“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 Morning Report

The big news, of course, is General Petraeus’s testimony to Congress.Simply put, the military is achieving it’s objectives via the surge, and that major or total withdrawals should wait until Spring 2008. While the GAO reports that 4 of 18 objectives are actually achieved, Petraeus clearly shows several other military objectives are well in progress. The part that concerned me was:

In Baghdad, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh responded to Petraeus’ comments by saying that Iraq would be comfortable with a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops as long as it was first discussed with the Iraqi government.
That statement indicates the Iraqis realize how much they can actually control US decisions. It indicates that Democrats may not be far off the beam when they cry for real measuring points of Iraqi progress, and that the US hold them to it. This is supported by Ambassodor Cocker’s testimony, following Petraeus.
"A secure, stable, democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors is, in my view, attainable," he said. "The cumulative trajectory of political, economic, and diplomatic developments in Iraq is upwards, although the slope of that line is not steep."

Of course, Democrats in Congress snubbed Gen. Petraeus’s testimony out of hand. Pelosi called his proposals “unacceptable,” including a rather substantial troop withdrawal this year. Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, even called it a “token withdrawal.” Personally, I loved Petraeus’s response:
“What I recommended was a very substantial withdrawal,” the general replied evenly from the witness chair, his uniform adorned by four gleaming general’s stars and nine rows of medals. “Five Army brigade combat teams, a Marine Expeditionary Unit and two Marine battalions represent a very significant force.”
Republicans also called on Democrats to denounce the work of MoveOn.Org in their “Betray Us” campaign. None of them have, although none have endorsed it either.
(…like I really expect them to give up that kind of media benefit to their campaigns…)

In other Iraq news, the US is building a base on the Iran border.
The base will be located about four miles from the Iranian border and will be used for at least two years, according to the report. U.S. officials told the paper it is unclear whether it will be among the small number of facilities that would remain in Iraq after any future large-scale U.S. withdrawal.


Lynch told the paper, “We’ve got a major problem with Iranian munitions streaming into Iraq. This Iranian interference is troubling and we have to stop it.”

U.S. officials accuse Iran of fomenting violence to destabilize Iraq and of seeking to build nuclear weapons under cover of civilian nuclear program, charges Iran denies.
(…wonder what the liberals will make of that…)

Meanwhile, Georgia is increasing its troop commitment to Iraq. And, finally, it seems al-Qaeda wanted Bosnia for a European base.
(…any acknowledgement that there might be some benefit for being in Iraq from the left on this…???...)