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Archive for Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Boyda visits Iraqi war zone, sees progress

December 25, 2007

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U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., who has been a vocal critic of President Bush's policy in the war in Iraq, on Monday visited troops in Iraq and said the situation appears to be improving.

"It's headed in a much better direction but everything is very tentative," Boyda said after receiving briefings from war commander Army Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and others.

She said that violence has decreased significantly in the region but that U.S. military and civilian officials don't want to raise hopes yet.

"What is happening on the ground tactically is very good, and everyone is hopeful that it will continue, but no one is taking anything for granted and they don't want to overstate things," she said.

Boyda, whose district includes western Lawrence, visited Iraq with five other congressmen led by Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Wearing body armor, Boyda flew in an Osprey aircraft to Anbar Province and then went on to Baghdad, where she was scheduled to have lunch with troops from Kansas on Christmas. She also rode in a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, which were developed by the military to better withstand roadside bomb blasts.

She said she saw a lot of destruction.

"It's a war zone and it looks like a war zone," she said in a telephone interview.

In addition to a reduction in violence, she said the government of Iraq has made progress in a number of areas, including a national budget.

"From top to bottom, our military and our civilian leadership as well will tell you there is not a tactical military solution to this war. It has to be political," she said.

She said violence started decreasing about 15 months ago when former insurgents in Anbar Province started working with the Americans because of atrocities committed by al-Qaida in Iraq.

"Our troops have done an incredibly good job," she said. "The buds of a political solution are starting to form."

Comments

kansasbrandon 7 years ago

This news can not make Boyda supporters happy.

She is supposed to blindly claim things in Iraq aren't going well and that we're never going to win.

I can just see it now... thousands of Lawrencians ripping thier Boyda bumper stickers off leaving a sticky gooey mess...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

No matter how good things get in Iraq, and things are far from good there right now, the end will never justify the means-- approaching 4000 Americans dead, and counting, tens of thousands maimed for life, and counting, with an eventual price tag exceeding $2 trillion, and counting, and the US reputation around the world destroyed; not to mention over 1 million Iraqis dead, with its infrastructure and the fabric of society completely destroyed by the ethnic cleansing that is the primary reason for the somewhat reduced level of violence.

kansasbrandon 7 years ago

"the US reputation around the world destroyed"

I believe it was a mistake to go to war in Iraq.

However, I also believe leaving Iraq a mess would be the worst possible solution for the US reputation around the world and the best way to repair that reputation is to see the job through until Iraq develops a stable government. That's what the US has said is the goal in Iraq and the last I checked what makes or breaks ones integrity is doing what you claim you will do and not backing out.

b_asinbeer 7 years ago

This just in...22 people killed and 50 wounded in Iraq. 4 more killed in a separate attack by "suiciders."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071225/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq;_ylt=A0WTcUYUAXFHAg0BhBKs0NUE

Things may be looking better for now, but the violence is STILL there. It's a shame what we are doing to our brave and valiant troops, as well as the poor innocent Iraqi people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"That's what the US has said is the goal in Iraq"

BushCo has one goal, and one goal only in Iraq-- to seize control of its oil fields and establish permanent military bases to assure control of and continued access to oil throughout the Middle East.

The one unifying theme among all Iraqis is that they want the US out. There will be no peace, and no political reconciliation as long as the US miltary is there.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

She could not have spent enough time in Iraq to make any determination one way or the other. Politicians on both sides of the aisle make very quick visits to Iraq. Get in get out! The powers that be are not going to schedule a lunch with these soldiers: "U.S. Soldiers Stage Mutiny, Refuse Orders in Iraq Fearing They Would Commit Massacre in Revenge for IED Attack

We speak with a reporter from the Army Times who gives an inside account of how an army unit committed mutiny and refused to carry out orders in Iraq. After an IED attack killed five more members of Charlie 1-26, members of 2nd Platoon gathered for a meeting and determined they could no longer function professionally. Several platoon members were afraid their anger could set loose a massacre." http://www.democracynow.org/2007/12/21/us_soldiers_stage_mutiny_refuse_orders

I say bring the troops home to their families.

Then send the politicians to Iraq starting with Bush/Cheney. After all they started it they should fight it. Bush/Cheney lied from day one...send them to the front lines that they created. 1,000,000 dead Iraq people,4000 dead soldiers, approximately 20,000 - 30,000 disabled american soldiers plus 50 years disability pay and medical treatment puts the taxpayers close to a 2 trillion dollar war.

average 7 years ago

Gotta agree with Bozo. Nothing amiss with saying things are better in Iraq now than a year ago. Are they better than ten years ago? Depends on your ideological view. Are they a trillion-and-more dollars (more than $40,000 per Iraqi man, woman, and child) better than they were? Again, depends on who's counting... but we sure can't afford too many more victories like that one.

