22 May 2008

Iraq News (22 May)

The Good: 11 militia thugs tried to take on U.S. forces near Sadr City...and they got dead. The temporary head of CENTCOM, LTG Dempsey, said Al-Qaeda in Iraq is at it's weakest due to the counter-insurgency strategy, the rise of the Sahwa councils, and improved Iraqi Security Forces. This comes at a time when attacks in Mosul are down a stunning 85% due to the recent Iraqi-led offensive. Also, Sadr City remains calm during the Iraqi-led Operation Salam. General Petraeus has called for diplomacy with Iran and utilizing the military as a "last resort" against the Islamic nation. This is certain to throw a monkey wrench into the McCain-Obama foreign policy square-off. The NY Times has a great write-up about the one and only Iraqi metal band, Acrassicauda. Is headbanging the best path towards reconciliation and an end to the bloodshed? I think so! The Prime Minister is meeting with the tremendously influential Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf today.
The Bad: It's a sad day for the free press in Iraq as a sniper has killed an Afaq TV reporter in Baghdad, and a journalist for Al-Sharq newspaper was found in Diyala province with a gunshot wound to the head. 8 civilians have been killed in an apparent escalation of force incident involving a U.S. chopper near the oil city of Bayji.
The Ugly: The Washington Post reports that some vets are suffering breathing problems due to a fire at a sulfur mine in Mosul in 2003. The Boston Globe has an editorial from the Center for American Progress on why the US must leave Iraq, since it would enable leverage with the Iraqi government. I agree that the military should leave Iraq, just not at the dangerous and unrealistic pace at which the Democrats want.
Could Metal Save Iraq? (from NY Times)