With most of Congress in an uproar over new White House plan for the war in Iraq, one could be forgiven for thinking that the new strategy is diametrically opposed to last month’s report of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. To be sure, the harsh tone towards Iran and Syria was not something that James Baker and Lee Hamilton recommended, but in several respects the ISG and the White House are actually singing in tune. First, sending reinforcements to Baghdad was not opposed by the Iraq Study Group. The ISG report clearly states that it could “support a short-term redeployment […]

PUERTO ASIS, Colombia — About a year ago, Carolina saw the fumigation planes flying low over her family’s farm near the Ecuadorian border here. They were trailed by clouds of herbicide, which killed the family’s crops of coffee, yucca, peanuts and bananas. The United States-financed spraying is supposed to kill illegal coca bushes, the base ingredient for making cocaine. But Carolina said her family had no coca, although many of their neighbors did. “They fumigated the whole land, corn, rice, bananas, pineapples and forage,” she said. “The three animals we had, cows and calves, died three weeks later.” While she […]

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FOREIGN REACTION TO BUSH SPEECH GLOOMY — If domestic reaction to President Bush’s new Iraq strategy has been largely negative, foreign comments have been no better. From Paris to Riyadh, media comment has been critical of the administration’s approach and skeptical of its success. An editorial in the leading French newspaper Le Monde began: “Anyone who expected the American president to learn a lesson from the Democratic victory in Congress and from the current chaos in Iraq and overhaul his strategy is disappointed.” But the paper said Bush has at least “abandoned his triumphalist tones.” In addition, “gone are the […]

WASHINGTON — As “civil war” rages in Iraq, so does the increasingly furious fight between Democrats and the Bush administration over what to do now that the holidays — and with them the season of election-year posturing — are finally over. The rhetorical salvos could not have been more piercing across Washington yesterday as the new Democratic leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened the first in a series of hearings on how to change the current course of action in Iraq — just hours before President George W. Bush appeared on national television in an apparent attempt to […]

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In both his public speech to the nation Wednesday evening and his private meeting the day before with House Democrats, President Bush warned that a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq would encourage international terrorism and gravely damage America’s standing in the Middle East. On this basis, he has called for increasing the commitment of U.S. troops and other resources to the region. Although the crisis in Iraq is important, the administration needs to pay more attention to other regions of equal if not greater long-term significance. In particular, the conflict has already generated major trends in East Asia gravely harmful […]

In advance of President Bush’s speech Wednesday evening, the sound and shape of his new strategy for Iraq unfolded in Baghdad’s Haifa Street district Tuesday, when over 1,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops supported by helicopter gunships and F-15 fighter jets engaged Sunni Muslim insurgents in one of their strongholds. The Iraqi authorities said about 50 militants were killed in one of the biggest operations in the capital since the 2003 invasion. The offensive effectively launched of the Battle for Baghdad, one of the key elements of the new U.S. strategy to pull Iraq back from the brink of chaos. Iraqi […]