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Old 07-28-2008, 05:10 AM   #1
Drysdale
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Default Notice how quiet the Liberals have been about this...

Gee, I wonder why???

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j...uoiZgD925HT7G0
BAGHDAD (AP) — The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost.

Limited, sometimes sharp fighting and periodic terrorist bombings in Iraq are likely to continue, possibly for years. But the Iraqi government and the U.S. now are able to shift focus from mainly combat to mainly building the fragile beginnings of peace — a transition that many found almost unthinkable as recently as one year ago.

Despite the occasional bursts of violence, Iraq has reached the point where the insurgents, who once controlled whole cities, no longer have the clout to threaten the viability of the central government.

That does not mean the war has ended or that U.S. troops have no role in Iraq. It means the combat phase finally is ending, years past the time when President Bush optimistically declared it had. The new phase focuses on training the Iraqi army and police, restraining the flow of illicit weaponry from Iran, supporting closer links between Baghdad and local governments, pushing the integration of former insurgents into legitimate government jobs and assisting in rebuilding the economy.

Scattered battles go on, especially against al-Qaida holdouts north of Baghdad. But organized resistance, with the steady drumbeat of bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and ambushes that once rocked the capital daily, has all but ceased.

This amounts to more than a lull in the violence. It reflects a fundamental shift in the outlook for the Sunni minority, which held power under Saddam Hussein. They launched the insurgency five years ago. They now are either sidelined or have switched sides to cooperate with the Americans in return for money and political support.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told The Associated Press this past week there are early indications that senior leaders of al-Qaida may be considering shifting their main focus from Iraq to the war in Afghanistan.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the AP on Thursday that the insurgency as a whole has withered to the point where it is no longer a threat to Iraq's future.

"Very clearly, the insurgency is in no position to overthrow the government or, really, even to challenge it," Crocker said. "It's actually almost in no position to try to confront it. By and large, what's left of the insurgency is just trying to hang on."

Shiite militias, notably the Mahdi Army of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have lost their power bases in Baghdad, Basra and other major cities. An important step was the routing of Shiite extremists in the Sadr City slums of eastern Baghdad this spring — now a quiet though not fully secure district.

Al-Sadr and top lieutenants are now in Iran. Still talking of a comeback, they are facing major obstacles, including a loss of support among a Shiite population weary of war and no longer as terrified of Sunni extremists as they were two years ago.

Despite the favorable signs, U.S. commanders are leery of proclaiming victory or promising that the calm will last.

The premature declaration by the Bush administration of "Mission Accomplished" in May 2003 convinced commanders that the best public relations strategy is to promise little, and couple all good news with the warning that "security is fragile" and that the improvements, while encouraging, are "not irreversible."

Iraq still faces a mountain of problems: sectarian rivalries, power struggles within the Sunni and Shiite communities, Kurdish-Arab tensions, corruption. Anyone could rekindle widespread fighting.

But the underlying dynamics in Iraqi society that blew up the U.S. military's hopes for an early exit, shortly after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, have changed in important ways in recent months.

Systematic sectarian killings have all but ended in the capital, in large part because of tight security and a strategy of walling off neighborhoods purged of minorities in 2006.

That has helped establish a sense of normalcy in the streets of the capital. People are expressing a new confidence in their own security forces, which in turn are exhibiting a newfound assertiveness with the insurgency largely in retreat.

Statistics show violence at a four-year low. The monthly American death toll appears to be at its lowest of the war — four killed in action so far this month as of Friday, compared with 66 in July a year ago. From a daily average of 160 insurgent attacks in July 2007, the average has plummeted to about two dozen a day this month. On Wednesday the nationwide total was 13.

Beyond that, there is something in the air in Iraq this summer.

In Baghdad, parks are filled every weekend with families playing and picnicking with their children. That was unthinkable only a year ago, when the first, barely visible signs of a turnaround emerged.

Now a moment has arrived for the Iraqis to try to take those positive threads and weave them into a lasting stability.

