Bush Says Iraq Situation Could Be Similar to Vietnam – Step Up in Violence before a US Election - Comparable to Tet Offensive

Bush Says Iraq Situation Could Be Similar to Vietnam – Step Up in Violence before a US Election - Comparable to Tet Offensive

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Killings and attacks in Baghdad have escalated over the last month despite an influx of US soldiers into the city, sparking a discussion in the Pentagon concerning our strategy. The joint Iraqi / U.S. “Operation Together Forward” has not lived up to expectations. The strategy was to bring more US forces into the capital city in an effort to halt violence.

On the same day that the President was pumping up an audience saying that “We will fight, we will stay, and we will win in Iraq,” his chief military spokesman in Baghdad, Gen. William Caldwell sounded discouraged. Caldwell said “the violence is indeed disheartening” because attacks were up 22 percent in the past three weeks.

Caldwell said that “Operation Together Forward” may have failed. Back in August, U.S. and Iraqi forces started conducting concentrated neighborhood-by-neighborhood sweeps of troubled areas, searching homes, setting up checkpoints and systematically clearing the areas of insurgents and militants participating in sectarian death squads. According to New York Times reporter, Michael Luo, these sweeps made a difference in some areas. But Caldwell says the “overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence” was not met.

General Caldwell said that U.S. and Iraqi forces have been going into areas where insurgents were previously cleared-out. But this was not enough and the insurgents were “punching back hard”. “They’re trying to get back into those areas,” he said. “We’re constantly going back in and doing clearing operations again.”

White House spokesman Tony Snow tried to smooth-over the Generals remarks by saying “The White House listens to the Generals, but I would caution you against saying its not working because that is not their (the General’s) view.” The White House claims there will routine adjustments. Snow added “tactics change all of the time”.

The Khaleej Times in the United Arab Emirates reports that a series of deadly suicide bomb attacks launched another day of violence in Iraq on Thursday. The northern city of Mosul “shuddered” under coordinated attacks coming every 20 minutes, including several suicide car bombs, mortar fire and small arms assaults against coalition forces and Iraqi police.

These horrific attacks have forced the unusual admission from President Bush: the situation is in some ways comparable to Vietnam in 1968. Bush said a New York Times correspondent “could be right” when he compared what is happening in Iraq with the Tet Offensive, which became the tipping point for America’s most famous defeat. Comment on this at our Forum

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Writer

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