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    Iraqi Realities

    The combat-related deaths of 33 U.S. soldiers and a Polish officer so far this months are a sobering reminder that Saddam Hussein's diehards are desperate to thwart America's commitment to build a free Iraq. Saturday's deadly suicide attack in Riyadh was yet another reminder of the ruthlessness of terrorism.

    As George W. Bush made clear in a speech last Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, the stakes in the war on terror are very high, nothing less than whether peace and democracy can be established in the Middle East. But there was good news as well for American commanders in Iraq. The president signed an $87 billion supplemental aid package for Iraq to back up his vow to create a democracy.

    American soldiers in Iraq are waging a campaign fought as much with dollars as weapons. The fresh funds are needed to fix roads and rebuild schools, among other projects. "We're in a footrace" for popular support, said Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division, which controls Baghdad.


    Reported crime in the Iraqi capital this year.

    Murder 92 75 54 24
    Kidnapping 29 28 27 11
    Aggravated Assault 135 118 90 40

    Who's winning? The men who take potshots at GIs want television viewers to get the impression the Americans can never finish this race. But the largely ignored story of recent weeks is of life slowly coming back to normal in Iraq. Electricity output is at pre-war levels and despite sabotage, oil production at four-fifths of that before Baghdad fell in April. Schools are full. No longer short on medicine, 240 hospitals are now open, as are 24 universities. The U.S. supplemental appropriation will help create jobs through public works projects. Anarchy in Baghdad and other big cities? Well, violent crime in Baghdad is down 39% the last two months, as the nearby chart indicates.

    This progress is neither sufficient nor necessarily deep-rooted. The U.S.-funded Iraqi television channel gets dismal reviews, leaving al Jazeera and other Arabic satellite channels to shape public opinion. The U.S. was too slow in handing responsibility for security over to Iraqis. As a result, Iraq has only half the border police it needs. The new Iraqi Civil Defense Corps has 12 battalions up out of 36 planned. Baghdad has 6,000 policemen -- a big reason for the drop in crime in the capital -- but needs 18,000.

    But the spike in American casualties must be viewed in light of very real changes on the ground. As poll after poll shows, most Iraqis realize their future welfare depends on American success. Baath Party thugs, in league with Islamic terrorists and the despots in Syria and Iran, equally know their chances to restore tyranny depends on American failure. As life gets better for Iraqis, the attacks on American troops may in fact grow in number, L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, tells us in Baghdad. "They see where things are going," he says, referring to the terrorists.

    That doesn't make the daily death toll any less frustrating for American leaders. Roadside bombs and rocket attacks can only be stopped with intelligence and solid police work -- and both need to be better. The attacks are growing in sophistication. Insurgents are placing bombs along rail tracks, a more strategic target than American patrols.

    U.S. intelligence also notices better organization and control up top. Eight to 10 cells in Baghdad, made up of around 25 people each, organize the attacks in the capital, says Gen. Dempsey. Some criminal groups, hardly keen on improved rule of law in Iraq, are going into the business of making the improvised bombs. "In many ways, what we're up against is a Mafia-like organization," says Walter Slocombe, the outgoing security adviser to the U.S.-led coalition.

    Weapons and fighters are crossing the Syrian and Iranian borders. Spy planes recently caught trucks moving explosives from Iran, which coalition commanders say wants to stir up trouble in southern, Shiite-dominated Iraq. About 500 to 1,000 foreign fighters are in Iraq, officials estimate, adding the recent spate of suicide bombs in Baghdad are likely the work of Islamic fanatics.

    Yet for all the talk about an insurgency, there's no leader or visible grassroots support. Ninety percent of the attacks are in the "Sunni triangle" north of Baghdad, home to the minority tribes that ruled Iraq under Saddam. Three-quarters of the assaults are conducted for pay, according to military estimates. Iraq has no shortage of poor and unemployed; recall that Saddam also released 100,000 criminals from prison before the war.

