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 Saturday, May 14, 2005

America's War in Iraq Getting WORSE, US Administration in Denial

  Read here full article by Michael Gawenda

by Michael Gawenda

May 14, 2005

Edited article

Two weeks ago, President George Bush said US troops were making "good progress" in Iraq and Iraqi security forces were "performing much better".

But the carnage in Iraq continues.

In the past two weeks, 400 Iraqis have died and 1000 have been injured in attacks, many of them by suicide bombers who seem to have targeted not just Iraqi security forces and army recruits, but ordinary Iraqis, more or less at random.

In Iraq, near the border with Syria, US soldiers were fighting fierce battles against well armed and apparently well trained followers of the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The US Library of Congress estimates 6000 Iraqis have been killed and 16,000 injured in attacks by insurgents in the past two years.

Almost 1700 US soldiers have been killed and thousands more injured in Iraq.

President Bush refused to speculate on when there could be reductions in US troops in Iraq.

He repeated the Administration's position that any hint of a timetable would encourage the insurgents to keep fighting. (Yet), in January officials were talking about the beginning of a withdrawal of US forces some time this year.

Now there are contradictory statements about whether the resistance is waning and whether Iraqi security forces will be able to take on the brunt of the fight against the insurgency any time soon.

At a recent joint press conference, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, were asked if the battle against the insurgency and against "foreign" terrorists was being won.

General Myers said that despite the increase in violence, the US was making progress.He added:

"I think we're definitely winning.

I think we've been winning for some time. It's right where it was a year ago".

Mr Rumsfeld avoided the question, by saying:

"Winning or losing is not the issue in my view, in the traditional, conventional context of using the word 'winning' and 'losing' in a war.

The people that are going to defeat that insurgency are going to be the Iraqis."

Observers were surprised that Mr Rumsfeld was prepared to so publicly contradict his top military officer.

A classified report to Congress by General Myers that was leaked to The New York Times.

It warned the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had made it more difficult for the US military to deal with "future acts of aggression", stage a pre-emptive strike or intervene to prevent conflict in other parts of the world.

This week, Congress unanimously passed legislation to provide an extra $US82 billion ($107 billion) in emergency funding for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The cost of these wars now exceeds $US300 billion. Many observers believe there will be further requests for money before the end of the year.

Some analysts are saying that the violence of recent weeks shows there is no end in sight to the US presence in the country.

After a surge of support for the war in Iraq after its elections in January, the escalating death toll has soured public opinion.

Almost 60 per cent of respondents in the latest Gallup poll said the war was a mistake.

Some of the Administration's stalwart supporters are disturbed that Americans are increasingly anxious about the US involvement in Iraq.

Writing in the conservative Weekly Standard, its editor, Bill Kristol, said the fact that a clear majority of Americans think it was not worth going to war in Iraq was disturbing.

"Perhaps most striking has been the silence of the Bush Administration in explaining the significance of the developments in Iraq and the Middle East," he said.

But while senior Administration officials like Donald Rumsfeld argue that the war against the insurgents cannot be "won" by US forces, support for the intervention in Iraq will continue to wane.

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