Normal Life Returns to Baghdad, White House Slams Dems for Holding
President George W Bush's White House wishes to set the record
straight. The White House contended on 30 March 2007 that Democrats
were delaying funding troops in Iraq and that the congressional
majority had clearly placed the United States in jeopardy to terrorist
General Barry R. McCaffrey agrees based upon his assessment of Iraq
since progress has turned the nation around in the past two months, and
he said in his report that the current situation in Iraq is "clearly
and measurably improved." The general describes a peaceful Baghdad two
months after stepped-up operations by the United States' military and
Iraq's security forces. The United States invaded Iraq in March
"Fifty-three days after President Bush submitted his Iraq war emergency
supplemental funding proposal, Democrats in Congress have not yet sent
the president a bill he can sign," said White House deputy press
secretary Dana Perino.
Perino declared that military officers were clear to Congress that
consequences in Iraq would be grave if President Bush's spending
request was not approved within the next 10 days. "...And it is
troubling that House Democrats have not even appointed conferees to
resolve the differences between versions passed by the House and
Senate. Instead of playing politics, Democrats should fund the troops
with a bill that does not force retreat, handcuff our commanders, or
contain billions of dollars in pork spending," Perino said.
President Bush claims that he submitted his bill 53 days ago (as of 30
March 2007) and that the request was marked urgent. "Our troops are in
harm's way and engaged with the enemy, and they need the funds," the
president wrote in his memo for the fiscal year 2008 budget. The note
was made on page 1,143.
OMB director Rob Portman said that the White House included war costs
as part of the budget in a more transparent, timely, and comprehensive
way than ever before. "We heard loud and clear from Congress that they
were seeking more transparency and more and better information sooner,
so they could conduct appropriate oversight. And so we've tried to be
responsive to that concern," Portman said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense now claims that the Marine Corps,
and the Army, have been borrowing funds to keep afloat.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace said that
after 15 April 2007, "the Army has told us that they will have to begin
curtailing some training here at home for Guard, Reserve, and for
units, which means that the baseline for those units will be reduced as
far as their capability, and when they're called, it will take them
longer to be ready and could, over time, delay their availability to go
back into combat."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates added too that delaying funds impacts
readiness and the "quality of life for soldiers and their families. I
urge the Congress to pass the supplemental as quickly as possible."
President Bush meanwhile holds steady on his commitment to veto any
bill the Democrats propose in which a timeline is set to pull troops
from Iraq. President Bush said that progress in Iraq has been
tremendous in the past 30 days towards curbing violence across the
General McCaffrey said, "In my judgment, we can still achieve our
objective of: A stable Iraq, at peace with its neighbors, not producing
weapons of mass destruction, and fully committed to a law-based
government," McCaffrey wrote in his report to the White House.
Some 600 so-called "rogue leaders" have been taken-in by military
officials recently and McCaffrey described that many of those fighting
the United States' troops in Iraq have fled to Iran.
McCaffrey said life is returning to normal across Baghdad. "The murder
rate has plummeted. IED attacks on U.S. forces during their formerly
vulnerable daily transits from huge US bases on the periphery of
Baghdad are down -– since these forces are now permanently based in
their operational area," he said of the new strategy to end attacks in
The general suggested too that those who have been called insurgents by
the United States have turned around and have been convinced "they
blundered badly by sitting out the political process. They are also
keenly aware of the fragility of the continued U.S. military presence
that stands between them and a vengeful and overwhelming Shia-Kurdish
majority class – which was brutally treated by Saddam and his cruel
"Reconciliation of the internal warring elements in Iraq will be how we
eventually win the war in Iraq – if it happens. There are encouraging
signs that the peace and participation message does resonate with many
of the more moderate Sunni and Shia warring factions," McCaffrey said.
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