In Mosul, Kirkuk and areas of Baghdad, the U.S. military commanders tried to bring the Iraqis into the fold and work with them, offering the carrot over the stick. I remember covering Lt. Gen. David Petraeus when he was in charge of the northern sector of Iraq three years ago. He met regularly with the Iraqis in his district and had an open line of communication. (It is difficult to link, but after Lt. Gen. Petraeus left Mosul, the situation there deteriorated badly making it unsafe for westerners to travel their on their own.)
The stated plan now is for Iraqi troops to take full control of the security situation and let them take the lead in fighting the insurgents. The Ministry of Defense announced this week that 115,000 troops have joined the military -- but there is a long way to go to reach the number that will be able to take control. There are at least 15,000 armed militias who operate outside of the control of the government and they are viewed as significant concern here by the U.S. military.
If you are looking at what is happening in Iraq as the U.S. still being at war, then you must be connecting what is happening here in Iraq with the war on terror. The war on terror is not going to be won in Iraq even if a stable situation does finally come around.
Mandi from Victor, W.Va.: I would like you to do a segment on David Iche and his interview of alias Arizona Weilder. I truly think if you can do stories on "The Da Vinci Code" and those beliefs, you should do a three-hour special on the oil and who gets rich out of this so-called war. It is a plan from years back and if you tell all the truth (like you are trying to do with "DaVinci Code" info) you should tell it all!
Answer: Does Arizona Weilder work in Iraq? He would be a brave man if he did. At the moment no one is getting rich off Iraqi oil since terrorist acts continue to make it difficult to get to the market. One of the goals of a permanent government will be to avoid the temptations of squandering or stealing the revenues of this important resource which is vital to rebuild the country.
Linda Lee Peters from Owings Mills, Md.: How much progress are we making in the war and will the progress continue when our men and women come home? Also, is everything being done for out service people when they come home? Medical, jobs and emotional therapy; at no cost to them? One more question, do our service people have the proper armor and protective clothing etc., to do the best we can to protect them?
Answer: Let me answer what I can from your questions. I can't report with any knowledge about how American service men and women are assisted when they return back to the United States since my reporting is done here in Iraq. I would add that in my observations the U.S. provides excellent field medical care to treat our soldiers injured in Iraq. The facilities, in terms of food and housing in the more developed camps, are very good. (The food at Camp Victory mess hall offers an amazing choice!)