Sixth Anniversary Of Iraq Invasion

Sixth Anniversary Of Iraq Invasion
March 20th, 2009  
Team Infidel

Topic: Sixth Anniversary Of Iraq Invasion

Sixth Anniversary Of Iraq Invasion
March 19, 2009

CBS Evening News, 6:30 PM
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Six years to the day after the U.S. invaded Iraq, a new CBS News poll today shows 64 percent of Americans say the war is going well – up from 43 percent a year ago. But most still say the U.S. should have stayed out.
After tens of thousands of deaths, including more than 4,000 Americans, violence has declined sharply. In the first two months of this year, 33 Americans were killed in Iraq, an 80 percent decrease from two years ago.
But the insurgency remains a deadly threat in Northern Iraq. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan reports on U.S. troops fighting to secure the city of Mosul.
LARA LOGAN: For U.S. soldiers in this part of Iraq, there’s been no let up in the fight. Six years on, Baghdad is calmer, but the city of Mosul is now the most dangerous place in the country.
And this nighttime raid is especially important. The soldiers believe this man and his nephew may be behind the car bomb attack five weeks ago that killed their battalion commander.
What you can’t see here are the Iraqi soldiers who captured the suspects, then handed them over to their U.S. counterparts. They asked not to be identified for fear of being killed.
There are now 600,000 Iraqi security forces, almost double the number two years ago. These days, the Iraqis take the lead on every mission, says the new battalion commander here.
LT. COL. TOM CIPOLLA [1st Calvary Division Battalion Commander]: These are brand new security forces that are learning the hardest lessons that they could possibly learn under fire.
LOGAN: It’s not been easy coming in to lead under these circumstances.
CIPOLLA: This has been kind of a hot, hotbed of insurgent activity.
LOGAN: Tom Cipolla was brought in to replace Lt. Col. Gary Derby. His death hit the soldiers hard. But every day is hard here where the fight, Cipolla says, is mostly against al Qaeda.
CIPOLLA: They have taken advantage of the opportunities that they’ve been given.
LOGAN: Opportunities created by the focus on Baghdad during the surge. That allowed the terrorist group to entrench their hold on Mosul.
CAPT. JOHN BRADLEY [U.S. Army]: This place is not a place to joke, and you stay focused.
LOGAN: U.S. soldiers put up wanted posters as they patrol, covering up the old ones that have been spray-painted by insurgents marking this as their territory.
It’s so deadly now for U.S. troops that even rebuilding work has to be done at night. The difference for these U.S. soldiers is that the clock is ticking. Come June 30th, they are supposed to be off the streets, with the Iraqi forces fully in charge.
This incident shows not all Iraqi soldiers are there yet. An interrogation quickly escalates, and a U.S. soldier is forced to intervene.
But the Iraqi forces have come a long way. This street cleanup project is theirs. It employs young men to keep them from being recruited by terrorists, a new soft approach for an army used to using only force.
All over Iraq, U.S. troops are preparing to leave, but it’s places like Mosul that make commanders cautious about declaring victory just yet. Maggie?
RODRIGUEZ: Lara Logan. Thank you, Lara.
Special Report With Brit Hume (FNC), 6:00 PM
BRET BAIER: Iraqi Sunni and Shiite lawmakers warned that political and economic challenges could derail the country’s progress toward stability on this the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion. Looking back, what has the war accomplished and can the U.S. declare victory?
Correspondent James Rosen takes a look.
JAMES ROSEN: So much has happened in the Iraq war’s 2,190 days that it is difficult in an age of instant messaging and sensory overload to process it all. The disarmingly quick march to Baghdad and euphoria surrounding the toppling of Saddam Hussein masked the tougher challenges and darker days still to come.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.
ROSEN: Arab hatred for occupiers, Sunni-Shi’a violence, al Qaeda’s flooding of the war zone, and a series of poorly executed plans by coalition commanders gravely set back the cause and led some prominent American politicians to declare defeat.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV) [Senate Majority Leader]: The president knows that this war is lost and that the surge is not accomplishing anything.
ROSEN: But the new counterinsurgency plan President Bush announced two years ago did work. Violence plummeted. Militias were disbanded. U.S. and Iraqi casualties dropped 60 percent.
Today, U.S. officials say 17 of Iraq’s 18 political, economic and security benchmarks have been met. So why won’t anyone say the war’s been won?
MAJ. GEN. JOHN KELLY [U.S. Marine Corps]: We are winning, for sure, the war in Iraq.
ROSEN: Until a month ago, Marine Corps Maj. Gen. John Kelly was commander of coalition forces in Western Iraq. He reminds us this has always been an asymmetric war.
KELLY: I hesitate to use the word “win” or “won” against an ideology. I mean, 40 years from now, it’s entirely possible that some extremist al Qaeda type will, you know, set off a bomb in central Baghdad, or for that matter, fly another airplane into the Sears Tower in Chicago. But I will say you could probably declare victory at the point at which the Iraqi security forces, army and police, are shouldering the entire burden. I mean, it’s right around the corner anyways.
ROSEN: Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Fox News America’s fighting men and women require no formal declaration of victory.
DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES: I don’t think they need to be told that they’ve been successful. They know it.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You got the job done.
ROSEN: But the commander-in-chief told the troops at Camp Lejeune anyway before explaining why he thinks victory, a word never used in his speech, remains out of reach.
OBAMA: Violence will continue to be a part of life in Iraq. Too many fundamental political questions about Iraq’s future remain unresolved.
ROSEN: For others, the reluctance to speak of victory may spring from political considerations. Those who voted against the war were more likely today to celebrate its coming conclusion than the enormous accomplishment – a functioning democracy in Baghdad – that the bloodshed produced.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) [House Speaker]: The good news is that our new president has called for an end to the war and a timetable to bring our troops out of Iraq.
ROSEN: Ultimately, definitions of an American victory in Iraq will differ, but the displays of honor and heroism by Americans in Iraq will remain clear to all forever.
In Washington, James Rosen, Fox News.

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