Tuesday, February 28, 2006

All's Well that Ends

There was an interesting exchange today in the Senate Armed Services Committee between Senator Kennedy and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
Kennedy: [Quoting the President] I'm confident of our plan for victory...and we are winning. Those are the words of the President.....Did you tell the President we were winning [the war in Iraq]?....

Negroponte: I personally? Recalling conversations I've had with the President and other members of the administration, my view has always been that we are moving in the right direction, that we're making progress. I analyze it usually in terms of the
political process there, the progress towards achieving their political timetable on the one hand and progress towards developing their army and their police forces, effective military and police forces. And I believe that progress has been made in both those areas. And I believe that yes, things are moving in a positive direction in Iraq - overall.
Winning? In the words of Jon Stewart, uh, not so much. But we're making progress, right? So what's that look like? Senator Kennedy asks Director of Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Maples to give his assessment:
Maples: ....I do believe that this last week has been a very significant week in Iraq. The level of sectarian violence increased significantly on the ground based on the bombings of the mosques. And we saw exactly the deep divides that exist between the Shia and the Sunni in Iraq....We're also in a very tenuous situation right now, I believe. I think that more violence, were it to occur, were it to be stimulated by Al Qaeda, would have a very significant impact on the situation in Iraq.....
Thirteen hundred Iraqis are dead in sectarian violence since the shrine attack in what the administration finally admits is a low level civil war. But it hasn't yet escalated into an all out civil war...so we're making progress.

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