Progress In Iraq




 
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Progress In Iraq
 
February 27th, 2008  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Progress In Iraq


Progress In Iraq
FNC
February 26, 2008
Special Report With Brit Hume (FNC), 6:00 PM
BRIT HUME: As the war in Iraq moves off the front pages, military progress has now been accompanied by political progress. The question now is how many American troops are required to enforce the peace and keep the Iraqi government on course.
National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports on what lead U.S. General in Iraq David Petraeus is saying.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN: The last time Gen. Petraeus came to Washington, the mantra among war critics was, okay, the surge may be working, but political progress isn’t keeping up. The Iraqi parliament, the argument went, wasn’t passing the benchmark legislation needed for reconciliation among Sunnis and Shi’as. Garnering little attention here in Washington, now the Iraqi parliament has passed three key laws.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS [Multi-National Force-Iraq Commander]: (From tape.) White smoke came out of the chimney and not just one law, but all three have been approved and they were approved by a deal.
GRIFFIN: An amnesty law for Sunni Ba’athists; a provincial elections law that says local elections must be held before October 1st; and the government now has a budget and one national flag flying over all 18 provinces for the first time.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News inside the Green Zone, Gen. Petraeus gave us an early indication of what he will be telling Congress when he returns in April about whether troops can continue coming home after July.
PETRAEUS: (From tape.) There is every intent to continue the reductions. We are keenly aware of the strategic context in which we’re operating, that there are concerns about other locations besides just Iraq that the strain that has been put on our ground forces in particular has been substantial.
GRIFFIN: But he says the situation in Iraq is fragile and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
PETRAEUS: (From tape.) There’s a lot of tough work ahead. We’re not doing victory dances in the end zone.
GRIFFIN: The real fight now is not between the Bush administration and Congress, but a tug of war between the generals – Pentagon brass who want to continue drawing down from Iraq and sending more forces to Afghanistan, and Petraeus, the general in charge of Iraq, who thinks that’s a bad idea.
Army Chief General George Casey, among those concerned if the Army doesn’t draw down that the long tours will cause the Army to break, told Congress today even if President Bush sides with Petraeus and pauses the drawdown in July, the Army will announce shorter tours.
GEN. GEORGE CASEY [Army Chief of Staff]: (From tape.) It would be our goal at that point to return to 12 months versus 15 months. The troop levels – brigade levels stay at 15 brigade combat teams.
CONGRESSMAN: (From tape.) Right.
CASEY: (From tape.) We believe it will still be possible.
GRIFFIN: Even with a pause, he said. Sources tell Fox News an announcement could come around the time that Petraeus addresses Congress and may be made by the president himself as a peace offering to anti-war critics.
Gen. James Conway, the commandant of the Marines, is another Pentagon service chief who wants to see stress on the force reduced. He told Fox he went to Iraq last week with a rough number in mind for next January’s troop levels, but admitted he changed his mind after talking to his commanders in Anbar.
GEN. JAMES CONWAY [U.S. Marine Corps Commandant]: (From tape.) Ten is a good number. I’ll tell you why it’s a good number for us. At ten brigades in regiments, that means one Marine regiment potentially could come out of Iraq. What I – I am shifting my thinking a little bit about the potential value of an assessment.
GRIFFIN: Otherwise known as a pause in troop withdrawals from Iraq after July when the 20 brigades in theater will be down to 15, a 25 percent cut. No one in Iraq talks about being caught in the middle of a civil war anymore because there isn’t one. This battle has moved to Washington.
Traveling with the Marine commandant in Iraq, Jennifer Griffin, Fox News.
 


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