Normal Life Returns to Baghdad, White House Slams Dems for Holding Back Funds  :  Published April  2007 All Rights Reserved


Normal Life Returns to Baghdad, White House Slams Dems for Holding Back Funds

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 threats.

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 2003.

"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 country.

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 Iraq's capital.

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 regime."

"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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