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Bush Works to Ease GOP Fears Over Iraq ( Pentagon to deliver progress report to lawmakers. )
The Las Vegas Sun ^ | May 21, 2004 at 5:27:17 PDT | PAULINE JELINEK

Posted on 05/21/2004 10:42:06 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

WASHINGTON (AP) -

A day after President Bush sought to quell Republican fears over the beleaguered Iraq campaign, Pentagon leaders are delivering a progress report to lawmakers.

The president made a rare visit to Capitol Hill on Thursday to talk about Iraq, which is plagued by violence a year after the invasion and costing more than expected in American lives and money.

To exchange ideas about the way forward in Iraq, some three dozen diplomats from coalition nations met at the State Department, where Secretary of State Colin Powell told them, "We have a lot of work to do in the next 42 days." He referred to the June 30 deadline for U.S.-led occupation authorities to hand political power to an as-yet unchosen Iraqi government.

The subject of how things are progressing in Iraq will be taken up again Friday in a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee. Witnesses include Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker and Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee.

More details of Iraqi prisoner abuse became public Friday as The Washington Post published more photos and previously secret statements of prisoners at the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

In that secret testimony, prisoners said they were ridden like animals, fondled by female soldiers and forced to retrieve their food from toilets.

The Post reported it has obtained hundreds more pictures and several digital videos of the abuse. In one photo, a cornered inmate is cowering as a soldier tries to restrain a large black dog with both hands. In another photo, a naked prisoner covered with a brown substance is ordered to walk in a straight line with his ankles cuffed.

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who oversaw the prison, said Friday that the new photos were shocking but reiterated that she had seen no abuses of prisoners during the time she oversaw the facility.

She said she had limited access to the cellblocks where the abuses occurred because military intelligence personnel oversaw interrogation of prisoners and had panels installed over the doors and windows.

"If anybody had briefed me on those procedures and said 'This is what we're planning to do,' I would have said, 'Not in one of my facilities,'" Karpinski told "The Early Show" on CBS.

Briefing anxious Republican lawmakers Thursday, Bush warned of more difficult days in Iraq even after the transfer of sovereignty.

"This has been a rough couple of months for the president, particularly on the issues of Iraq, and I think he was here to remind folks that we do have a policy and this policy is going to be tough," said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. "Things, as I think he commented, are very likely to get worse before they get better."

Indeed, Lord Robertson, the recently retired NATO secretary-general, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the U.S.-led coalition will need more troops after June 30 than the 135,000 there now. They will be needed to provide security during the six months after June 30, during which the United Nations will be involved in arranging for an Iraq election in December or January, he said.

Bush's job-approval ratings have slumped to the lowest levels of his presidency, dragged down by the rising violence in Iraq. He sought to reassure lawmakers that despite the polls, he is eager for his re-election fight.

The president's visit also was meant to shore up the confidence of lawmakers getting ready to leave for their home states during the Memorial Day recess. Like Bush, most of the lawmakers face re-election - and will face constituents worried about Iraq.

Six weeks before the political handoff in Iraq, Bush also consulted in the Oval Office with Myers, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. John Abizaid, commander of American troops in the Middle East.

Powell said Thursday he is confident that the United States can win approval of a U.N. resolution that will endorse the interim government being assembled by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bush43; dod; gop; hasc; iraq; powell

1 posted on 05/21/2004 10:42:09 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Baynative

Would that Toon fit here?


2 posted on 05/21/2004 10:44:08 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
to talk about Iraq, which is plagued by violence a year after the invasion and costing more than expected in American lives and money.

I don't know about that. The appeasers on the left and the media know-it-alls (but I repeat myself) expected combat deaths in the thousands before Operation Iraqi Freedom started to roll.

3 posted on 05/21/2004 10:51:28 AM PDT by My2Cents ("Well...there you go again.")
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: Baynative; Grampa Dave; blam; Howlin; McGavin999; MEG33

Thank you , especially for the addition.


5 posted on 05/21/2004 11:04:17 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl

Well deserved R&R for RC ping...don't miss post 4.


6 posted on 05/21/2004 11:50:54 AM PDT by getgoing
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