How's That Surge Coming Along? Part XVIII
Looks like the bushies are forced to move the goalposts again:
The Iraqi government is unlikely to meet any of the political and security goals or timelines President Bush set for it in January when he announced a major shift in U.S. policy, according to senior administration officials closely involved in the matter. As they prepare an interim report due next week, officials are marshaling alternative evidence of progress to persuade Congress to continue supporting the war.
In a preview of the assessment it must deliver to Congress in September, the administration will report that Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province are turning against the group al-Qaeda in Iraq in growing numbers; that sectarian killings were down in June; and that Iraqi political leaders managed last month to agree on a unified response to the bombing of a major religious shrine, officials said.
Those achievements are markedly different from the benchmarks Bush set when he announced his decision to send tens of thousands of additional troops to Iraq. More troops, Bush said, would enable the Iraqis to proceed with provincial elections this year and pass a raft of power-sharing legislation. In addition, he said, the government of President Nouri al-Maliki planned to "take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November."
BAGHDAD, July 8 -- Suicide attacks and other explosions across Iraq killed at least 170 people and injured scores over the last couple of days, including a massive truck bombing in a northern Shiite village that ripped through a crowded market, burying dozens in the rubble of shops and mud houses, Iraqi officials said.
At least 144 were killed Saturday, and at least another 26 people were killed Sunday when two car bombs exploded within five minutes of each other in the city's mostly Shiite Karrada district and a bomb hit a truck of newly recruited Iraqi soldiers traveling to Baghdad to aid in the crackdown on the violence, according to the Associated Press.
Shattering a relative lull in Iraq's violence, the attacks raised questions about whether insurgents who have fled an ongoing military offensive in Baghdad and Diyala province are regrouping and assaulting soft targets elsewhere, in less-secure areas with fewer troops.
The violence came as the U.S. military reported that 10 American soldiers had been killed over the last couple of days, all in combat or by roadside bombs in Baghdad and the western province of Anbar. The fatalities underscored the mounting death toll during the five-month security offensive, reinforced by thousands of U.S. troops, that is meant to help Iraq meet political and security goals set by the Bush administration.