Friday, May 04, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- May 4th edition

May 4, 2006: A radio operator for 1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, relays the measurments for one of the counterfires called April 25, in Mahmahdiyah, Iraq

May 4, 2002:

Prosperity will end terror, Bush aide says

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is certain the United States will win the war on terrorism, but the end of the conflict, he said Friday night, will not be when Osama bin Laden is dead or al Qaeda is finished but when more Arab and Muslim countries make better economic progress...

Referring to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, where Kurds have prospered economically, Wolfowitz said: "We see an example of the kind of self- government Muslims can achieve.

"There, beyond the reach of the Baghdad regime, the people are healthy and they enjoy a level of prosperity that far surpasses the rest of Iraq," he said.

"People there can speak their minds, newspapers are printing news freely, and posters representing candidates on all sides of the political spectrum go up everywhere."

Wolfowitz said that an Iraq liberated of Saddam Hussein "could be a model for the whole Muslim world," although he sidestepped an audience member's question about whether the United States was planning to oust Hussein in an imminent military campaign.

Wolfowitz is one of the Bush administration's biggest hawks on Iraq.

Read the rest at the SF Chronicle

May 4, 2003:

U.S.' new transition chief 'brings a lot to the table'

WASHINGTON — When L. Paul Bremer was an assistant to Secretary of State George Shultz during the Reagan administration, one of his jobs was to defend his boss in turf battles with the Defense Department and White House, a former colleague says.

Those bureaucratic sharp elbows should help Bremer, 61, as he tries to reconcile conflicting views both in Washington and in Baghdad and begins his new post as top civil administrator for Iraq.

A career diplomat who never served in the Middle East but became versed in Middle Eastern terrorism, Bremer, known as Jerry, leaves a job as chief executive of a global risk consulting firm, Marsh Crisis Consulting, to go to Iraq.

His immediate task is to help Iraqis create an interim government that can begin to take responsibility for the country after 30 years of war and totalitarian rule.

Bremer's appointment was an admission that retired Army lieutenant general Jay Garner, who has headed the early reconstruction effort, has his hands full trying to restore basic services and public security in Iraq. Despite claims that the decision to make him Garner's boss represents a victory for the State Department, U.S. officials say Bremer's selection was a rare instance of administration harmony.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "picked Bremer, and (Secretary of State Colin) Powell's fine with it," a senior State Department official said. "We don't fight when we don't have to."

A participant on several commissions on terrorism in the 1990s, Bremer has also been a frequent TV commentator.

Read the rest at USA Today

May 4, 2004:

Soldier tribute boosts 'Nightline' ratings

NEW YORK - The folks at ABC’s “Nightline” thought Friday’s telecast with the names of Americans killed in Iraq would be a ratings loser — and the opposite turned out to be true.

The broadcast had a 4.4 household rating in the nation’s largest media markets, according to Nielsen Media Research...

On Friday, “Nightline” anchorman Ted Koppel read the names of 721 American soldiers killed during the war. One large media chain, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, refused to air Friday’s “Nightline” on the seven ABC stations it owns.

Read the rest at Newsweek

May 4, 2005:

U.S. military is feeling stretched

The concentration of U.S. troops and weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan limits the Pentagon's ability to deal with other potential armed conflicts, the military's highest-ranking officer told Congress.

The officer, General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a classified report that if major combat operations elsewhere in the world should be necessary, they would probably be more protracted - and produce higher American and foreign casualties because of the current commitment of resources in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After half a dozen Pentagon civilian and military officials discussed the outlines of the report Monday, as it was delivered to Congress, one government official provided a copy to The New York Times.

Myers cited reduced stockpiles of precision weapons, which were depleted during the invasion of Iraq, and the stress on reserve units, which fulfill the bulk of combat support duties in Iraq, as among the factors that would limit the Pentagon's ability to prevail as quickly as war planners once predicted.

Despite the limitations, Myers was unwavering in his assessment that American forces would win any major combat operation. The U.S. armed forces, he concluded, are "fully capable" of meeting all of Washington's military objectives.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune

May 4, 2006:

Cheney has no regrets over Iraq invasion

Three years into the war that has come to define the legacy of the Bush administration Dick Cheney, the vice-president, has said he has no regrets about the decision to invade Iraq.

Mr Cheney's refusal to admit to doubts about going to war highlights his isolation from an administration which has demonstrated a degree of candour about Iraq, as well as the rest of the country where only 37% approve of the White House's handling of the conflict. Mr Cheney has even less support; his approval ratings have dipped below 20%. But in an interview to appear in June's Vanity Fair magazine, he remained a picture of certitude.

Asked whether in his "darkest nights" he ever doubted the decision to go to war, he said: "I think what we've done has been what needed to be done."
Mr Cheney was unmoved by postwar disclosures about the use of hyped and faulty intelligence to make the case for the invasion - some of which has been tied directly to his office.

He said: "In the end, you can argue about the quality of the intelligence and so forth, but ... I look at that whole spectrum of possibilities and options, and I think we did the right thing."

Read the rest at the Guardian