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http://www.texarkanagazette.com/articles/2004/11/30/local_news/opinion/opinions01.txt
Don't postpone elections to offset threats



Iraqi officials are steadfast in their belief that, despite ongoing violence and unrest, the country's first democratic election should go on as planned Jan. 30.


Given the situation in Iraq, that could be considered a bold assessment. But democracy doesn't come easy, and to demonstrate this resolve is to demonstrate to rebellious factions that neither threats of attacks nor boycotts will thwart Iraq's journey toward democratic self rule.
http://www.texarkanagazette.com/articles/2004/11/30/local_news/opinion/opinions01.txt
Given the situation in Iraq, that could be considered a bold assessment. But democracy doesn't come easy, and to demonstrate this resolve is to demonstrate to rebellious factions that neither threats of attacks nor boycotts will thwart Iraq's journey toward democratic self rule.



Sunni Muslims, who constitute a religious minority in Iraq, have urged the government to postpone elections to ensure voting sites are safe and to quell Sunni clerics' call to boycott the elections. To an extent, there is merit in the Sunnis' contentions.


Still, Iraqis who crave freedom and a democratic government know they must make a courageous stand somewhere to lend a sense of legitimacy to their political aspirations. By not kowtowing to a violent minority, Iraqi officials are moving one step closer to the objective of creating a democratic society and at the same time are reassuring Iraqis that majority consent, not minority dissent, will forge the country's future.
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/1201kyl02.html
Our military and intelligence people are doing an incredible job in Iraq. The battle of Fallujah - the most intense urban combat for U.S. troops in over a generation - has been a real turning point. We have defeated the insurgents in every encounter and massively disrupted their operations.
http://iafrica.com/news/worldnews/398785.htm
One year after the capture of Saddam Hussein, the United States is agonising over how to end the insurgency and create the "new Iraq" promised by President George W. Bush.

American news networks Monday rolled out year-old footage of a bedraggled Saddam being examined by a US army medic shortly after his capture. But the sense of confidence those images intially inspired was in short supply.

The insurgency, the protection of US troops, and troubled preparations for elections still scheduled for January 30 now dominate US headlines rather than Saddam and moves to bring him to trial.

About 1300 American troops have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, more than 1000 in combat.

Seven more US troops were killed in combat in Iraq on Sunday, the military announced, and seven Iraqis died in a suicide car bombing in Baghdad Monday — the latest evidence that the job in Iraq is far from over.
http://iafrica.com/news/worldnews/398785.htm
A US magazine reported Sunday that Saddam planned the guerrilla campaign well before his capture on December 13 last year.

US News and World Report quoted military intelligence as saying that in late 2002 Saddam sent more than 1000 security and intelligence officials to two military facilities near Baghdad for two months of special training.

Americans also had rare word of their former nemesis in reports that he had launched a hunger strike to protest his detention, a development firmly denied by the US military.

"This absolutely does not involve Saddam. He's in good condition and is continuing with his normal routine, which includes taking his meals," Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson, a spokesperson for detention operations in Iraq, said Sunday.

Saddam faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. His legal team has repeatedly accused the United States of denying them access to their client.

The 67-year-old former president is being held in US custody in a secret location in Iraq and has reportedly received recent treatment for an enlarged prostate gland, hernia problems and eye trouble.
http://iafrica.com/news/worldnews/398785.htm
A year ago, Bush said his capture had been essential for the emergence of a free Iraq. He called upon Iraqis to reject violence and come together build a new Iraq.

Detaining the ousted Iraqi leader boosted the stock market and the dollar, the price of oil fell. Opinion poll support for the Iraq war rose and the US public also showed itself more confident that most wanted terror mastermind Osama bin Laden would be caught.

But Bush also warned the American people that the capture of Saddam did not mean the end of violence in Iraq.

A year later, the US death toll in Iraq increases every day. Thousands of Iraqis have also lost their lives in that time in countless rocket attacks, suicide bombs and the simple killing of individual targets.

The United States has ordered an increase of 12 000 in the number of troops in Iraq - taking the total to about 150 000 - ahead of the elections.

The Bush administration is now fighting off criticism over the safety of US troops.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld faced complaints from troops about the lack of armour and bullet proof glass for military vehicles, at a meeting with US troops in Kuwait last week.

A soldier told how he and colleagues had to search scrap metal to find armour.

The United States has also had to admit that the violence has held up the reconstruction of Iraq.