Godot 7 years ago

She received a briefing from Petraeus? I thought she walked out on his briefing to Congress because she felt she was being lied to. Interesting that she chooses to listen to him when her own life is on the line.

Sean Livingstone 7 years ago

Things are improving in Iraq? How do you measure that? Is it really true? Or because things are becoming so bad that anything will still be much better than "so bad". Is this trend sustainable? Simply looking at the numbers of civilians and soldiers killed doesn't mean anything at all. Things could get worst from behind the scene, Al-Qaeda related group may be gathering resources for another major attack. They may be concentrating their efforts elsewhere, probably in Basra? Improving? How long did any of the politicians stay in Iraq?

bisky1 7 years ago

geez bozo i would have thought you, if anyone, could look at iraq from an historical perspective. 50 years from now bush will prove to have done exactly what needed to be done.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"50 years from now bush will prove to have done exactly what needed to be done."

I think there are millions of Iraqis who would disagree with you.

Millions of Americans, as well

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Here's a medical analogy--

Under Saddam, Iraq had the equivalent of arthritis, stomach ulcers and some troubling, often violent, mental disorders.

With the US invasion, Iraq was afflicted with pancreatic cancer, HIV, untreatable tuberculosis and hep C. The latest "remission" is nothing but recovery from some opportunistic secondary infections. The likely fatal diseases are still there.

truthhurts 7 years ago

What needed to be done? How was Iraq a threat to our security? The action was started based on "faulty intelligence" (i.e., a lie). Unfortunately most of Congress (GOP and Democrats) bought into this because they love their job more than this country.

Sean Livingstone 7 years ago

bisky1 (Anonymous) says:

"geez bozo i would have thought you, if anyone, could look at iraq from an historical perspective. 50 years from now bush will prove to have done exactly what needed to be done."

You've discounted several things. Iraqis are mostly divided between the Sunnis and Shi'tes, with the Kurds in the Northern zone being heavily discriminated which we have just learned. So they're not fundamentally Christians where western societies are based on.

They don't agree like us, winners take it all mentality is still dominate in their society. It takes western societies hundreds of years to realize that winners take it all, but losers don't have to lose their lives.

They all want American way of democracy, but one thing we forgot.... their society needs to make tremendous adjustment to accommodate our kind of democracy. And society is hard to change, especially when they have deeply rooted cultures and religions to begin with.

I hope the Bush Administration learnt something from this war, if not millions of lives are lost for nothing.

bearded_gnome 7 years ago

ah yes, again the racial prejudice of the left, how those poor little brown people can't do democracy! shame!

it is laughable how boozo and merrill (a despicable subhuman who praises those who blow up our troops) respond to obvious good news. boyda tries to play down the good news and fails to attribute it to the surge. proves this: they are heavily invested in our defeat in iraq. the number of civilian deaths put forth by boozo is also laughable, first it is inflated. second, it includes civilians killed by saddam's troops, his followers after his fall, terrorists, etc. it would be like blaming the allies for londoner's death's in the london blitz because we went and stirred up mr. Hitler. further, with merrill praising the killers of our troops, it is obvious that the deaths of our troops are only rhetorical opportunities for boozo/merrill et al, and they really don't care about these precious lives. finally, they want an immediate pullout, which would mean the lives and limbs sacrificed would be for naught for certain. boyda even admits now there's governmental progress!: In addition to a reduction in violence, she said the government of Iraq has made progress in a number of areas, including a national budget.

good news hits these lunatic left fringies pretty hard it seems. very sad, and that on Christmas too, they have to be so invested in american defeat. that's treason.

Sean Livingstone 7 years ago

bearded_gnome,

I'm appalled by your ignorance. Lunatics... who are they? Al-Qaeda is an ideology, not a group.

Al-Sadr has nothing to do with Al-Qaeda and he operates a group that is basically anti-American. Do you want to kill him? He isn't responsible for 9/11, though he has killed quite a lot of our military personnel?

So if you held responsible Al-Sadr and his lunatics, how about the Iraqis that we killed? The vicious circle will never end. Thanks to your favorite president who get us in this mess and yet, he never get impeached.

