"Three years after President Bush declared major combat over in Iraq, Americans have strong doubts that the United States will fulfill the promise of his "Mission Accomplished" backdrop, a poll released Monday found.
The CNN poll, conducted April 21-23 by Opinion Research Corporation, found that only 9 percent thought the U.S. mission in Iraq had been accomplished, while another 40 percent believed it would be complete someday.
Another 44 percent said the United States would never accomplish its goals in Iraq, where American troops are still battling insurgents three years after the invasion that toppled former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein."
[CNN | May 01, 2006]
US Troop fatalities trending down since Nov. 05, wounded troops trending down even further.
Insurgent attacks tended to be concentrated (85%) in 4 of 18 provinces
Eight of Iraq's 18 provinces are dangerously unstable and violent, not just the four usually cited.
A Government Accountability Office report, based on recent State Department and U.S. military assessments in Iraq, suggests the country is on a downward slope. Insurgent attacks increased 23 percent between 2004 and 2005, and oil, electricity and water services are all below pre-invasion levels.
The Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords were born decades ago in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. Now, their gang graffiti is showing up 6,400 miles away in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods -- Iraq.
Of paramount concern is whether gang-affiliated soldiers' training will make them deadly urban warriors when they return to civilian life and if some are using their access to military equipment to supply gangs at home, said Barfield and other experts.
"On the third anniversary of President Bush’s declaration of the end of major combat operations underneath a 'mission accomplished' banner, a new poll of Iraqis conducted in late March 2006 for the International Republican Institute offers grim reminders of the troubles regular Iraqis continue to face.
– Less secure. The vast majority of Iraqis – 76 percent – rate their security situation as 'poor.' More than half of all Iraqis (55 percent) say the security situation has gotten worse in the last three months, a 26-point increase since last fall.
– More divided. Six in 10 (62 percent) of Iraqis say that the country is more divided than in the past.
– Facing economic freefall. Fully three quarters of Iraqis (76 percent) say that wages have gotten worse in the last three months, a stunning 58-point increase since last fall.
– More corrupt. Nearly seven in 10 Iraqis (68 percent) say that corruption has gotten worse in the last three months, a 19-point increase since last fall."
Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament. And in order to disarm, it would mean regime change. I'm confident we'll be able to achieve that objective, in a way that minimizes the loss of life. No doubt there's risks in any military operation; I know that. But it's very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won't change. Our mission is precisely what I just stated.
"The State Department's annual report on global terrorism, released Friday, concludes that the number of reported terrorist incidents and deaths has increased exponentially in the three years since the United States invaded Iraq, largely because of Iraq itself.
The report also said that although the United States had made some gains in fighting terrorism, Al Qaeda and its affiliate groups remained a grave threat to U.S. national security at home and abroad — both in Iraq and elsewhere.
Of potentially greater concern, the government said, is mounting evidence that small, autonomous cells and individuals are becoming more active. Such 'micro-actors' are engaging in more suicide bombings, and using increasingly sophisticated technologies to communicate, organize and plot their attacks, including the Internet, satellite communications and international commerce, according to the 292-page report."
[L.A. Times | April 29, 2006]
the London bombings could only be tangentially related to Iraq
The war in Iraq contributed to the radicalisation of the July 7 London bombers and is likely to continue to provoke extremism among British Muslims, according to reports based on secret assessments by security and intelligence chiefs.
In full retreat, the war's opponents have now taken up new defensive positions: "Yes, it was a military victory, but you haven't found Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction." Or, "Yes, we destroyed Saddam's regime, but now other dictators will try even harder to develop weapons of mass destruction to make sure they will not fall to some future American preemptive strike."
Q: Havoc. He used the word havoc today, could he, would he, possibly stand under a sign that says Mission Accomplished today, as he did three years ago?
McClellan: Well, I think that there are some Democrats that refuse to recognize the important milestone achieved by the formation of a national unity government. And there’s an effort simply to distract attention away from the real progress that is being made by misrepresenting and distorting the past. And that really does nothing to help advance our goal of achieving victory in Iraq.
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