Troops are staying….sorry Cindy.

A quick note to Cindy Sheehan, the code pinkos and others. Nancy Pelosi and her ilk sold you out for your vote in 2006.  They never intended to withdraw or ‘redeploy’ troops in Iraq.  Try to remember their dog and pony show antics  the next time you are at the polls.  And try to wrap your head around the idea that U.S. troops will not be leaving iraq for the foreseeable future.

  WASHINGTON, July 24 (Xinhua) — While Washington is mired in a political debate over the future of Iraq, the U.S. command in Iraq has prepared a detailed plan that foresees a significant U.S. role for the next two years, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

    The classified plan, which represents the coordinated strategy of the top U.S. commander and the U.S. ambassador, calls for restoring security in local areas, including Baghdad, by the summer of 2008, and “sustainable security” to be established on a nationwide basis by the summer of 2009, U.S. officials familiar with the document were quoted as saying.

    The detailed document, known as the Joint Campaign Plan, is an elaboration of the new strategy President George W. Bush signaled in January with the decision to send five additional combat brigades and other units to Iraq. That signaled a shift from the previous strategy, which emphasized transferring to Iraqis the responsibility for safeguarding their security.

    That new approach put a premium on protecting the Iraqi population in Baghdad, on the theory that improved security would provide Iraqi political leaders with the breathing space they needed to try political reconciliation.

    The latest plan, which covers a two-year period, does not explicitly address troop levels or withdrawal schedules. It anticipates a decline in American forces as the “surge” in troops runs its course later this year or in early 2008. But it nonetheless assumes continued American involvement to train soldiers, act as partners with Iraqi forces and fight terrorist groups in Iraq, American officials said.

    The plan, developed by General David Petraeus, the senior U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador, has been briefed to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral William Fallon, the head of Central Command.

    The plan envisions two phases. The “near-term” goal is to achieve “localized security” in Baghdad and other areas no later than June 2008. It envisions encouraging political accommodations at the local level, including with former insurgents, while pressing Iraq’s leaders to make headway on their program of national reconciliation.

    The “intermediate” goal is to stitch together such local arrangements to establish a broader sense of security on a nationwide basis no later than June 2009, the New York Times report said.

 

Samarra Mosgue hit by Al Qaida again.

Here we go again.  Every election cycle, Al Qaida ramps up the efforts to foment sectarian violence.  Smart bastards when it comes to PR.  Too bad most Americans aren’t that smart. 

BAGHDAD (June 13) – Suspected al-Qaida insurgents on Wednesday destroyed the two minarets of the Askariya Shiite  shrine in Samarra, authorities reported, in a repeat of a 2006 bombing that shattered its famous Golden Dome and unleashed a wave of retaliatory sectarian violence  that still bloodies Iraq .

Police said the attack at about 9 a.m. involved explosives and brought down the two minarets, which had flanked the dome’s ruins. No casualties were reported.

The attack, blamed on Sunni  Muslim extremists, immediately stirred fears of a new explosion of Sunni-Shiite bloodshed. State television said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki  quickly imposed an indefinite curfew on vehicle traffic and large gatherings in Baghdad , as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The Iraqi leader also met with the U.S. commander in Iraq to ask that American reinforcements be sent into Samarra to help head off new violence in the flashpoint city 60 miles north of Baghdad, al-Maliki’s office said.

Full Story.

‘Let’s talk’ with militant Muslims.

Certainly grown men who spout hatred and violence, then send their women and children to do the dirty work must be reasonable and sane people.  Wake Up and get your head out of the sand folks! When it becomes OK to strap bombs to your wives and daughters, we don’t really have a whole lot to talk about.  And don’t feed me any bull about how ‘she may have acted alone’.  This is militant Islam, women don’t go to the store alone.  So they certainly don’t decide to commit martyrdom, acquire the explosives to do so, then walk across town to the police station, ALONE! 

BAGHDAD – Alert guards gunned down a black-clad woman at a police recruiting station Tuesday, a would-be suicide bomber who then exploded before their eyes. But another bomber succeeded, detonating an explosives-laden car at a checkpoint in Ramadi and killing six policemen.

The U.S. commander here acknowledged sectarian violence was on the rise.

Meanwhile, the U.S. command insisted it would continue the search for two abducted U.S. soldiers despite the release of a video Monday by insurgents linked to al-Qaida claiming they had killed the two, along with a third missing soldier whose body was found previously.