Will we win the war in Iraq? The battle can only be won by winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. Most of the so-called lunatics are Iraqi commoners, who do not have food to feed their families, or had someone killed during the war, or were somehow affected by the Iraq invasion.

Will we win the war? Sure, you can continue to lie to yourself, like Larry Craig... that you won, you won, but in fact, we lost some good friends. Will we win in Iraq? Nope, but the way you want us to win, is to bury our heads and assume that Iraqis got their "democracy", and become "westernized"...

I'm not surprised by your answer. Mitt Romney is the champion of this message, and I thought you just fell nicely into his ignorance all over again. A zillion-dollar war, with so much corruptions, and nothing to do with 9-11.... I'm so surprised that Georgi is still ruling us.

true_patriot 7 years ago

Iraq is a Pandora's box. Bush and the neo-liberals like Wolfowitz who ran the show ignored the warnings and opened it anyway, and now we're in a catch-22 just as predicted. Every day we stay we bleed ourselves of blood and gold and national preparedness, but if we leave, there will be chaos and bloodshed and brutal dictators. It will be worse than before we illegally invaded. A seeming paradox.

The idea that "the surge is working" is absurd. We're concentrating the full monolithic force and resources of the world's greatest superpower on a handful of phsyical locations in Iraq and barely managing to hold the floodgates halfway closed.

The south of Iraq is already the kind of Islamo-fascist horror-scape all the racist fear-mongering Glen Becks and local trolls warn about the threat of across the world - while that trumped up threat will never materialize, it's here, today, in Iraq, as a direct result of our illegal invasion of that country. Women in the south are being raped, beaten, tortured and killed because their headscarves weren't worn quite right, or a lock of their hair was showing. Their families are too afraid to say anything against the system there, even when it is their own daughters being raped and murdered.

Northern Iraq, the area most friendly to the United States before our invasion, is becoming unstable. And elsewhere, now that we have armed them to the hilt, regions like Anbar will immediately assume control of their own areas using more force and violence than ever before once we inevitably have to reduce troop presence to prevent our mlitary from becoming completely hollow and once we quit buying their temporary loyalty in monstrous sums of cash on a regular basis.

Ghastly torture chambers were discovered just a few days ago, whole city areas have been ethnically cleansed, millions have lost their lifetime savings and family homes and property and are living as refugees, the mortality rate is through the roof, and several cities are essentially police-state cities, all concrete and barriers and checkpoints. What was once a ten minute walk to a market to buy some food to feed the family is now a three hour ordeal, with a very real chance of getting shot by a suspicious Iraqi or American guard or outsourced security firm mercenary, getting hit with a roadside bomb, getting blasted by a suicide bomber, or falling prey to the more mundane crimes of robbery, beating, torture, dismemberment, or "disappearing."

true_patriot 7 years ago

But have no fear, Iraq is far too lucrative a corporate venture paradise to simply let slip away after investing hundreds of billions of yours and my hard-earned tax dollars to line the pockets of the elite few that reap the greatest shareholder rewards of the far-flung network of corporations in this web of disaster and war profiteering. It used to just be those that made planes and bombs but now it's just about everything you can think of, right down to doing a fraudulently overpriced and utterly incompetent job at feeding and washing the clothes of our fighting (and dying) men and women in Iraq.

Charles L Bloss Jr 7 years ago

She should have been in a HumVee, like most anyone else over there. Thank you, Lynn

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"Most in here should base their opinions upon facts, not what they have heard."

As should you.

true_patriot 7 years ago

Don't Feed -

I respect the fact that you served your country, but your take on the situation is hogwash. You speak about facts versus opinions, but nearly everything you said is a distortion of the facts, a cleansed and rewritten version of events, while all you have to do is read the newswire reports to verify the current situation in Iraq. The very fact that you express ignorance of the current situation tells me just exactly how uninformed you are. Rather than the easy way of trolling with your daydreams about your fellow citizens becoming victim of nerve gas, perhaps you should spend the time learning something useful.

If you really care about the future of America, you really owe it to yourself and your country to become knowledgeable about what happened and what is happening. Everything i mentioned regarding the situation in Iraq has been in the news recently, but not in the headlines, of course. That doesn't sell ratings right now so you won't see much about it, even though it is a living nightmare for those suffering through it.

As far as your version of history, you really are living a fantasy. Conflating the use of WWI technology by Saddam 15 years prior (while the US. turned a blind eye and continued to deal with him) on his enemies while fighting on our behalf against Iran with a threat in 2003 that could be deployed against the West is moronic. There was zero intel of any quality high enough to justify war. None of the conditions necessary to rank intel reliable enough to make decisions concerning attacking a sovereign nation was met. None of them.

