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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
BUSH CONTINUES TO SUGAR COAT "PROGRESS" IN IRAQ

President Bush spoke to a friendly audience at the Naval Academy in
Annapolis recently where he touted the "progress" in Iraq while
ignoring the miscalculations, missteps, and harsh realities on the
ground. Today, President Bush spoke again on the reconstruction of
Iraq, the area most neglected by this Administration. Will Bush
acknowledge his Administration's failure to plan for and lack of
progress in rebuilding Iraq?

"THE FUTURE IS MURKY"

"For Every Step Forward... At Least One Step Back." After President
Bush's speech last week in Annapolis, MD on Iraq, Knight-Ridder
reported, "How's it going over there? The short answer: It's a mess....
for every step forward, there seems at least one step back, and the
future is murky."
[Knight Ridder, Miami Herald, 12/4/05]

Only 1 out of 120 Army and Police Battalions Can Fight On Their Own.
"Iraqis are far from ready to take over. Their performance is uneven;
their loyalties are questionable, and they remain heavily dependent on
American troops.... Of the 120 army and police battalions that have
undergone training, 40 are good enough to take the lead in joint
operations with U.S. troops. One is considered good enough to operate
with complete independence."
[Knight Ridder, Miami Herald, 12/4/05]

* Bush's Speech "Dismissed" Reports of Problems in Iraq. "Bush
dismissed the significance of a report by U.S. commanders earlier this
year that only one Iraqi battalion - down from three - was at 'Level
One' capability, meaning it could operate entirely on its own. 'Level
One' is a military readiness measure requiring independent transport,
logistics, intelligence and other functions that even some units in the
militaries of NATO allies lack, he said."
[Dallas Morning News, 12/1/05]

* Militias Are Being Given Control And Settling Old Scores. "Bush
pointed out that Iraqis have taken over security in some parts of
country. What he didn't say is that some cities, including Najaf and
Karbala, have been turned over to Shiite militias. 'Under the guise of
providing general security for various areas of Iraq, they are, in
fact, settling old scores,' said Sen. Richard Lugar,
R-Ind....Insurgents are killing Iraqi security forces at a rate of 214
a month, up from 160 a month in the last half of last year."
[Knight Ridder, Miami Herald, 12/4/05]

General McCaffrey: Ministries of Defense Corrupt; Iraqi Forces A "Mixed
Bag." "'The ministries of defense are corrupt and incompetent, and
that's a challenge to us,' General McCaffrey said. Iraqi forces are 'a
mixed bag,' he added. 'They're infiltrated by the insurgents. They've
got no armor. They're not a force that's ready to conduct their own,
unilateral stability operations.'"
[Dallas Morning News, 12/1/05]
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: OT THE NOT SO REAL DEAL ON IRAQ -- BUSH CONTINUES TO BE LIED ABOUT

Here's the entire Dallas Morning News article.

Notice how only the negative was cherry picked:

Progress on the march; can pitfalls be avoided?
Experts say Iraqi forces making gains with U.S. help, though religious,
ethnic tensions could derail them



09:45 PM CST on Wednesday, November 30, 2005
By RICHARD WHITTLE / The Dallas Morning News


WASHINGTON – Analysts say U.S. trainers are making major progress in
creating new Iraqi security forces, as President Bush asserted Wednesday,
but the effort could shatter along religious and ethnic fault lines.

"If we pulled out too quickly, I can see this degenerating into a civil
war," said retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who made a fact-finding trip
to Iraq in June for the Senate.

Gen. McCaffrey said that he doesn't expect a civil war but that "this is
risky business."

Mr. Bush used a speech at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., to
declare that his strategy of creating Iraqi forces to take over for U.S.
troops fighting Sunni Muslim insurgents is working.

"The training of the Iraqi security forces is an enormous task, and it
always hasn't gone smoothly," Mr. Bush said. "We all remember the reports
of some Iraqi security forces running from the fight more than a year
ago."

But "now there are over 120 Iraqi army and police combat battalions in the
fight against the terrorists," he added. "Of these, about 80 Iraqi
battalions are fighting side by side with coalition forces, and about 40
others are taking the lead in the fight."

Mr. Bush dismissed the significance of a report by U.S. commanders this
year that only one Iraqi battalion – down from three – was at "Level One"
capability, meaning it could operate entirely on its own.

"Level One" is a military readiness measure requiring independent
transport, logistics, intelligence and other functions that even some
units in the militaries of NATO allies lack, he said.

Making gains
Military analysts and critics agreed that U.S. forces and their Iraqi
trainees have made giant strides in the months since the administration
made them a top priority last year.

The number of trained and equipped members of the Iraqi security forces,
including military, police and other units, is about 212,000, according to
administration figures. There are about 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, a
number the administration hopes to reduce next year.

As Mr. Bush noted, a recent assault on the insurgent stronghold of Tal
Afar was led by 11 Iraqi battalions backed by five from the U.S. A year
ago, during the assault on Fallujah in a similar situation, nine U.S.
battalions led the fight, with six Iraqi battalions in support.