The questions facing both Americans and Iraqis are: What kinds of help will the country need from the U.S. military, and for how long? The questions will take on greater importance as the U.S. presidential election nears, with one candidate pledging a troop withdrawal and the other insisting on staying.

Iraqi authorities have grown dependent on the U.S. military after more than five years of war. While they are aiming for full sovereignty with no foreign troops on their soil, they do not want to rush. In a similar sense, the Americans fear that after losing more than 4,100 troops, the sacrifice could be squandered.

U.S. commanders say a substantial American military presence will be needed beyond 2009. But judging from the security gains that have been sustained over the first half of this year — as the Pentagon withdrew five Army brigades sent as reinforcements in 2007 — the remaining troops could be used as peacekeepers more than combatants.

As a measure of the transitioning U.S. role, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond says that when he took command of American forces in the Baghdad area about seven months ago he was spending 80 percent of his time working on combat-related matters and about 20 percent on what the military calls "nonkinetic" issues, such as supporting the development of Iraqi government institutions and humanitarian aid.

Now Hammond estimates those percentage have been almost reversed. For several hours one recent day, for example, Hammond consulted on water projects with a Sunni sheik in the Radwaniyah area of southwest Baghdad, then spent time with an Iraqi physician/entrepreneur in the Dora district of southern Baghdad — an area, now calm, that in early 2007 was one of the capital's most violent zones.

"We're getting close to something that looks like an end to mass violence in Iraq," says Stephen Biddle, an analyst at the Council of Foreign Relations who has advised Petraeus on war strategy. Biddle is not ready to say it's over, but he sees the U.S. mission shifting from fighting the insurgents to keeping the peace.

Although Sunni and Shiite extremists are still around, they have surrendered the initiative and have lost the support of many ordinary Iraqis. That can be traced to an altered U.S. approach to countering the insurgency — a Petraeus-driven move to take more U.S. troops off their big bases and put them in Baghdad neighborhoods where they mixed with ordinary Iraqis and built a new level of trust.

Army Col. Tom James, a brigade commander who is on his third combat tour in Iraq, explains the new calm this way:

"We've put out the forest fire. Now we're dealing with pop-up fires."

It's not the end of fighting. It looks like the beginning of a perilous peace.

Maj. Gen. Ali Hadi Hussein al-Yaseri, the chief of patrol police in the capital, sees the changes.

"Even eight months ago, Baghdad was not today's Baghdad," he says.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:48 AM   #2
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You'd think someone with so much practice would do a better job of trolling.
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:16 AM   #3
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Well, it is a Monday....
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I know, you're in Ottawa, Davek. Still, I can't help but /poke you.
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And you wonder why I don't play nice with you? You leave my man buttons alone.. Those are Davek's.
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Hormadrune View Post
You'd think someone with so much practice would do a better job of trolling.
Awww... is this better?

Patriots are cheating losers!
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:33 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Drysdale View Post
Awww... is this better?

Patriots are cheating losers!
Fail.
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hormadrune View Post
Fail.
Yes they did.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Drysdale View Post
Yes they did.
Just not as badly as the Cowgirls. Or any team other than the Giants.

Again, fail.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:46 AM   #8
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http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/...ain/index.html

I blame Drysdale for tempting fate.
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:22 PM   #9
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Pelosi (on the view) said that the surge didn't work...and Obama said it pretty much worked better than what was expected, even from Bush and McCain.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:48 PM   #10
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Horm beat me to it.

Although I do think the surge is working. Powell was a failure as a politician (largely becuase like a good soldier he followed his orders), but they should have listened to him from the beginning (for those who forgot, Powell is the one who advised overwhelming numbers).

