If true, it'd be an interesting use of the military and the media to accomplish goals, a "shock and awe" that is changing regional politics.
It seemed like a routine question, one that military leaders involved in prosecuting the war in Iraq must ask themselves with some regularity: Is the U.S. winning?.....
During a Capitol Hill briefing for an audience mostly of congressional aides, Schoomaker paused for more than 10 seconds after he was asked the question — lips pursed and brow furrowed — before venturing:
"I think I would answer that by telling you I don't think we're losing." ....
"The challenge … is becoming more complex, and it's going to continue to be," Schoomaker mused. "That's why I'll tell you I think we're closer to the beginning than we are to the end of all this."
RAMADI, Iraq - Their televised graduation was supposed to be a moment of national celebration: A class of 1,000 Sunni Arab soldiers emerging from basic training would show Iraqis that the country's worsening religious divide was not afflicting the national army. Two months later, only about 300 of them have reported for duty, U.S. officials say.
During a joint news conference Saturday in St. Petersburg, Bush said he raised concerns about democracy in Russia during a frank discussion with the Russian leader.
"I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world, like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same," Bush said.
BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 14 — The radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr said Friday that Iraqis would not “sit by with folded hands” while Israel struck at Lebanon, signaling a possible increase in attacks from his mercurial militia, the Mahdi Army.
In a written statement, Mr. Sadr also said that he considered the United States culpable in the conflict unfolding in Lebanon, since America was the largest foreign ally of Israel.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times on Friday received a letter containing a suspicious white powder and a copy of a recent editorial in which the paper defended its coverage of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism programs. Tests found the powder to be harmless.....
Mathis confirmed that the envelope included a copy of a June 28 editorial entitled "Patriotism and the Press" with an "X" marked through it.
Katherine Harris' floundering U.S. Senate campaign lost its high-level staff again this week and is groping for a message -- which doesn't surprise Republican insiders who trace the seeds of her trouble to the story of ``Joe's dead intern.''...
Harris called major donors and suggested Scarborough would have to answer questions about the strange death of a former staff member in 2001, according to two former high-level Harris staff members, a GOP donor and Scarborough.
Congress has demanded that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hand over a raft of documents to Congress that could substantiate allegations that U.S. forces have tried to break terror suspects by kidnapping and mistreating their family members. Rumsfeld has until 5 p.m. Friday to comply.
It now appears that kidnapping, scarcely covered by the media, and absent in the major military investigations of detainee abuse, may have been systematically employed by U.S. troops. Salon has obtained Army documents that show several cases where U.S. forces abducted terror suspects’ families.....
Provance also made the disturbing allegation that interrogators broke an Iraqi general, Hamid Zabar, by imprisoning and abusing his frail 16-year-old son.....
But, Provance said, interrogators grew frustrated when the boy's father, Zabar, wouldn't talk, despite a 14-hour interrogation. So they stripped Zabar's son naked and doused him with mud and water. They put him in the open back of a truck and drove around in the frigid January night air until the boy began to freeze. Zabar was then made to look at his suffering son.....Similar allegations have shown that kidnapping may have been a systematic practice. Special Operations troops, working with an elite unit called Task Force 6-26, allegedly abducted the 28-year-old wife of a suspected Iraqi terrorist during a raid on a house in Tarmiya, Iraq, in May 2004.
"For your own safety and because of our desire not to harm any civilians who are not involved (with Hizbollah), you should refrain from staying in areas where Hizbollah is present and operating," said the Arabic-language leaflets, signed "The State of Israel".
WASHINGTON - The White House has conditionally agreed to a court review of its controversial eavesdropping program, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday.
Specter said President Bush has agreed to sign legislation that would authorize the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's most high-profile monitoring operations.....
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the committee's senior Democrat, said Bush could submit the program to the court right now, if he wished. He called the potential legislation "an interesting bargain."
The U.S. Capitol Historical Society will hold a reception next week to honor a select group of lawmakers “for their hard work, service, time and the sacrifices made in upholding the office with which they were entrusted.”
The co-hosts of the event will include members of leadership, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday that insurgents are trying to take control of western Baghdad, but he vowed they won't succeed. ....
Britain has handed over responsibility for security in one of Iraq's 18 provinces to local forces for the first time since the country was invaded......
The numbers involved in the handover were small - just 700 British and Australian soldiers......
Muthanna, a sparsely populated desert area with a population of little over half a million, was chosen as the first because it has been one of the quietest areas of the country.
(AP)If Iran does not comply, the group said it would then seek harsher action. The group's short statement give no specifics, but it cited a section of the world body's charter that could open the door to economic or other sanctions. The group said it could stop the Security Council actions at any time should Iran cooperate.
Russian officials were also concerned that any resolution not open the door for eventual military action against Iran.
