March 8, 2007
In his first news conference since becoming the top U.S. commander on the ground, General David Petraeus made it clear, military force will not be enough to end the daily bloodshed in Iraq and that political talks
must eventually include some militant groups.
"We can, however, in part with our Iraqi colleagues, help improve the security situation and enable the Iraqi people to control the demons responsible for the vicious sectarian violence of the past year" said Petraeus.
Petraeus told reporters it's likely additional forces will be sent to
areas outside the capital. As for the new security plan in Baghdad, the commander says there are preliminary signs of success.
"Iraqi and coalition soldiers and police will be able to improve levels of security for the Iraqi population, then, the Iraqi government will have the
chance it needs to resolve some of the difficult situations it faces" said Petraeus.
A gun battle on the streets of Baghdad illustrates one of those difficult
situations. Insurgents opened fire again on Shi'ites on a pilgrimage to
Karbala. More than 150 have been killed trying to make the journey.
And there's another showdown over the war here in Washington. house Democrats are moving forward on a plan that would require the Pentagon to pull U.S. combat forces out of Iraq, by the fall of next
The Democrats' plan could require U.S. forces to leave by the end of
this year. If the Maliki government doesn't meet security goals, Democrats plan to attach their bill to the White House's request for an
extra 100-billion dollars for the war effort.