President Bush is planning a treaty with Iraq, to be finalized next summer, which will have the practical effect of handing the war and the president’s tactics to his successor as a fait accompli. Whoever the next president is, it will be very tough to disentangle us from the war.
As for the war, there are a couple of fascinating developments. The surge is working, maybe only temporarily, but it is working. Violence has fallen dramatically; large areas of Baghdad are something close to normal; and the refugees have begun to return.
A former top US commander in Iraq has thrown his support behind a war funding bill proposed by Democrats that calls for withdrawing most combat troops by the end of next year.
Retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez says in remarks to be aired Saturday in the Democrats’ weekly radio address that Iraqi leaders are not making the tough decisions needed to bring peace to their country.
“The keys to securing the future of Iraq are aggressive regional diplomacy, political reconciliation and economic hope,” Sanchez, who led US forces in Iraq between 2003-2004, says in excerpts of his remarks.
Baghdad is returning to something like a semblance of normalcy, at least as “normal” is measured in the Iraqi capital, according to major U.S. news organizations.
The New York Times reports that days now go by without car bombs. The number of bodies found on Baghdad streets has fallen to about five a day, down from about 35 eight months ago. And suicide bombings have fallen by half nationwide.
The first big test of security gains linked to the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq is at hand. The military has started to reverse the 30,000-strong troop increase and commanders are hoping the drop in insurgent and sectarian violence in recent months — achieved at the cost of hundreds of lives — won’t prove fleeting.
The first two Americans to die in the Vietnam conflict. The first of 58,000 more to come.
Retired generals, veterans, mothers, daughters, sons and widows began reading each of the 58,256 names etched on the black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Wednesday, part of the memorial’s 25th-anniversary celebration.
“The names have become the memorial,” said Jan Scruggs, the veteran who in 1979 started pushing for the creation of the Wall. He is the president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Monday, the U.S. military said, making 2007 the deadliest year for U.S. forces in the country.
The deaths, one of the highest daily tolls in weeks, took the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq this year to 853. The worst previous year was 2004, when 849 deaths were recorded.
In total, 3,856 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The total cost, including debt servicing, of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could reach 2.4 trillion dollars by 2017, a non-partisan estimate found Wednesday, sparking fresh political rancor.
The report by the Congressional Budget Office flared tempers two days after President George W. Bush angered anti-war Democrats by requesting nearly 200 billion dollars more in emergency war funding.
The White House brushed off the estimate as speculation, but admitted that it did not know how much the war would cost.
Theodore Roosevelt is much on our minds in Newport, R.I., with the centennial of the Great White Fleet’s epic world cruise fast approaching. (The fleet departed Hampton Roads in December 1907.) But the Roosevelt era can also inform the strident debate over Iraq. In recent weeks, President Bush proclaimed that abandoning Iraq would set in motion a bloodletting comparable to the one following the Vietnam War.
Similarly, Army Gen. David Petraeus cautioned Congress against an abrupt pullout.
In all likelihood, TR would echo these warnings.
Few prospects are more disturbing than an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to New York did nothing to allay our concerns, despite his insistence that his country is interested in nuclear power only for electrical generation.
President Bush has been clear on this point: The United States will use any means necessary to prevent Iran’s development of a nuclear arsenal. Since no options are “off the table,” the military option is definitely “on.” In fact, war is in the air.
Sixty-three U.S. military deaths were reported in September, the lowest monthly toll since July 2006, according to U.S. forces and a preliminary count by The Associated Press.
A U.S. soldier was killed Sunday in a small-arms attack during combat operations in eastern Baghdad, the military said Monday. The soldier, whose name was withheld pending notification of relatives, was assigned to the Multi-National Division-Baghdad. In July 2006, 43 American soldiers were killed, according to an AP count.