2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 2, 2005
Gen faults military for confusion NEWS IN BRIEF
HADLNE FRO ARUN TH W'
WASHINGTON (AP) - If the
American public has a distorted pic-
ture of the combat readiness of Iraqi
troops, the U.S. military is largely to
blame for it, the most senior Ameri-
can military officer said yesterday.
"We have done ourselves a disser-
vice in the way that we have defined
how we are tracking the progress of
Iraqi forces," Marine Corps Gen.
Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, told an audience of
military and civilian students at the
National Defense University.
It was his first public speech
focusing on Iraq since he became
Joint Chiefs chairman on Oct. 1,
and his remarks came one day after
President Bush outlined his admin-
istration's strategy for achieving vic-
tory in Iraq.
Also yesterday, Bush's chief of staff
told GOP congressional leaders that
the White House would communicate
more with lawmakers about Iraq. The
leaders welcomed Andrew Card's
commitment and followed it by pro-
viding "constructive criticism," said
a Republican official who attended
the GOP retreat in St. Michaels, Md.
The official spoke on the condition
of anonymity because the meeting
Pace was among several senior
officials who spoke publicly yester-
day about the strategy for winning
in Iraq. Eric Edelman, the under
secretary of defense for policy, was
speaking to members of the Council
on Foreign Relations, along with Lt.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the senior assis-
tant to Pace.
Edelman, whose predecessor,
Douglas Feith, was considered one
of the architects of the Iraq war, said
senior U.S. military commanders told
him on a recent visit to Iraq that they
are very optimistic about stabilizing
"Overall, when one considers the
challenges that the Iraqis face - not
least that of overcoming the political
and social effects of 3 1/2 decades
of monstrous tyranny what is most
impressive is not how much remains
for them to do, but rather how far they
have come in less than three years,"
Edelman said in remarks prepared
An important element of Bush's
strategy is building Iraqi security
forces that can defend the country on
Pace said the U.S. military's own
means of measuring progress in
training Iraqi forces have created
confusion in some quarters.
"In an attempt to be very precise
with ourselves, to give ourselves met-
rics that we could all understand, we
have done ourselves and everyone
who is listening to us a disservice,"
Pace made the remark after men-
tioning that people often ask him,
"How can there be only one - count
them - only one Iraqi battalion
capable of independent operations?"
He was referring to the public stir
that arose when Gen. George Casey,
the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told
Congress in September that the num-
ber of Iraqi army battalions rated at
"level one" proficiency - meaning
capable of combat with no U.S. sup-
port had dropped from three to one.
Some interpreted that as evidence the
Iraqis were regressing.
Insurgents in Iraq attack U.S. bases
BAGHDAD (AP) - Insurgents attacked several
U.S. bases and government offices with mortars yes-
terday before dispersing in the capital of western
Iraq's Anbar province, residents and police said.
Iraq's interior minister yesterday also fired his top
official for human rights in connection with a torture
Gunmen, meanwhile, attacked the six-vehicle con-
voy of a Saad al-Obeidi, an adviser to Iraq's defense
minister, seriously wounding him along with two of
his bodyguards in the predominantly Sunni Arab
Yarmouk neighborhood of Baghdad, police said.
The attacks in Ramadi occurred as local tribal
leaders and U.S. military officials were to hold their
second meeting in a week at the governor's office in
the city center. The insurgents apparently tried to
shell the building, but reporters inside said there was
no damage or injuries.
Police Lt. Mohammed al-Obaidi said at least four
mortar rounds fell near the U.S. base on the eastern
edge of the city, but that there were no reports of
An AP Television News video showed the insur-
gents walking down a shuttered market street and a
residential neighborhood, as well as firing four mor-
tar rounds. The masked men, however, looked relaxed
and did not engage in any battles, and no U.S. bases
or government buildings were shown.
Residents said that within minutes, scores of
masked gunmen, believed to be members of Jorda-
nian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida
in Iraq group, ran into the city's streets but dispersed
after launching attacks with mortars in what U.S.
officers said may have been little more than a pro-
The U.S. military reported that only one rocket-
propelled grenade was fired at an observation post
and there were no injuries of significant damage.
