghraib, a U.S. Unit Abused Detainees"

The state of Iraq

Brookings guys in the New York Times:
All that said, according to public opinion polls, more than 60 percent of Iraqis (though very few Sunni Arabs) remain bullish on the future. And Iraqi security forces continue to improve, with far higher percentages having reached the upper half of the four-tier readiness rating system. These statistics may point to the possibility of a troop drawdown strategy for the United States — but while a strategically passable outcome still seems within reach, it is increasingly hard to believe that there are the makings of a major success for American foreign policy in Iraq.
Zeyad in the Washington Post:
It's almost 9 p.m., a dangerous time to go outside. Neighborhood watch teams -- young men brandishing AK-47s, pistols, RPGs and even sniper rifles -- set up checkpoints around this time. Many were referred to as the "Mujahideen" or insurgents in the past. Now, they are considered defenders of our predominantly Sunni district against Shiite death squads and militias.
George Will:
Conditions in Iraq have worsened in the 94 days that have passed since Iraq's elections in December. And there still is no Iraqi government that can govern. By many measures conditions are worse than they were a year ago, when they were worse than they had been the year before.

Three years ago the administration had a theory: Democratic institutions do not just spring from a hospitable culture, they can also create such a culture. That theory has been a casualty of the war that began three years ago today.
Doyle McManus in the Los Angeles Times:
In increasingly sober public statements — and in slightly more candid assessments from officials who insisted that they not be identified — the administration is working to lower expectations.
Thomas DeFrank in the New York Daily News:
For Bush to reverse his sagging political fortunes, however, even loyalists agree he and his underachieving staff must perform more crisply - and the Iraq intervention must show significant improvement.

"We need some good news - a lot of good news," a senior aide said.
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
"The region is pushed further toward extremism," said Mohamed el-Sayed Said, the deputy director of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, Egypt. "The Bush administration was warned that it's moving into an area of shifting sand... . This is a very complex region with legacies of sectarian violence and religious strife."

In Jordan to the west, Saudi Arabia to the south, and Turkey to the north - even in Israel - U.S. allies are voicing growing concern that Iraq's chaos could seep across their borders and infect them.
The Washington Times: "Iraqis see long road to recovery"


The Boston Globe:
The Pentagon declined to explain why more gay soldiers were being retained, but the lawyers who represent soldiers challenging cases under the policy say the Pentagon seems to have softened its stance on homosexuality.

The lawyers attributed the change both to a growing acceptance of gays within the ranks and to the military's need to keep more highly trained soldiers in the Iraq War.
Al Gore

Bob Novak:
Democratic insiders take seriously a possible new try for the presidency by Al Gore and say he is capable of raising more money than the presumptive front-runner, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I think there is a 50 percent chance that Al Gore will be the second person, since FDR, to win three elections for president.

Word play

Why is 2008 such compelling terain for Al Gore?

Over the last seven years, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has played a game of word association as part of its regular presidential polling, asking, "What one word best describes your impression of George W. Bush?" No options or suggestions are offered. The latest results — from a sample of 710 people done in March — aren't good for the President. Until this month, the word most associated with President Bush had always been "honest." Now the leading answer is "incompetent" (given by 29 people), followed by "good," "idiot" and "liar." "Honest" has slipped to 5th, tied with "Christian."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say that the process in Iraq may be a little bit slow - but at the same time, I would be cautious to labeling Iraq as a disaster at this point.

There's far too much negativity coming from the media's reports on Iraq - it's almost as if they want us to fail over there.

1:04 PM  

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