Mission accomplished again:
"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Baghdad Saturday and publicly hailed early signs of success in a U.S.-Iraqi operation to quell sectarian violence in the embattled capital."
Condi said she was "very impressed with the leadership of the prime minister and his team." [I wonder if she gave them a piano recital?] Eventhough she had to fly around Baghdad airport for half an hour before she could land, she said the new security crackdown in Baghdad was giving Baghdadis "a new hope and a new optimism." (The WaPo article doesn't mention how she came to this conclusion since it's doubtful she actually went out into the streets to ask any of them.)
As proof of the sweeping successes US and Iraqi forces are having, the Iraqi government came out yesterday and said that the body count at the Baghdad morque was at all time lows. The LA Times reports:
"An ambitious military sweep appears to be dramatically reducing Baghdad's homicide rate, U.S. and Iraqi officials said." Nuri al-Maliki said, "The violence is not increasing…. No, we're not in a civil war. In Iraq, we'll never be in civil war. What you see is an atmosphere of reconciliation."
"U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of military forces in Baghdad, attributed the capital's declining violence to a sweep involving 8,000 U.S. soldiers and 3,000 Iraqi troops aimed at stopping sectarian violence."
Oh, woopse! That was an article from last August, when operation pull together forward was in full swing. I'm sure things will be different this time, though, right?
There is one little spot of bother that Condi dealt with privetly with al Maliki's impressive team. My Way reports: "Rice told Iraqi leaders that the Baghdad security operation needs to 'rise above sectarianism' and noted that no U.S. or Iraqi forces have yet moved into the capital's major Shiite militia stronghold."
Yeah, how about that, weird huh? I'm sure they'll get around to it. But since Muqtada and his gunmen are laying low, better to let sleepiong dogs lay, right? Condi says, "If, in fact, militias decide to stand down and stop killing innocent Iraqis . . . that can't be a bad thing."
Meanwhile Rice told the beleagured US embassy staff that she kept "hearing and reading the American people don't want to fight this war anymore. I don't think that's right. The American people want to know that we can succeed."
Noooo, I think they want us to get the hell out of there, Condi. Have you picked up a newspaper lately?