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CNN does 'reality check' on White House's Iraq progress report
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Friday July 13, 2007
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CNN reported Friday that the House of Representatives has passed a bill calling for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by next April. However, the bill is likely to be blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate and if it survives there will be vetoed by the president.

CNN then turned to a "reality check" from journalist Michael Ware in Baghdad on the White House's Iraq report, released on Thursday, which claims progress on 8 out of 18 benchmarks set by Congress.

"The authors of this report are far more generous than I would ever be," said Ware. "For example, they suggested there's been satisfactory progress in the area of sectarian violence It's quite a stunning claim ... Here in Baghdad, they're finding less bodies on the streets each morning tortured and executed. But we're still talking about five or six hundred each month. ... It almost dishonors the suffering of the Iraqi people to say that."

Ware then pointed out a couple of reasons why sectarian violence might be diminishing even without the efforts of American troops. "About 50,000 Iraqis a month have been fleeing this country or have been displaced," he stated. "So there's simply less targets for the sectarian violence. ... The ethnic cleansing has been successful. ... Finally, we're seeing the American military is now allowing some Sunni neighborhoods to have their own Sunni militias. ... If there's a Sunni militia in your neighborhood, the police death squad can't get to you."

"It's an extraordinarily difficult thing to gauge whether the surge is, in fact, working or not," Ware concluded, pointing out that the surge only affects a small part of Iraq and also that Iraqi insurgents have greatly stepped up their own attacks against American forces since the surge began.

The following video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast on July 13.