    America's enemies understand the U.S. can win this war against despotism and terror on the ground in Iraq. That's why they're trying to maximize the exposure on U.S. television screens. Both friend and foe are acutely sensitive to American presidential politics. President Bush couldn't have sent a stronger message last week that the U.S. won't settle for anything less than success. Unfortunately, some of his rivals for the top job are singing a very different tune, giving America's enemies in Iraq renewed hope.

    Perseverance is essential. The war will take a further toll. But as the president said last week, true peace is a goal worth fighting for.

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  • #2
    Iraqi realities

    Good point also to point out that the News stations that report the news from IRAQ only tell about the deaths that are occuring and not the good that is comming out of this. Sad but true. And so you all know my brother has recently been sent to Iraq. He is in a Security Forces Squad in the AF.
    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    "Don't try to re-invent the wheel"


    • #3
      I think I remember seeing that number of U.S. casualties before. Where was that...? Oh yeah, it was the first 10 seconds of D-Day.

      Give me a few minutes and I'll post just some of the good things that are happening in Iraq that the media doesn't report.


      • #4
        Here is some of the other "news" from Iraq that is never reported by anyone in the press including Fox News. I'm sorry its long but its worth reading. The first 1/2 of this is dated @ near the end of Oct.


        Financial Markets
        • Rafidain and Rasheed Banks reopen over 280 branches across the country
        • Installation completed for 76 of 80 inter-bank payment systems; systems will be operational as soon as employee training is complete
        • Currency exchange is proceeding well; one newspaper referred to the new Dinar as the "Liberation Dinar"
        • Private Sector Development
        • National Employment Program in public works sector will generate 100,000 jobs per quarter; pilot program has already generated 9,100 jobs
        • Legal experts to review key commercial laws related to impact trade, investment, and commercial activity; make re-legislation recommendations to create investor friendly, market-driven economic legal framework

        Donor's Conference
        • United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund estimate costs to build Iraqi infrastructure at $50 - 75B
        • Received between $14-19 billion in pledges at Donor's Conference


        • 19 Sep: Council of Judges established to supervise judicial and prosecutorial systems (began 04 Oct) - provides independent judiciary
        • Oct: Constitutional Prep Committee submits a report with three options to choose Convention - favors direct election of representatives
        • Next 90 days: Enhanced capacity for elections; determine method to choose Constitutional Convention International Recognition
        • 16 Oct: The United Nations Security Council approves a resolution inviting the Governing Council to submit a timetable by 15 Dec for drafting a new constitution and holding democratic elections
        • 21-23 Oct: Iraqi delegates attend Madrid Donors' Conference


        Iraqi Security Force:

        Border Police:
        Operating: 6.5K
        Required: 11.8K

        Operating: 60.4K
        Required: 75.0K

        Civil Defense Corps:
        Operating: 6.7K
        Required: 22.0K

        Facilities Protection Service:
        Required: 21.5K

        New Iraqi Army:
        Operating: 0.7K
        Required: 40.0K

        Operating: 93.0K
        Required: 170.3K

        • Iraqi Security Forces now account for 37% of all security forces in Iraq
        • Iraqi Police Service forces increased by ~5,000 this past week

        Health Care:

        • Oct 03: Achieve 100% of pre-war level of healthcare throughout Iraq
        • EOY 03: 70-80% national coverage for children’s immunizations
        • FY 04: Update medical technologies and fix infrastructure and equipment

        Current Activities:
        • Ministry of Health (MOH) is developing a strategic plan for a sustainable healthcare system for 2005 and beyond
        • Internet connectivity was installed at the MOH this week
        • MOH is actively training Facility Protective Services personnel to increase security at healthcare facilities
        • CPA-MOH team discussing transition plans for termination of UN Oil for Food (OFF) program with UN and WHO representatives

