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Thursday, September 23, 2004

A rosy picture from the Rose Lawn

Iraq's interim prime minister Ayad Allawi is expected to appear with George W. Bush today, "where the two leaders were to assert from the White House Rose Garden that progress is being made and the future is bright in Iraq," the Associated Press reports.

Jennifer Loven writes in the AP,
Allawi's visit comes as troop casualties and civilian kidnappings in Iraq have increased, large parts of the country have come under the control of insurgents and doubts have surfaced at the United Nations that democratic elections can be held in January as planned.

An assessment of Iraq's future put together recently by U.S. intelligence officials spoke of possibilities ranging from tenuous stability to civil war, and even some GOP senators have said there is a need for more candid talk from the White House.

Loven adds, "Bush has made clear that the importance of Allawi's visit lies largely in the opportunity for the Iraqi leader to reinforce for Americans the president's own confident assessment of Iraq."

Loven also quotes Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who "suggested that the administration should spend less time staging an attractive photo opportunity and more adopting a realistic view of the challenges ahead."

"As Prime Minister Allawi comes here, we need real accomplishments and real progress and honest measures of capability, not soundbites of rhetoric which are not substantiated by the figures being issued in detail by the United States government,'" Cordesman told the AP.


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