Sunday, July 08, 2007

Report: Gates cancels Latin America trip amidst mounting turmoil over Iraq

Above: A soldier stands by as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carrying Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates lands in Baghdad on June 16. Left: Gates takes questions at a press conference during his visit.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today canceled a visit to Latin America amid mounting criticism of the Bush administration's policy in Iraq.

Gates was due to leave tomorrow on a four-day trip to El Salvador, Colombia, Peru and Chile. The trip was rescheduled so he can participate in policy meetings in advance of a report to Congress July 15 on the results of President George W. Bush's decision to add 30,000 troops to help the Baghdad government meet a series of goals designed to ease sectarian violence.

The Washington Post, citing unnamed senior officials, reported today that those goals won't be met; the New York Times, in a 1,700-word editorial, said the U.S. military should begin leaving Iraq as soon as possible; and congressional Republicans, on television news shows, continued to voice dissatisfaction with the course of the war.

``There's no conceivable way'' the Iraq government can meet the benchmarks, Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said on ``Late Edition'' on CNN. ``We have no good options in Iraq now; there are no good options,'' Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, also a member of the foreign relations panel, said on NBC's ``Meet the Press.''

Read the rest at Bloomberg