"I fully understand that this is a difficult war, and it's hard on the American people. But I will once again explain the consequences of failure to the American people, and I'll explain the consequences of success," George Bush.
In the previous thread Doug recounted the story as to how Patton relieved beleaguered US forces in Bastogne by moving three divisions one hundred miles in three days.
General Anthony McAuliffe, when surrounded by Germans at Bastogne, Belgium (Battle of the Bulge, 19 Dec. 1944), answered the besieging Germans' surrender demand by his now famous response: "Nuts!" Today, the town's central plaza is named after him, and a restaurant on the plaza still carries the response. Eisenhower asked LTG Patton how long it would take to get his Army to Bastogne to relieve the salient. Patton answered, "Three divisions in three days." Eisenhower was furious with Patton, believing Patton was living up to his cocky reputation. What Eisenhower didn't know is that Patton has already wargamed the scenario, and at the word "Go" could execute on order. On 26 December he arrived in Bastogne with three divisions. It took him just three days...I could not help thinking about that when I read this article posted on a Lebanese website. It is a dismal and pathetic little story. After four years in Iraq, this is a problem that should not be. Picture it magnified a thousand times if we just pack up and leave.
Sunni extremists seize control of village in Iraq The Daily Star
Sunni extremists seized control of a remote village northeast of Baghdad in a fierce battle with residents who pleaded for rescue by the Iraqi Army and police as they tried to defend their homes, the deputy provincial governor said Tuesday. In Baghdad, a big mortar and rocket attack on the capital's heavily fortified Green Zone compound on Tuesday killed two Iraqis and a Filipino and wounded 25 other people, Iraqi police said.
Police said some 30 mortars and rockets were fired at the compound, which houses the Iraqi government along with the US and British embassies. It was one of the biggest barrages against the zone since the US-led invasion in 2003. A US Embassy spokesman said he was not aware of anyone getting killed
Against the backdrop of violence, President George W. Bush rejected a new wave of attacks on his Iraq strategy Tuesday, shrugging off a Republican revolt and Democratic demands for troop withdrawals within four months.
There were few details of the fighting in the village of Sherween, a village of 7,000 Shiites and Sunnis in Diyala Province on Baghdad's northern gates. But the assault appeared to be an attempt by extremists to move into a new area, where residents say the two communities have gotten along relatively well.
For the past three weeks, US troops have been fighting to dislodge insurgents who had turned the provincial capital, Baqouba, in to their stronghold and were using it to launch attacks in nearby Baghdad.
A Sherween resident on Tuesday called Diyala Deputy Governor Auf Rahim and told him insurgents launched an assault on the village the day before and that fighting was still raging.
"Come help us or they will slaughter us all," Rahim said the resident told him in the call. Armed villagers were fighting back, but the attackers appeared to have largely gained control, Rahim told the Associated Press.
Rahim said the caller told him 25 militants and 18 residents were killed and 40 people wounded in the fighting, he said. The casualty figures could not be independently confirmed. The resident said the fighters belonged to Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
An Iraqi Army officer in the Mansouriyya region close to Sherween confirmed that insurgents appeared to be in control of the village, 60 kilometers northwest of Baqouba. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. http://www.dailystar.com.lb
The fight underlines the continued struggle in Diyala, where militants believed to be from Al-Qaeda in Iraq have reportedly left mass graves of victims in areas under their hold.
The soldiers have found whole streets and buildings wired with explosives, bomb and weapons factories and prisons run by extremists - and, Iraqi officials say, the bodies of 35 people slain by militants and dumped in village on Baqouba's outskirts.
The fight for Diyala has also highlighted the weaknesses of the Iraqi security forces, which US commanders acknowledge are unable to stand on their own despite three years of efforts to train them.
Bush, facing the most coordinated attack yet by the Democratic-led Congress on his tactics in Iraq, warned that US generals on the battlefield, not politicians in Washington would decide US troop levels.
"Troop levels will be decided by our commanders on the ground, not by political figures in Washington," Bush said on a trip to Ohio.
"I fully understand that this is a difficult war, and it's hard on the American people. But I will once again explain the consequences of failure to the American people, and I'll explain the consequences of success," he said.
The latest Democratic effort to demand a new course change unveiled Tuesday would require troop withdrawals within 120 days of enactment of the measure, then get most combat troops out of the country by the end of April 2008.
Future US operations would be limited to fighting terrorism, training Iraqi troops and protecting US assets, and the bill would effectively end Bush's strategy to surge up to 30,000 extra troops into the cauldron.
The White House also pushed back against reports Iraq's government will fail miserably in a key US survey of political and military progress due later this week, as a poll found seven in 10 Americans wanted most troops home by April.
"The Iraqis and the US forces have met some benchmarks and they haven't met others at the starting point here," Bush's spokesman, Tony Snow, told NBC television. - Agencies