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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Dems pledge increased pressure on Bush

President Bush (AP Photo)Even as Pentagon planners search for ways to shift the Iraq mission from combat to support with fewer U.S. troops, Democrats plan to raise their pressure on President Bush to end U.S. involvement in the unpopular war.

Bush signed a war spending bill late Friday that does not set a date for U.S. troop withdrawals. It was a defeat for Democrats who want the president to start pulling troops out of Iraq — an idea roundly rejected by administration officials.

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Clintons’ buddy sued over plane trips

Sen. Hillary Clinton (AP)A longtime Clinton benefactor used corporate jets to fly the former president and Hillary Rodham Clinton on business, personal and campaign trips that a lawsuit brands as wasteful company spending.

The supporter, Vinod Gupta, also secured contracts worth more than $3 million for Bill Clinton to provide consulting services to Gupta's Nebraska-based company, infoUSA, from 2003 through 2008, according to the suit.

Since 2002, Gupta spent $900,000 flying the former president to international locations on presidential foundation business and flying Hillary Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York, to political events.

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Iraq’s bloody toll haunts Memorial Day

Mourning the dead (AP)
Anthony Martini of Chicago, mourns his brother, Marine Lance Cpl. Philip John Martini while visiting a memorial of over 3400 pairs of boots representing the U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq (AP).

Americans have opened nearly 1,000 new graves to bury U.S. troops killed in Iraq since Memorial Day a year ago. The figure is telling — and expected to rise in coming months.

In the period from Memorial Day 2006 through Saturday, 980 soldiers and Marines died in Iraq, compared to 807 deaths in the previous year. And with the Baghdad security operation now 3 1/2 months old, even President Bush has predicted a difficult summer for U.S. forces.

"It could be a bloody — it could be a very difficult August," he said last week.

U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus on Saturday acknowledged the increase in casualties as a result of the American surge in forces to regain control of Baghdad.

"We're doing heavy fighting. This is a fight. There's a war on out there," he told reporters at al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq.

Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst with the Brookings Institution and a consultant to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, said the increased casualties were a result of the security operation.

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