Full Story.

What to Think?

I noticed two tidbits of information while surfing today. Both highlighted–incidentally in back-to-back posts at Instapundit–positives in the War on Terror.

First Joe Klein writes at Time and wonders out-loud about the state of Al-Qaeda in Iraq:

There is good news from Iraq, believe it or not. It comes from the most unlikely place: Anbar province, home of the Sunni insurgency. The level of violence has plummeted in recent weeks. An alliance of U.S. troops and local tribes has been very effective in moving against the al-Qaeda foreign fighters. A senior U.S. military official told me—confirming reports from several other sources—that there have been “a couple of days recently during which there were zero effective attacks and less than 10 attacks overall in the province (keep in mind that an attack can be as little as one round fired). This is a result of sheiks stepping up and opposing AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] and volunteering their young men to serve in the police and army units there.” The success in Anbar has led sheiks in at least two other Sunni-dominated provinces, Nineveh and Salahaddin, to ask for similar alliances against the foreign fighters. And, as TIME’s Bobby Ghosh has reported, an influential leader of the Sunni insurgency, Harith al-Dari, has turned against al-Qaeda as well. It is possible that al-Qaeda is being rejected like a mismatched liver transplant by the body of the Iraqi insurgency.

While this in the Telegraph higlights the bust that has been the Taliban’s “Spring Offensive”:

The Taliban’s much-vaunted spring offensive has stalled apparently due to lack of organisation after dozens of middle-ranking commanders were killed by British troops in the past year, according to military sources.

 

The death last week of the key Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah at the hands of American special forces has harmed the Taliban’s morale to the point that local commanders are having to tell their troops to “remain professional” despite the loss.

After suffering more than 1,000 dead in battles with the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines in the last year, the Taliban retired to regroup and re-equip last winter.

A spring offensive was ordered by the Taliban leadership based in Quetta, Pakistan, and was meant to be launched in late March.

But a lack of mid-level commanders has meant that there has been little co-ordination to bring about the offensive.

Both are interesting but not earth-shattering, singularly or collectively. They do though lead me to wonder–aloud–if perhaps we’ve turned a corner in the War on Terror. Not in terms of the media narrative, as that remains steadily and overwhelmingly negative but in the actual fight, on the ground.

Have we? I don’t know. Maybe you do, and if so tell me.

I certainly hope we have.

Bush Vetoes Troop Withdrawal Bill

Partisan politics at the expense of our troops really tend to piss me off.  Shame on all of you. 

Bush Vetoes Troop Withdrawal Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush vetoed legislation to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq Tuesday night in a historic showdown with Congress over whether the unpopular and costly war should end or escalate. In only the second veto of his presidency, Bush rejected legislation pushed by Democratic leaders that would require the first U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by Oct. 1 with a goal of a complete pullout six months later.

“This is a prescription for chaos and confusion and we must not impose it on our troops,” Bush said in a nationally broadcast statement from the White House. He said the bill would “mandate a rigid and artificial deadline” for troop pullouts, and “it makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing.”

Democrats accused Bush of ignoring American’s desire to stop the war, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,350 members of the military.

“The president wants a blank check,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., moments after Bush’s appearance. “The Congress is not going to give it to him.” She said Congress would work with him to find common ground but added that there was “great distance” between them on Iraq.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Bush has an obligation to explain his plan for responsibly ending the war.

“If the president thinks by vetoing this bill, he’ll stop us from working to change the direction of the war in Iraq, he is mistaken,” Reid said.

Lacking the votes to override the president, Democratic leaders quietly considered what might be included or kept out of their next version of the $124 billion spending bill. Bush will meet with congressional leaders—Democrats and Republicans alike—on Wednesday to discuss a new bill.

Bush said Democrats had made a political statement by passing anti-war legislation. “They’ve sent their message, and now it’s time to put politics behind us and support our troops with the funds,” the president said.

He said the need to act is urgent because without a war-funding bill, the armed forces will have to consider cutting back on buying or repairing equipment.

“Our troops and their families deserve better, and their elected leaders can do better,” Bush said.

“Whatever our differences, surely we can agree that our troops are worthy of this funding and that we have a responsibility to get it to them without further delay,” the president said.