But the analysts cautioned that Iraqi forces are likely to need help from
the U.S. military for at least an additional two to five years to combat
indigenous insurgents and foreign Islamic extremists.

And some see a risk of civil war in reports that some units among the
Iraqi forces, mainly drawn from the Shiite Muslim majority, are operating
as de facto militias, exacting revenge on Sunnis who ran the country under
Saddam Hussein and have attacked Shiites since then.

"The problem with the Iraqi forces is not really training, it's
motivation," said Lawrence Korb, an analyst with the left-leaning Center
for American Progress who was assistant secretary of defense for personnel
under President Ronald Reagan.

"The loyalty is to the religion and the tribe rather than the whole
country. I'll bet you if you got into some of the units that are doing
well, they're Shia, because they don't mind fighting the Sunnis."

U.S. forces recently uncovered a secret Baghdad prison in an Interior
Ministry building where dozens of prisoners were allegedly beaten and
worse. The interior minister is Bayn Jabr, a Shiite with ties to the Badr
Organization, a sectarian militia backed by Iran that is accused of
running the secret prison.

Interior Ministry officials have denied the torture allegations.

Kurdish paramilitaries, or peshmerga, have also supplied some of the
military's most effective troops.

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who ran the effort to create Iraqi security
forces from June 2004 through September, said recently that the Iraqi
interior and defense ministries are making an effort "to ensure that the
Iraqi forces represent the population at large."

"The Sunni Arab intimidation in the period of November through February
was a challenge," Gen. Petraeus told a Washington audience. "Forces that
were generated during that time obviously would have a much higher Shia
mix than would the representation of the population."

After the Jan. 30 elections, however, some Sunni imams issued fatwas
announcing "that it was the duty of Sunni Arab males to serve in their
country's military forces," he added, and several thousand Sunnis were
recruited in succeeding months.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said he suspected that Mr. Bush emphasized the
progress in creating Iraqi security forces "because at least he has a
checklist of accomplishments he can cite."

"When you get into the area of political development and particularly
economic reconstruction, it's a much bleaker picture," Mr. Reed said at a
news conference.

Mr. Bush was "overly optimistic" about the readiness of Iraqi forces, and
"he failed to point out some of the internal tensions within Iraqi
security," said Mr. Reed, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger who
sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Noting that some Iraqi battalions were made up almost entirely of Shiites
or Kurds, Mr. Reed said there are questions about whose orders such troops
would follow.

"It is not yet a coherent, fully integrated national army," he said.
"That's a long task ahead."

What to expect
Gen. McCaffrey, a U.S. Army commander in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, said
the ethnic divisions among Iraqi forces posed risks but need not doom the
project, especially since the insurgency is centered in four of Iraq's
Sunni provinces.

By the end of next year, the members of Iraqi forces should number roughly
250,000, he said, though the road ahead is strewn with hurdles.

"The ministries of defense are corrupt and incompetent, and that's a
challenge to us," Gen. McCaffrey said.

Iraqi forces are "a mixed bag," he added. "They're infiltrated by the
insurgents. They've got no armor. They're not a force that's ready to
conduct their own, unilateral stability operations."

But he predicted that by next summer, "There'll be a substantial security
force in Iraq, and probably quite capable of maintaining order in 85
percent of the country."

E-mail [email protected]
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: OT THE NOT SO REAL DEAL ON IRAQ -- BUSH CONTINUES TO BE LIED ABOUT

The entire Miami Herald article,

Notice how it was cherry picked:


Posted on Sun, Dec. 04, 2005



R E L A T E D C O N T E N T

Chuck Kennedy, Knight Ridder Tribune
President George W. Bush speaks about the war in Iraq at the U.S. Naval
Academy in Annapolis, Md.





U.S. has a long way to go to achieve objectives in Iraq

By RON HUTCHESON

Knight Ridder Newspapers



WASHINGTON — President Bush has laid out his markers for victory in Iraq,
which raises an obvious question: How's it going over there?


The short answer: It's a mess. But that doesn't mean the effort is doomed
to failure.


There are signs of progress amid the carnage, but for every step forward,
there seems at least one step back, and the future is murky. Even some of
the most pessimistic analysts admit that things still could work out. And
most optimists acknowledge the risk of failure.


Here's a snapshot of conditions in the three broad areas that Bush
outlined in Wednesday's speech at the U.S. Naval Academy and in his
accompanying 35-page "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." Indicators
in all three areas - political reform, security and economic
reconstruction - show a mixed picture, at best.


POLITICAL REFORM:


National and provincial elections set for Dec. 15 will be a crucial test
of Iraq's ability to form the kind of "free, representative government"
that Bush envisions and that would mark a first in the Arab Middle East.


"All of the key political issues are now on the table," national security
specialist Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International
Studies wrote in a Nov. 29 analysis. "If this political process fails,
there may be civil war or the country may be divided."


A key unanswered question is whether Sunni Muslim Arabs - the privileged
group in Saddam Hussein's regime and the backbone of the current
insurgency - will vote and join the political process. Another is whether
Iraq's majority Shiite Muslims will offer Sunnis an incentive to stay on
board, mainly by cutting them into the stream of Iraq's oil wealth, which
is under Shiite and Kurdish lands.