        • Oct 03: Achieve 100% of pre-war level of healthcare throughout Iraq
        • EOY 03: 70-80% national coverage for children’s immunizations
        • FY 04: Update medical technologies and fix infrastructure and

        Education Status:

        Educational Enrollment:
        • Approximately 3.6 million primary and 1.5 million secondary students enrolled
        • Ministry of Higher Education has record 97,000 Freshmen applications for 03-04 academic year (63,000 last year)

        Current Activities

        • Ministry of Education investigation identified up to 30,000 teachers who could be fired as part of de-Ba'athification
        • 1.7 million copies of 10 different math and science textbooks were delivered to Baghdad Central Municipal Administration warehouse for distribution 393 Ongoing school rehabilitations
        1,000 Rehabilitation goal by 10/1
        1,628 Rehabilitations Completed by 10/14
        13,597 K-12 School Buildings In Iraq

        {Includes repair / replacement of doors, windows, restroom facilities; generally no major reconstruction or new construction}

        Crude Oil Production

        • Pre-War Peak: 2.500M BPD in Feb 03
        • Post-War Peak: 2.142M BPD (20 Oct 03)
        • 7-day Daily Average: 2.1200M BPD
        • Iraq Domestic Need / Storage: 0.907M BPD
        • Mid-Term Target (Jan 04): 2.100M BPD (2002 Pre-War Avg)
        • Long-Term Target (Dec 04): 3.100M BPD (Pre-War Capacity)

        Crude Export:
        Jun 03: 6.0M Barrels
        Jul 03: 14.0M Barrels
        Aug 03: 22.0M Barrels
        Sep 03: 28.0M Barrels
        Oct 03: 20.0M Barrels
        7-day Daily Avg: 1.3M BPD (17-23 Oct 03)

        Cash Received: $ 1388.0M
        Receivable: $ 722.0M
        Total: $2,110.0M

        Power Generation:

        Pre-War 3,300 Megawatts (MW)
        01 May 2003: 200 MW
        21 Sep 2003: 3,678 MW
        05 Oct 2003: 4,417 MW (met initial goal of 4,400 MW)

        • Autumn Overhaul / Outage Program began 13 Oct 03 and ends Mar 04. Estimated power production range during this period is 3,800-4,800 MW
        • Coalition Forces began transitioning security duties for 20 electrical facilities Ministry of Electricity (MOE) security forces. Transition of authority will be the end of Nov
        • The Iraqi MOE entered into a joint project with Jordan to construct an electrical distribution grid shared by the two countries. This is a long term project.

        The Department of Defense is America's largest government agency. With our military tracing its roots back to pre-Revolutionary times, the department has grown and evolved with our nation.

        From The Hill
        Press slants Iraq news: Members

        "Journalists are giving a slanted and unduly negative account of events in Iraq, a bipartisan congressional group that has just returned from a three-day House Armed Services Committee visit to assess stabilization efforts and the condition of U.S. troops said.

        Lawmakers charged that reporters rarely stray from Baghdad and have a “police-blotter” mindset that results in terror attacks, deaths and injuries displacing accounts of progress in other areas.

        Comparisons with Vietnam were farfetched, members said.

        Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the committee’s ranking member, said, “The media stresses the wounds, the injuries, and the deaths, as they should, but for instance in Northern Iraq, Gen. [Dave] Petraeus has 3,100 projects — from soccer fields to schools to refineries — all good stuff and that isn’t being reported.”

        Skelton and other Democrats on the trip said they plan to reach out to all members of their caucus and explain what they observed."

        "Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) explained that the longer he was in Iraq, the more skeptical he became of his previous assumptions.

        Some of the media reports led him to believe that “it was Vietnam revisited,” he said. But he said there was “a disconnect between the reporting and the reality.”

        Marshall also claimed that there now are only 27 reporters in Iraq, down from 779 at the height of the war. “The reporters that are there are all huddled in a hotel. They are not getting out and reporting,” he told The Hill.

