Last month, Congress set a deadline for the American commander in Iraq, declaring that Sept. 15 he would have to assess progress there before billions more dollars are approved to finance the military effort to stabilize the country. The commander, Gen. David H. Petraues, said in recent days that his report would be only a snapshot of trends, strongly suggesting he will be asking for more time.
But even before he composes the first sentence of the report, to be co-written with the new American ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan C. Crocker, the administration is commissioning other assessments that could dilute its findings about the impact of the current troops increase.
The above is from David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker's "General's Report On Iraq Progress Has Competition" in this morning's New York Times. Sanger goes on to conclude that Bully Boy may use the reports to call for a 'drawdown.' That's based on unnamed sourcing.
Inside the paper (Sanger and Shanker begin on the front page), Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Eight U.S. Soldiers Are Killed in Iraq Violence" notes that this brings "the four-day death toll to at least 23" and notes that the Iraqi parliament voted to delay the vacation that was to have begun next month while Mahmoud al-Mashhadani may be back in as the Speaker of Iraq's parliament. We're also informed 13 corpses were discovered in the capital.
AP reports far less African-Americans are joining the military today -- "plunged by more than one-third" -- and notes, "The findings reflect the growing unpopularity of the wars, particularly among family members and other adults who exert influence over high school and college students considering the military as a place to serve their country, further their education or build a career." AP also notes two Sunni blocs in Parliament are boycotting (44 members out of the 275 total number of members serving in the Parliament) and say they will continue to do until Mahmoud al-Mashhadani is reinstated as Speaker.
Julian E. Barnes and Raheem Salman's "10 U.S. troops die in Iraq" (Los Angeles Times) observes, "The deaths of 10 U.S. troops Saturday in Iraq, seven in roadside bomb attacks, brought to 30 the week's toll for American military personnel. The deaths came as Iraq's parliament agreed to cut its summer holiday in half, and some said a deal had been reached on a proposal for sharing the country's oil wealth." In addition, the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence announced today: "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Corporal John Rigby from 4th Battalion The Rifles in Basra, southern Iraq on Friday 22 June 2007." The current ICCC count for total number of deaths since the start of the illegal war stands at 153 for the UK and 3558 for the US.
It's the summer read edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review this week:
Truest statement of the week
A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: Iraq silences
TV: Hidden Yawns
Base Is Hell
The Tired Tryst
The Asbury Park Murder
Samantha Power Between Her Knees
Cut The Fat! Newt Takes It Off!
Ava and C.I. bonus
The big question in the e-mails: Is Ruth off this week? No. She's written and re-written her report. She called late last night wanting feedback. She's addressing a show that she really likes but that had a horrible (my term) broadcast last week. She's going to read it to me for feedback this evening. It should post tonight or tomorrow morning.
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