It's Been Quite A Busy Week
We have just read (September 2007) a new report by the Government Accountability Office on progress toward reaching the 18 “benchmarks” set out by President Bush last January.
The special congressionally authorized Commission to Assess Iraq Security Forces chaired by General James Jones, USMC (Ret.) submitted its report and briefed Congress on their unanimous conclusions.
The U.S. commander of coalition forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, together with U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker, testified before four congressional committees on the current status of the Iraqi security services and the progress being made in meeting other goals. On their return trip to Iraq, they stopped in London to brief Members of Parliament.
President Bush addressed the nation, outlining (actually reiterating) the recommendations of Petraeus and Crocker to withdraw 5,700 soldiers and Marines by the end of 2007.
Since the morning of September 10, the first day that Crocker and Petraeus testified, 18 Americans have died in Iraq; through September 17, a total of 3,783 American military personnel have died in Iraq or from injuries and wounds suffered in Iraq.
Another estimated 1,001 U.S. nationals in Iraq as contractors also have died.
If the Iraqi Ministry of Interior doesn’t buckle under U.S. pressure and reverse its suspension of Blackwater Security, theoretically there will soon be fewer contractors in Iraq being paid by our tax dollars -- unless all their people in Iraq simply sign on with Blackwater’s competitors or Blackwater simply reorganizes under a new name.