        He added, “The good news is not being reported in the conventional press."

        You can read the entire article here:


        Media's dark cloud a danger
        Falsely bleak reports reduce our chances of success in Iraq

        By JIM MARSHALL:

        "News media reports about our progress in Iraq have been bleak since shortly after the president's premature declaration of victory. These reports contrast sharply with reports of hope and progress presented to Congress by Department of Defense representatives -- a real disconnect, Vietnam déja vu. So I went to Iraq with six other members of Congress to see for myself"

        "These are goals worthy of a fight, of sacrifice, of more lives lost now to save thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands in the future. In Mosul last Monday, a colonel in the 101st Airborne put it to me quite simply: "Sir, this is worth doing." No one I spoke with said anything different. And I spoke with all ranks."

        "Throughout Iraq, American soldiers with their typical "can do" attitude and ingenuity are engaging in thousands upon thousands of small reconstruction projects, working with Iraqi contractors and citizens. Through decentralized decision-making by unit commanders, the 101st Airborne Division alone has spent nearly $23 million in just the past few months. This sum goes a very long way in Iraq. Hundreds upon hundreds of schools are being renovated, repainted, replumbed and reroofed. Imagine the effect that has on children and their parents.

        Zogby International recently released the results of an August poll showing hope and progress. My own unscientific surveys told me the same thing. With virtually no exceptions, hundreds of Iraqis enthusiastically waved back at me as I sat in the open door of a helicopter traveling between Babylon and Baghdad. And I received a similar reception as I worked my way alone, shaking hands through a large crowd of refinery workers just to see their reaction.

        We may need a few credible Baghdad Bobs to undo the harm done by our media. I'm afraid it is killing our troops.

        -- U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) of Macon, a Vietnam combat veteran, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee."

        The entire article can be found here:


        "A little girl ran up and shouted, "Saddam is a donkey!" Mr. Wolfowitz laughed.

        A young woman hugged him. He responded with Ramadan greetings in the smattering of Arabic he has taught himself.

        A money changer plying his trade from a card table held up an old note with Mr. Hussein's picture, jubilantly tearing it to pieces. Mr. Wolfowitz, a former graduate school dean and not a politician, responded by discussing the progress in introducing a new Iraqi currency.

        In the bustling marketplace of Kirkuk, Mr. Wolfowitz was cheered, exactly the kind of response that he desired and that his weekend trip to Iraq was devised to demonstrate to the American public, to skeptical members of Congress and to American allies."

        Continued Here:

        Other good articles to read if you have the courage:

        In three articles published by the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, columnist Kamel Al-Sa 'doun, an Iraqi writer who resides in Norway, justified the U.S. occupation and political rehabilitation of Iraq. The following are excerpts from the three articles: The Occupation of Iraq is a Blessed Liberation "Yes, the occupation is a blessed and promising liberation for Iraq, even if the U.N., Europe, Russia, India, and all the Arabs say otherwise.

        Tech Central Station is the best place to find and compare prices on a variety of tech products and services. You'll save time and money with Tech Central Station!


        • #5
          I like how now that we're already in Iraq and things aren't going as well as planned (well, according to the media anyway, they always seem to only want to report the negative) everyone conveniently forgets what kind of a man Saddam was. If anyone had the illision that anyone could go in there, get rid of saddam and then leave in a few months or so, they're very very wrong. Of course we're still there, at least we're going to stick in this until we finish what we started. I however am curious as to how this situation will change if Dubya doesn't remain in office come next election. I honestly dont think he'll still be there, heck, I know I'm not voting for him. Well...unless I find that there's nobody better running against him (like last election)


          • #6

            That is the news I would like to hear on CNN or MSNBC.

            Equipment: A camera (who gives a rip about the brand?)


            • #7
              Nice post guys, couldn't have said it better myself.

              Remember, the only news is bad news.