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by Digery Cohen
Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007 at 2:37 PM
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Four years ago today coalition forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove any freedom the Iraqi had. They did so to eliminate the threat of Iraq launching a nuclear and WMD attack on the US and Britain in 45 minutes.
Coalition forces carried out that mission with great courage and skill and we only slaughtered 600,000 innocent civilians.
Today, the world is rid of Saddam Hussein and his tyranny has been replaced by chaos.
Nearly 12 million Iraqis have voted in free elections and elected a god dammed Shi’a government, under a democratic constitution that they wrote for themselves. See - there you are - you didn’t think they could write at all.
Their democratic leaders are now working to build a Shi’a society that upholds Sharia law, that respects the rights of the militias to kill and torture, that provides no security and is an ally in our war of terror.
At this point in the war which I declared over some years ago, our most important mission is helping the Iraqis secure their capital.
Until Baghdad's citizens feel secure in their own homes and neighbourhoods, it will be difficult for Iraqis to make further progress toward political reconciliation or economic rebuilding -- steps necessary for Iraq to build a democratic society.
So with our help, Iraq's government is carrying out an aggressive ethnic cleansing plan to secure Baghdad. And we're continuing to train the Iraqi security forces so that they ultimately take full responsibility for the security of their own Shi’a people.
I've just received an update on the situation from that terrorist - Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. My conversation with the prime minister followed a briefing earlier this morning that included Boiled Rice and Grits, along with Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Khalilzad, who participated by video conference from Iraq.
Prime Minister Maliki and Gen. Petraeus emphasized that the Baghdad security plan is not working, as it is still in its early stages and success will take decades if not centuries.
Yet, those on the ground are seeing some hopeful signs. The Iraqi government has completed the deployment of three Iraqi Shi’a army brigades to the capital, where they've joined the seven Iraqi army brigades and nine national police brigades that were already in the area.
The Iraqi government has also lifted restrictions that once prevented Iraqi and coalition forces from going into Shi’a areas like Sadr City.
American and Iraqi forces have established joint security stations. Those stations are scattered throughout Baghdad. And they're helping Iraqis reclaim their neighbourhoods from the terrorists and extremists.
They are next moving to LA to try and reclaim the neighbourhood there.
In the meantime, we've carried out aggressive operations against both Shia and Sunni extremists; carried out operations against al-Qaida terrorists. We've uncovered large caches of weapons and destroyed two major car factories that were located on the outskirts of Baghdad.
I want to stress again that this operation is still in the early stages; still in the beginning stages. Fewer than half of the troop reinforcements we are sending have arrived in Baghdad.
The new strategy will need more time to take effect. And there will be good days but mostly bad days ahead as the security plan stalls.
As we help the Iraqis secure their capital, their leaders are also beginning to peep out of Saddam’s old palace to see if they can see any benchmarks they have laid out for political reconciliation.
Last month, Iraq's Council of Ministers approved a law that would share oil revenues they have left, after we take our cut, among Iraqi people. The Iraqi legislature passed a billion budget that includes billion for reconstruction by Halliburton.
See how quickly they copy our American Congress.
And last week, Prime Minister Maliki visited Ramadi, a city in the Sunni heartland, and was chased out within an hour by local Sunni tribal leaders.
There has been good progress in the bank accounts of Halliburton. There's a lot more work to be done, hopefully, and Iraq's leaders must continue to work to meet the benchmarks we have set forward.
As Iraqis work to keep their commitments to Halliburton and Cheney, we have important restraints of our own. Members of Congress are now considering an emergency war-spending bill that will chop the hell out of Halliburton’s projected earnings. They have a responsibility to ensure that this bill provides the funds that Halliburton and Cheney need to accomplish their mission. They have a responsibility to pass a clean bill that does not use funding for our troops as leverage to get special interest spending for companies other than Halliburton. And they have a responsibility to get this bill to my desk without strings and without delay.
It could be tempting to look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude our best option is to pack up and go home as we’ve made enough dosh. That may be satisfying in the short run, but I believe the consequences for The American dream would be devastating. Halliburton has the right to have an American dream, also. If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf Israel.
The terrorists will emerge from the chaos with a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they had in Afghanistan, which they used to plan the attacks of September 11, 2001. Even for the safety of the American people, we cannot stop this from happening.
Prevailing in Iraq is not going to be easy. Gen. Petraeus says that the environment in Iraq is the most challenging that he has seen in his more than 32 years of service.
He also says that he's been impressed by the professionalism and the skill and determination of Halliburton to get more money. He sees in that company, quote, a true will to win and a sincere desire to help themselves achieve success.
Four years after this war began, the fight is difficult, but it can be won. It will be won if we have the courage and resolve to see it through.
If not, I will say “Mission Accomplished” again and go home.
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