Inspections were slowly but surely confirming what the experts were already saying - Saddam had no WMD of any real capability, and on top of that he had no means to deploy them even if he did have them. Saddam was cooperating with the inspections, and Bush kicked the inspectors out before they could prove what was later proved after the invasion - there were no WMD. The nerve gas was destroyed the first time around, or aged away, and ten years of brutal sanctions prevented any new program from ever getting off the ground, far less there being even the ghost of a hint of any sort of truly "WMD" threat being developed like nuclear weapons.

Our response to 9-11 was amazing - we lost a few thousand people, and we responded by self-destructing - our nation is divided, the money of the people has been raided by the rich and powerful for nearly a trillion dollars and counting, we've plunged into generational debt (thereby weakening our national security for decades to come), our military is becoming hollow, and worst of all, we fell right into a trap - invading Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with 9-11 or the war on terror and was of zero threat to America or her allies - that has weakened our nation while vastly strengthening Iran's power in the region. I cannot think of a more absurdly pathetic response to 9-11 than exactly what has transpired.

true_patriot 7 years ago

You might also want to take a refresher on the first Gulf War - it didn't do down quite like the film reel you seem to run in your head of it. Saddam was not remotely going to invade Saudi Arabia. It is well documented that Bush Sr. , Rumsfeld and crew were on good terms with Saddam while he was fighting Iran and gasing the Kurds and draining the swamps the nomads lived in. Even after the war with Iran ended and his usefulness to us largely expired, they were still on good terms with him.

That's why, when Kuwait, one of the richest nations on earth and one of the most despicable in the way they treat their women and their "non-pure" subjects, began slant-drilling under the border into Saddam's oil fields, the one resource Iraq has since the Brits purposefully deprived them of a deep water port when they drew lines in the sand in the early part of last century, Saddam was furious. To top it off, Saddam was broke after fighting our war for us, and every time he attempted to bring in more revenue by increasing his oil output, Kuwait would turn their spiggots up and match him drop for drop, to negate his attempt at increased revenue.

So Saddam sent contacts to Bush Sr's admin asking for permission to encroach on Kuwait enough to take the nearest deep water port and secure the border to stop the theft of his oil from the slant drilling operations. They carefully checked all the treaties and agreements and gave word to Saddam that there was nothing at all that would force America to take any action Saddam proceed. It was everything except a graven invitation to proceed.

Once he moved, Maggie Thatcher came to Bush Sr, whose ratings were in the toilet for various reasons, not the least of them was that his son's involvement in that last huge rape of the working class by the ultra powerful, the S&L scandal (and subsequent bailout), was all over the magazine covers at the time. She convinced Bush that going to war with Saddam was the perfect option to divert attention and turn his administration around. He came out of that meeting, and aides recalled that while six hours earlier Saddam was our friend in the region, now the orders came down to get to work demonizing Saddam, to paint him as the next Hitler, to get the war machine rolling.

true_patriot 7 years ago

Of course, no war would ever happen, without Saudi Arabia's support, so the clever minds got to work and came up with a great plan - after assuring Saddam he could have his little piece of Kuwait along the Iraqi border, they secretly went to the Sauds and told them we had classified intel that Saddam was going to invade Kuwait, and that he intended to roll on through and possibly even attempt to attack Saudi Arabia, but that if we could put airbases right smack dab in the middle of their Holy Land to fight Saddam, we would guarantee them protection. It worked like a charm, and to this day, you repeat the fantasy version of it to yourself. However, i have to believe that if you chose instead to study the reaility of the situation both then and now, you would be far more engaged and caring about the future of your country than you may feel like you are right now.

jasonc_22 7 years ago

"Godot (Anonymous) says:

She received a briefing from Petraeus? I thought she walked out on his briefing to Congress because she felt she was being lied to. Interesting that she chooses to listen to him when her own life is on the line."

Hold on a minute- Boyda never walked out on Petraeus.

Lying doesn't help the cause

altarego 7 years ago

Good god, I have some catching up to do. I had no idea that Bush kicked the inspectors out of Iraq. I will have to re-think everything, now. Thank you LJW comment section.

I am ready to grasp on to the engagement and caring based on the reality of the situation so that In the future I can maybe feel like feeling more like the future than I may be feeling I may be feeling right now.

If there was a Hooters in this town, I would celebrate with some wangs and beer.

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