On a side note...has anyone else gotten the impression over the last few years that a supremely large number of people in Europe and the middle east spend pretty much all of thier time in the streets protesting?
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:12 PM   #11
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pittsburgh steelers, cheaters all 4 of their SB rings..... big deal, Dallas cowboys..... cheaters, can we say Michael Irving, the fact that the Pats are the BEST TEAM EVER has gotten them a bit more scrutiny for doing something that EVERY team in the league had been doing and IF every team hadn't been doing it then why did the commish have a memo saying they were going to crack down on the practice? silly arguement you have Drys on this one. (although yea the failed to win the SB still the best team anyone has ever seen assembled and there is ZERO arguement on this).
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Axgar View Post
the opinioin that the Pats are the BEST TEAM EVER
In this time of free agency and parity, that's surely nothing more than an opinion. But you're welcome to it.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:33 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Axgar View Post
pittsburgh steelers, cheaters all 4 of their SB rings..... big deal, Dallas cowboys..... cheaters, can we say Michael Irving, the fact that the Pats are the BEST TEAM EVER has gotten them a bit more scrutiny for doing something that EVERY team in the league had been doing and IF every team hadn't been doing it then why did the commish have a memo saying they were going to crack down on the practice? silly arguement you have Drys on this one. (although yea the failed to win the SB still the best team anyone has ever seen assembled and there is ZERO arguement on this).

Actually I will argue on this one, I don't like any of them.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Drysdale View Post
In this time of free agency and parity, that's surely nothing more than an opinion. But you're welcome to it.
Name a better team and why bud.... you really can't, now will another team come along better than this team? possible but not likely because the Pats players have taken less then their market value in a lot of cases in their quest for a championship ring...... people like JR Seau and Randy Moss, Wes Welker.......

I hate the fact that the cheating thing happened but in all actuality they are just the ones whom got caught AND we all KNOW why........ the Jets coach was guilty of it of one time or another and knew how to catch them.

That being said, the Steelers dynasty were cheaters, admitted steroid users....... are we going to deny their SB victories?

who knows maybe this year the cowboys exceed what the Pats did last year, AND win the big game..... from what I see they have the potential to be the best team ever BUT Im not a believer in ROMO, I think he is their weak spot when it comes to pressure games.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:53 AM   #15
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the fact that the Pats are the BEST TEAM EVER
To begin with, I am a Bucs fan. But the best team ever was the 85-86 Bears. Their defense may have been the best ever plus they had an offense anchored by Payton and a decent passing game.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:54 AM   #16
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The 72 Dolphins.. duh.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ShardmoonVer.1 View Post
The 72 Dolphins.. duh.
One of the all-time mediocre SB winners who played a ludicrously weak schedule. Fail!
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:28 AM   #18
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I'll give the nod to the '85-86 Bears over last year's Pats not because I think they were decidedly better, but because they did close the deal. The Pats were an all-time great team last year, but I don't think a team can be *the* all-time great without winning it all.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:26 AM   #19
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Every thing is subjective except the numbers in the win loss column. 18 and 1 is awesome. So is fucking a fat chick. Niether are worth bragging about.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:01 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ShardmoonVer.1 View Post
Every thing is subjective except the numbers in the win loss column. 18 and 1 is awesome. So is fucking a fat chick. Niether are worth bragging about.
If you think W/L is objective, you don't understand sports at any level. My little league team went undefeated one year. I'm quite sure there were teams better than ours that year who didn't run the table. My jr. high football team went winless one year and I'm quite sure there were teams who won a game that year who weren't as good as we were. W/L is as subjective a measure as any other. Frankly, anyone claiming an objective viewpoint on sports is selling something.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:04 AM   #21
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Look, you are doing your Bumbles imitation and telling me what I do and dont understand. Congratulations on winning the internet.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:33 AM   #22
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Oh I think there's a lot you don't understand, this is a very small subset. Congratulations on losing at life.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:46 AM   #23
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Its hard to lose at life when the competition is so weak. Try harder.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:49 AM   #24
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bah, this foreplay is boring.
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I know, you're in Ottawa, Davek. Still, I can't help but /poke you.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:21 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Hormadrune View Post
If you think W/L is objective, you don't understand sports at any level.
This isn't sports "at any level." This is the NFL. Everyone has the same competition, Horm. The Pats' schedule was no tougher than the Giants' last year.

Originally Posted by Horm
The Pats were an all-time great team last year, but I don't think a team can be *the* all-time great without winning it all.
You cannot be "one of" the all-time great teams, period, without a championship at the end of the season.
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