Signs of Progress

by Gene Callahan by Gene Callahan

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2005 – Over two years after the end of Gulf War II, President Bush on Wednesday blamed rising violence in Iraq on the "tremendous" U.S. progress being made there, saying coalition successes are making insurgents more desperate.

Bush spoke only hours after the entire 1083rd Armored Company had been captured by Iraqi malcontents, on a day when bombings in Baghdad killed hundreds of people.

"The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity that’s available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more things are gonna blow up," Bush told reporters. "That’s just the way life is sometimes."

Defense officials said loyalists of fallen Iraq leader Saddam Hussein likely were responsible for taking the 1083rd hostage, and for the bombings Monday at twenty-three police stations, the offices of ten aid organizations, and at the headquarters of the Iraqi government. "It’s incredible that the two Saddam loyalists we haven’t yet captured could wreak so much havoc, but there you have it," commented one official.

Defense officials conceded that there was some possibility that the recent wave of violence was coordinated. For example, they admitted, it was hard to imagine that the fact that the pattern of bombings spelled out "Go home, Yanks" was entirely coincidental.

Bush said those who are continuing to engage in violence "can’t stand the thought of a free society. They hate freedom. They hate cute little babies. They hate kittens. They love terror. They love cockroaches and fingernails squeaking on chalkboards."

But Bush said he remains "even more determined to work with the few remaining Iraqi people" to restore peace and general niceness to the war-torn nation.

Said Paul Bremer, recently appointed as Grand Vizier of Iraq: "We’ll have rough days, days where these terrorists may capture several hundred American troops and assassinate the entire Iraqi puppet regime… but the overall thrust is in the right direction and the good days outnumber the bad days. For example, on no other day this week did we lose an entire company of troops!"

As they have said following previous attacks over the last two-and-one-half years, U.S. officials vowed that the newest wave of violence will not deter them. Major General Ray Ordinario said, "Nothing will prevent us from blindly following this hopeless… I mean, from systematically rooting out remnants of the former regime and training Iraqis to take over responsibility for security."

Ordinario said that since September 10, his forces have conducted offensive raids and other missions that netted the capture of 6,231 mid-level former regime members, 143 explosives makers and 19 "extremely bad" karaoke singers. Ordinario said they also have seized $1.5 million and plan on having "one really big party back in the States" with the money.

October 31, 2003

Gene Callahan/Stu Morgenstern Archives