In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation "hard" but not "hopeless." Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.
The State Department's initial report of last month's incident in which Blackwater guards were accused of killing Iraqi civilians was written by a Blackwater contractor working in the embassy security detail, according to government and industry sources.
A U.S. Embassy in Baghdad document studying how Iraq fights corruption says the Iraqi government "is not capable of even rudimentary enforcement of anti-corruption laws" and the prime minister's office is openly hostile to the idea of an independent anti-corruption agency.
The U.S. military has determined that no disciplinary action should be taken against any soldier involved in the mistaken killing of an Italian intelligence agent who was trying to spirit a just-freed hostage out of Iraq.
A U.S. security official, assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, was killed on Sunday by a mortar attack on a U.S. Army base near Baghdad International Airport, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said.