Most Sunnis sat out the first round of parliamentary elections last
January, when 8.5 million Iraqis turned out to select a temporary
government dominated by rival Shiites and Kurds.


Sunni participation improved in October, when 10 million Iraqis approved a
new constitution, but many went to the polls to torpedo the political
framework and they failed. The hope now is that promises of a meaningful
role in the new permanent government will lure them into politics and away
from the insurgency.


Right now, there are only 17 Sunni Arabs in the 275-member National
Assembly. That's about 6 percent, well below their 20 percent share of the
population.




Tensions between Sunnis and Shiites are high, aggravated again last month
by the discovery of an interrogation facility in the Interior Ministry.
Evidence indicates that Shiite guards from an Iranian-backed militia
routinely abused and sometimes tortured Sunni prisoners.




The discovery came amid other evidence of Shiite death squads and
intimidation directed at Sunnis. Sunni bomb attacks have killed thousands
of Shiites.




The real challenge may come after the elections, when the winners will
have to establish a government that satisfies all the major groups.
Encouraging signs - the emergence of competing political parties, the
rapid growth of independent media outlets and the robust public debate -
mean little if Iraqis can't bridge their ethnic and religious differences.



SECURITY:


U.S. troops have made significant progress in training Iraqi security
forces, but the Iraqis are far from ready to take over. Their performance
is uneven, their loyalties are questionable and they remain heavily
dependent on American troops.


Of the 120 army and police battalions that have undergone training, only
40 are good enough to take the lead in joint operations with U.S. troops.
Only one is considered good enough to operate with complete independence.





American officials have declined to provide details on the ethnic makeup
of security forces, but many units are either all Shiites or all Kurds. In
addition, heavily armed sectarian militias wield considerable influence.




Bush pointed out that Iraqis have taken over security in some parts of
country. What he didn't say is that some cities, including Najaf and
Karbala, have been turned over to Shiite militias.


"Under the guise of providing general security for various areas of Iraq
they are, in fact, settling old scores," said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.




While most of the violence in Iraq is limited to four of the country's 18
provinces, the hotspots encompass about 42 percent of the population. Six
other provinces have experienced attacks in recent months.




The ability of terrorists and insurgents to strike seemingly at will
heightens the sense of insecurity. Insurgents are killing Iraqi security
forces at a rate of 214 a month, up from 160 a month in the last half of
2004. Islamic extremists continue to flock to Iraq through Syria and Iran.
Eight-four American troops died in Iraq in November, 72 of them from enemy
attacks.




Violence is expected to spike before the Dec. 15 elections. Ten Marines
died in a single blast Thursday.


On a more positive note, there are signs that Iraqis are fed up with
foreign fighters.


U.S. officials say tips about suspected terrorist activity have increased
steadily, from about 500 a month in March to 4,700 in November. One recent
tip led to a terrorist bomb factory stocked with about a dozen 500-pound
bombs and 4,000 pounds of explosives.


Still, the insurgency appears to be as strong as ever. Estimates of
insurgent strength - somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 in a nation of 27
million - haven't changed in well over a year.




"The success and cohesion of the Iraqi force-development effort is no more
certain than Iraqi political success," Cordesman concluded. "Both have to
make significant progress by the summer of 2006 if the coalition is to
have a reason to stay."


ECONOMIC RECONSTRUCTION:


Despite improvements, Iraq's economy and its infrastructure remain in
shambles.


Oil production, the most important source of income, has decreased from a
high of 2.5 million barrels a day in September 2004 to less than 2 million
barrels a day, primarily because of terrorist attacks and deteriorating
infrastructure. That's less than before the war.


Gas lines, unheard-of before the war, are back in Baghdad after
disappearing for a while. Efforts to establish the rule of law are
colliding with corruption and lawlessness.


Security problems have hamstrung efforts to rebuild the electrical system,
oil industry and other infrastructure. Only about $3 billion of the $13.5
billion in foreign pledges to Iraq has been spent. In any case, the
pledged amount is far short of the $27 billion that the World Bank says
Iraq needs for infrastructure.




Electricity generation is essentially back to prewar levels, but
persistent blackouts have become a major source of frustration. The demand
for power is up, driven by a spurt in sales of air conditioners and other
electrical devices.


Unemployment estimates range from 27 percent to 40 percent. The inflation
rate is about 20 percent, down from 32 percent last year and roughly the
same as the prewar level. Economic growth is projected at 3.7 percent this
year, which isn't good enough in a poor country with high unemployment.




On the bright side is a brisk consumer economy. Before the war, fewer than
900,000 Iraqis had telephones. Cellular phones were unavailable. Now there
are more than 4.5 million phones, including some 3 million cell phones.
Internet subscriptions have jumped from 4,500 before the U.S. invasion to
more than 147,000.




Nearly 90 companies have registered with the new stock market since it
opened in April 2004.


U.S. officials say 30,000 new businesses have opened, although countless
others in troubled areas have closed.


Knight Ridder correspondent Nancy A. Youssef contributed to this report.
 
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