There is some concern among European leaders that radical elements in Iran might use the six-nation group’s statement to prod Iran’s ruling clerics to increase support for Hezbollah and other radical groups, and perhaps cause other trouble.
Still, another European official said, the statement was a watershed — “the first time Russia and China have agreed to go to the Security Council under Chapter 7.”
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The investigative arm of the US Congress has openly questioned if victory in Iraq can be achieved without a significant overhaul of President George W. Bush's strategy, arguing the outcome of the war was presently "unclear".....
"It is unclear how the United States will achieve its desired end-state in Iraq given the significant changes in the assumptions underlying the US strategy," the GAO wrote in its report unveiled Tuesday at a hearing in the House of Representatives.
But Republican leaders vociferously opposed the plan for fear, they said, the drugs could be unsafe for consumers — or even present a terror risk.
"If I were a creative terrorist, I would say to myself, 'Hey, listen, all I've got to do is produce a can here that says 'Lipitor' on it, make it look like the original Lipitor bottle, which isn't too hard to do, fill it with anthrax," Gregg said.
BAGHDAD, July 11 — At least 50 people were killed in Baghdad today in a stunning array of violence that included a double suicide attack near busy entrances to the fortified Green Zone, beheadings, shootings, a series of car bombs, mortar attacks and the ambush of a bus carrying Shiite mourners on their way to a burial.
The day’s killings, many of them clearly carried out as sectarian vengeance, raised the three-day death toll in the capital alone to well over 100, and deepened the sense among residents that the violence was not going to ebb anytime soon — and that Iraqi and American security forces were powerless to stop it.
Amid the spike in violence, however, Mr. Maliki himself has been remarkably quiet. On Monday, he made an appeal for unity during a speech in Iraqi Kurdistan, and late today his office issued a brief written statement condemning the attack on the bus carrying the mourners. Efforts to seek additional comment from his office today were unsuccessful.
Rumsfeld also called on Europe to provide a "master plan" to Afghanistan to help curb its massive drug trade, which has seen heroin flood Europe and Russia.
Rumsfeld's remarks at a news conference came hours after the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said the rise of Taliban resistance in southern Afghanistan reflects the weakness of the government more than a strengthening of the fundamentalist movement that once sheltered Osama bin Laden.....Also, there was this diplomatic slap in the middle of Rumsfeld's central Asia trip. (He didn't stop in Kyrgyzstan.)
Eikenberry would not discuss any plans to increase or decrease U.S. troop levels, which now stand at about 23,000. Last December, on his most recent previous visit to Kabul, Rumsfeld announced that U.S. troop levels would drop from 19,000 at that time to 16,000 by this summer.
The militant statement specifically described the release of the video, rather than the soldiers' killing, as the "revenge."
WASHINGTON - The budget deficit won't be as President Bush predicted earlier this year.
A surge in taxes paid by corporations and the wealthy promises to bring the budget deficit to less than $300 billion instead of the $423 billion forecast by the White House in February.
Bush himself was trumpeting the good news Tuesday morning as a validation of his pro-growth tax cuts and his clampdown on domestic agencies funded by Congress.....
Even before the release of the figures, critics poked at the White House figures, citing, for example how they are at odds from Bush's original budget released in 2001, which predicted a $305 billion surplus for the current year, even after accounting for tax cuts.
President Bush. Insiders say that he's been working on the project for a year. "He's doing a memoir," one insider says. "He's keenly interested in it." But here's the odd part: Bush hasn't actually written a word yet. Instead, he and his aides have been packaging the stuff he wants to reference so that he'll be ready to write when the project moves into that stage. And that probably won't happen until after he leaves office.
The American soldiers accused of raping an Iraqi girl and then murdering her and her family may have provoked an insurgent revenge plot in which two of their comrades were abducted and beheaded last month, it has been claimed.....
US army officials have already begun a separate inquiry into possible links between the two cases, although they insist at this stage that it is purely "speculation". However, locals in Mahmoudiyah, a Sunni market town in the heart of the "Triangle of Death" south of Baghdad, say relatives of the dead girl's family with contacts to insurgent groups asked them to take a "blood for blood" revenge.
Brutality and corruption are rampant in Iraq's police force, with abuses including the rape of female prisoners, the release of terrorism suspects in exchange for bribes, assassinations of police officers and participation in insurgent bombings, according to confidential Iraqi government documents detailing more than 400 police corruption investigations.
A recent assessment by State Department police training contractors underscores the investigative documents, concluding that strong paramilitary and insurgent influences within the force and endemic corruption have undermined public confidence in the government.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Tokyo had the right to carry out a preemptive attack in the face of a serious threat despite its pacifist post-World War II constitution.
"It is impossible for us to do nothing until we are attacked by a country which says it has nuclear weapons and could fire missiles against Japan," Aso, an outspoken hawk, told NHK public television.