Life in Ramadi quickly returned to normal after the
Two U.S. allies pull forces from Iraq
Two of America's allies in Iraq are withdrawing forces this month and a
half-dozen others are debating possible pullouts or reductions, increasing
pressure on Washington as calls mount to bring home U.S. troops.
Bulgaria and Ukraine will begin withdrawing their combined 1,250
troops by mid-December. If Australia, Britain, Italy, Japan, Poland and
South Korea reduce or recall their personnel, more than half of the non-
American forces in Iraq could be gone by next summer.
Japan and South Korea help with reconstruction, but Britain and Aus-
tralia provide substantial support forces and Italy and Poland train Iraqi
troops and police.
Their exodus would deal a blow to American efforts to prepare Iraqis
to take over the most dangerous peacekeeping tasks and craft an eventual
U.S. exit strategy.
"The vibrations of unease from within the United States clearly have an
impact on public opinion elsewhere," said Terence Taylor of the Interna-
tional Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington.
Landmark execution slated for today
A man who killed his wife and father-in-law pinned his hopes on last-
minute intervention by the governor as he awaited lethal injection early
today in the nation's 1,000th execution since capital punishment resumed
Kenneth Lee Boyd, set to die at 2 a.m., spent the day receiving visitors.
Among those expected to visit were two sons who watched Boyd gun down
their mother and grandfather in 1988.
"He would love to live and he would love to have the governor and the
courts step in, but he's also facing the possibility that won't happen," said
Boyd's lawyer, Thomas Maher.
Larger-than-normal crowds of protesters were expected at the prison in
Raleigh, and vigils were planned across the state. Prison officials planned
to tighten security.
The U.S. Supreme Court and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
rejected appeals by Boyd's lawyers yesterday.
Prolific jewel thieves sweeping across nation
Jewel thieves in hooded sweat shirts have knocked over nearly five
dozen stores from New Hampshire to North Carolina in the past two-and-
a-half years, eluding capture with an efficient operation that has netted
$5.1 million in men's watches, chains, bracelets and rings, the FBI said
Targeting jewelers in malls and passing up high-end merchandise, the thieves
cut through security gates and clean out display cases filled with men's gold
jewelry and watches - especially Movado watches, FBI officials said at a news
conference in Washington intended to enlist the public's help in dismantling a
group informally labeled the gate-cutters crew.
City marks 50th anniversary of Parks's refusal
About 2,000 children marched arm-in-arm yesterday, singing "We Shall Over-
come" as this once-segregated city marked the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks'
refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man.
"Because of the action of Rosa Parks we have witnessed - here in Montgomery,
in the state of Alabama, all across the South - unbelievable changes," Rep. John
Lewis (D-Ga.) said after laying a wreath at the site where Parks was arrested on Dec.
The children, both black and white, marched eight blocks from the downtown
site to the Capitol, singing anthems of the civil rights era and chanting "Thank
you, Rosa Parks."
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U.S. marines provide security at the back of their amphibious assault vehicle in Saadah, Iraq yesterday.
Amid growing pressure to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, President Bush is refusing to set a timetable.
The insurgents did leave behind posters and graf-
fiti saying they were members of al-Qaida in Iraq
and claiming responsibility for shooting down a U.S.
drone. There were no reports of any U.S. drones
being shot down, though.
Ramadi is the provincial capital of Anbar prov-
ince, a Sunni stronghold, where clashes between
insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi troops have left hun-
dreds of people dead in the past two years.
U.S. and Iraqi troops launched a joint operation
near Ramadi on Wednesday, sweeping through an
area used to rig car bombs.
About 500 Iraqi troops joined 2,000 U.S. Marines,
soldiers and sailors in a move to clear insurgents
from an area on the eastern side of the Euphrates
River near Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S.
The offensive came as President Bush said he
hopes to shift more of the military burden onto
the Iraqis as part of a strategy to draw down
In a statement, the military said the Hai Al Becker
region "is suspected to be an al-Qaida in Iraq safe
area and base of operations for the manufacture of
vehicle car bombs, roadside bombs." It described the
area as a transit point for foreign fighters and Iraqi
insurgents infiltrating from Syria into Iraq.
JASON Z. PESICK
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