Hunter asks Reid to quit Senate post – Nation/Politics – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper

Duncan Hunter is the man!! It’s about time someone on the right side of the aisle started calling a spade a spade. I find it pretty ironic that after dismissing Hunter as a ‘wannabee’, Reid’s spokesman has the nerve to characterize the letter as ‘lashing out’.

Hunter asks Reid to quit Senate post – Nation/Politics – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper

The ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee has called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resign his leadership post for saying the U.S. has lost the war in Iraq. “This unfortunate statement is both inaccurate and damaging … [and] can have no effect but to demoralize the brave men and women who are honorably fulfilling their mission in Iraq,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter of California in a letter to Mr. Reid. Mr. Hunter, an Army Ranger in the Vietnam War whose son, a Marine, is returning to Iraq for his third combat tour, wrote that his friendship with Mr. Reid is secondary to his obligation to the nation’s wartime military forces. “In light of the fact that this statement has both been used by our adversaries and has exhibited a marked lack of leadership to U.S. troops, I call on you to resign your leadership position,” said Mr. Hunter, who is running for president. Mr. Hunter added that Mr. Reid’s comments “will undoubtedly be used by terrorist leaders to rally their followers — inevitably leading to increased attacks on U.S. and coalition forces.” A spokesman for Mr. Reid declined to respond directly about the letter. “I’m not going to dignify that comment from a presidential wannabe,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said yesterday. Mr. Manley added that if Mr. Hunter is so concerned about winning the war in Iraq he should work with his own party to draft a workable solution instead of “lashing out” at the opposition.

Exit Question: Why are antiwar legislators lauded as ‘providing responsible government oversight’, while those who support our mission are ‘lashing out’? Read responses and discuss in our forum.

‘I found Saddam’s WMDs’.

The Spectator.co.uk

It’s a fair bet that you have never heard of a guy called Dave Gaubatz. It’s also a fair bet that you think the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has found absolutely nothing, nada, zilch; and that therefore there never were any WMD programmes in Saddam’s Iraq to justify the war ostensibly waged to protect the world from Saddam’s use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

Dave Gaubatz, however, says that you could not be more wrong. Saddam’s WMD did exist. He should know, because he found the sites where he is certain they were stored. And the reason you don’t know about this is that the American administration failed to act on his information, ‘lost’ his classified reports and is now doing everything it can to prevent disclosure of the terrible fact that, through its own incompetence, it allowed Saddam’s WMD to end up in the hands of the very terrorist states against whom it is so controversially at war.

You may be tempted to dismiss this as yet another dodgy claim from a warmongering lackey of the world Zionist neocon conspiracy giving credence to yet another crank pushing US propaganda. If so, perhaps you might pause before throwing this article at the cat. Mr Gaubatz is not some marginal figure. He’s pretty well as near to the horse’s mouth as you can get.

Having served for 12 years as an agent in the US Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, Mr Gaubatz, a trained Arabic speaker, was hand-picked for postings in 2003, first in Saudi Arabia and then in Nasariyah in Iraq. His mission was to locate suspect WMD sites, discover threats against US forces in the area and find Saddam loyalists, and then send such intelligence to the Iraq Survey Group and other agencies.

Between March and July 2003, he says, he was taken to four sites in southern Iraq — two within Nasariyah, one 20 miles south and one near Basra — which, he was told by numerous Iraqi sources, contained biological and chemical weapons, material for a nuclear programme and UN-proscribed missiles. He was, he says, in no doubt whatever that this was true.

This was, in the first place, because of the massive size of these sites and the extreme lengths to which the Iraqis had gone to conceal them. Three of them were bunkers buried 20 to 30 feet beneath the Euphrates. They had been constructed through building dams which were removed after the huge subterranean vaults had been excavated so that these were concealed beneath the river bed. The bunker walls were made of reinforced concrete five feet thick.

‘There was no doubt, with so much effort having gone into hiding these constructions, that something very important was buried there’, says Mr Gaubatz. By speaking to a wide range of Iraqis, some of whom risked their lives by talking to him and whose accounts were provided in ignorance of each other, he built up a picture of the nuclear, chemical and biological materials they said were buried underground.

‘They explained in detail why WMDs were in these areas and asked the US to remove them,’ says Mr Gaubatz. ‘Much of this material had been buried in the concrete bunkers and in the sewage pipe system. There were also missile imprints in the area and signs of chemical activity — gas masks, decontamination kits, atropine needles. The Iraqis and my team had no doubt at all that WMDs were hidden there.’