First, the Senator;
Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) joined a number of other Republicans in calling for a new strategy in Iraq. Domenici is about as solid a Republican as you can find on Capitol Hill, but here he was, supporting a plan "that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home,"In what you will see from many who don't want to tell their Grandchildren that they wish they said something when they had the chance, Major General Rick Lynch, who's commanding the surge of U.S. forces in Iraq from Baghdad South.
Domenici wants a pullout by March.Then, something where if the story were different you would see on A1 of the NYT, you have a Mr. Hani Mowafaq,
Lynch blasted that idea.
"You'd find the enemy regaining ground, re-establishing a sanctuary, building more IEDs, carrying those IEDs to Baghdad, and the violence would escalate. It would be a mess!" said Lynch.
Interior Ministry figures released earlier this week say civilian deaths in June were down 36 per cent from May.I agree with LTC Garver - we shouldn't steal CDR MNF-I's September. This SEP is pregnant with history, maybe a post for next week. Very interesting time we live in. Very interesting. Make sure and read the latest from Michael Yon as well. Not time to call the game quite yet, but the short-term trends and facts on the ground are in the right direction. Now, if we can just get the Hydrocarbon Law online...but I have spent enough time in that part of the world to know that everything is a last minute bargaining panic, and everything that involves money is a long, hard slog of negotiation. Patience I have, but they only have a few weeks to get more news on this.
Some say they feel the difference, particularly compared to several months ago when more than 100 people a day were regularly killed.
"The improvement is obvious," said Hani Mowafaq, 40, who owns a shop in eastern Baghdad’s mainly Shiite Jadidah district. The streets there used to shut down at 3 p.m. as storeowners rushed to get home before dark. "Now I can stay open until nine and feel secure," he said, crediting increased U.S. and Iraqi patrols.
Hassan Nassar, an art gallery owner, said he was stunned to see how many people were out recently on the central shopping strip of Palestine Street. "If it weren’t for the barbed wire and blast walls, it would have looked just like the natural old days," he said.
The U.S. military, which doesn’t release civilian casualty figures, is reluctant to claim success yet, wary of raising expectations as it has in the past by taking credit for drops in violence, only to see them end. "It’s too early to declare a trend," military spokesman Lt.-Col. Christopher Garver said this week of reported reductions in deaths.