Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"Success in Iraq is Possible and Can Be Achieved on a Realistic Timetable"

Khalilzad framed the Iraqi conflict as part of the struggle for security in the Middle East, which he called "the challenge of our age." He sought to rally flagging public support in the United States for the war and answer calls -- led by Democrats -- to set a timeline for American withdrawal.

"The recent sectarian bloodshed in Iraq causes many to question whether the United States and the Iraqis can succeed," Khalilzad said. "My message today is straightforward: Despite the difficult challenges we face, success in Iraq is possible and can be achieved on a realistic timetable."

But events inside and outside the Green Zone on Tuesday highlighted the stubbornness of the basic problems with which U.S. forces have struggled since the 2003 invasion: security and infrastructure. Killings by insurgents in the western province of Anbar helped push up the October death toll among American troops in Iraq by four service members to 91, the U.S. military said Tuesday, the highest monthly total for American forces in the country in 12 months.

And Casey and Khalilzad, the top U.S. military and civilian leaders in Iraq, were left for several minutes to deliver their remarks in darkness illuminated only by the battery-powered lights of TV camera crews. One of Baghdad's frequent power outages cut electricity to the converted parking garage that houses the U.S. military press center, briefly knocking the internationally broadcast conference off the air.


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