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Monday, July 9, 2007

Mini Tet Offensive in Iraq

AP reports Sunni extremists may try a series of high-profile attacks ahead of a September report to Congress on progress in Iraq, the top U.S. commander said Saturday, recalling the Tet offensive that torpedoed support for the Vietnam War. ``We expect they will try this - pull off a variety of sensational attacks and grab the headlines to create a `mini-Tet,''' Gen. David Petraeus told The Associated Press. The 1968 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Tet offensive failed to achieve most of its tactical goal but it shattered political support for the Vietnam War among the U.S. public. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are to present a report to Congress by Sept. 15 on the situation in Iraq. Several Republicans say if progress is not made by then, they may call for a new strategy in Iraq.
The general would not say what he and Crocker plan to tell Congress in the report. But he added that the two top American officials in Iraq ``have a responsibility to produce our assessment of the implications'' of ``different options.''

There is more from the Houston chronicle

Political paralysis, surging violence frustrate hopes for progress in Iraq.

U.S. troop strength in Iraq only recently reached the level envisioned by President Bush's surge strategy, so it is too early to judge its chance of success. However, if this weekend's wave of violence is a prelude to progress, Americans must shudder to think what impending failure would look like.

Over the weekend, suicide bombers and other insurgents killed 220 Iraqis. The attacks demonstrated the inability of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers to ensure widespread, uniform security and the insurgents' ability to seek out vulnerable targets in unsecured areas.

The weekend attacks corresponded to a prediction by the U.S. commander in Iraq, David Petraeus. He said Sunni insurgents would try to "pull off a variety of sensational attacks and grab the headlines to create a mini-Tet." While the Viet Cong's Tet offensive in 1968 failed militarily, it succeeded in its goal of persuading many Americans that the war in Vietnam was unwinnable.

Petraeus notes accurately that political and military progress in Iraq must accompany and will bolster one another. However, the apparent paralysis of the Iraqi government, combined with the surge in violent attacks, is having the opposite effect.

Several prominent Republican senators have called for a change of strategy — one leading to the withdrawal or repositioning of U.S. troops in Iraq. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled his departure on a tour of four Latin American nations and will remain in Washington to meet on Iraq. More Here

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