Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Democrats See 'Results' In Iraq

From The Washington Times

By S.A. Miller

August 21, 2007

PDF Format

Top Senate Democrats have started to acknowledge progress in Iraq, with the chairman of the Armed Services Committee yesterday saying the U.S. troop surge is producing "measurable results."

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan highlighted improved security in Baghdad and al Qaeda losses in Anbar province as examples of success -- a shift for Democrats who have mainly discounted or ignored advances on the battlefield for weeks.

"The military aspects of President Bush's new strategy in Iraq ... appear to have produced some credible and positive results," Mr. Levin said in a joint statement with Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican, after a two-day visit last week to Iraq.

Mr. Levin joins a growing chorus of Democrats -- including 2008 presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois -- who say the troop surge has produced benefits ...

"It's working," Mrs. Clinton said of the troop surge yesterday in a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Kansas City, Mo., a group at odds with her votes for a pullout and against emergency troop funding. ...

The Bush administration said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders are meeting -- despite the parliament's recess -- in pursuit of political accommodations acceptable to the Kurds, the ruling Shi'ites, the majority population and the Sunnis who were displaced from power in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

"We believe that Prime Minister Maliki and the Presidency Council will be able to get this important work done, work that is being done on the local level where we see bottom-up reconciliation taking hold," said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

The White House since July has highlighted gains ahead of a Sept. 15 progress report to Congress from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq. In his weekly radio address Saturday, Mr. Bush predicted political progress at the local level in Iraq will help end the stalemate at the national level. ...

Mr. Levin said the troop surge succeeded in giving the Iraqi government "breathing room" to broker national reconciliation, including deals to disarm militias and adopt laws to share oil revenue among Iraqi sects. ...

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