Top American general contradicts Bush and Cheney: Insurgency growing
President Crack Head and Vice President L.S. Dee seem to have those who disagree with them:
Top general: Insurgency growing
Iraq insurgents still strong, general says
Senate comments contrary to Cheney's view of 'last throes'
The Associated Press
Updated: 11:58 a.m. ET June 23, 2005WASHINGTON - The top American military commander in the Persian Gulf disputed a contention by Vice President Dick Cheney that the Iraqi insurgency was in its Ã¢â‚¬Å“last throesÃ¢â‚¬? and told Congress on Thursday that its strength was basically undiminished from six months ago.
Furthermore, Gen. John Abizaid told the Senate Armed Services Committee, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago.Ã¢â‚¬?
In a CNN interview last month, Cheney said that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.Ã¢â‚¬?
Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the committeeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s senior Democrat, asked Abizaid if he realized he was contradicting Cheney.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know that I would make any comment about that other than to say thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot of work to be done,Ã¢â‚¬? said Abizaid. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I gave you my opinion.Ã¢â‚¬?
Rumsfeld adds to Cheney comment
His testimony came as the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top defense leaders rejected calls by some lawmakers for the Bush administration to set a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from wartorn Iraq. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That would be a mistake,Ã¢â‚¬? Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the committee.
Rumsfeld also sought to explain what Cheney meant.
Between now and when an Iraqi constitution is drafted and voted on later this year, Ã¢â‚¬Å“They may very well be in their last throes by their own view cause they recognize how important it will be if the lose,Ã¢â‚¬? he said.
Of CheneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s words specifically, Rumsfeld added: Ã¢â‚¬Å“While I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t use them and I might not use them, I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s understandable that we can expect that kind of a response from the enemy.Ã¢â‚¬?
Rumsfeld engaged in contentious exchanges with committee Democrats.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IsnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it time for you to resign?Ã¢â‚¬? Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., asked the defense secretary, citing what he called Ã¢â‚¬Å“gross errors and mistakesÃ¢â‚¬? in the U.S. military campaign in Iraq.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve offered my resignation to the president twice,Ã¢â‚¬? Rumsfeld shot back, saying that President Bush had decided not to accept it. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s his call,Ã¢â‚¬? he said.
Rumsfeld told the committee that "timing in war is never predictable. There are never guarantees.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Those who say we are losing this war are wrong," he added. "We are not.Ã¢â‚¬?
Congressional Democrats are demanding answers about the future presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Rumsfeld, testifying on the progress in training IraqÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own security forces, said these forces have Ã¢â‚¬Å“a way to go,Ã¢â‚¬? but progress was being made.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Success will not be easy and it will require patience. ... But consider what has been accomplished in 12 months,Ã¢â‚¬? Rumsfeld said, citing elections in January, economic improvements, and an increasingly improving security force.
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Carnage in Baghdad
The Bush administration contends that Iraqis must be able to defend their own country against a lethal insurgency before a timeline for bringing home troops can be considered.
But progress has been slower than expected. In recent weeks, insurgents have increasingly targeted Iraqi security forces. And U.S. casualties, war spending and public skepticism continue to climb, ruffling both Republicans and Democrats.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Leaving before the task is complete would be catastrophic,Ã¢â‚¬? Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the panel.
Call for constitution
Levin said there was Ã¢â‚¬Å“no military settlement without a political settlement.Ã¢â‚¬?
He called for Iraqis to not keep putting off a vote on the drafting of a constitution. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Failure to adopt a constitution ... shows a lack of will,Ã¢â‚¬? he said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We must demonstrate to the Iraqis that our willingness to bear the burden ... has limits,Ã¢â‚¬? Levin said. At the same time, he said he did not support at this time a U.S.-set timetable for a U.S. exit strategy. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That policy would be counterproductive,Ã¢â‚¬? Levin acknowledged.
Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., praised President Bush for Ã¢â‚¬Å“steady and unflinching resolve.Ã¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our great nation has an enormous capacity for sacrifice and hardship when we understand the cause is just,Ã¢â‚¬? he said.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address