President Bush spoke today to the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank. Bush highlighted progress made in
CNN discounts the selected examples by noting that these are cities “where relatively few insurgent attacks occur.” A few paragraphs later CNN adds “Neither city lies in the Sunni Triangle in central
I pulled out the specific references to progress in Najaf and these are indicated in the table below. CNN makes some brief general statements while Fox goes into much greater detail.
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But when the militias were routed, Najaf began to blossom, the president said, quoting one Najaf resident by saying: "Three years ago, we were in ruins, one year ago we were fighting in the streets, now look at us — shopping and eating."
Although there's still plenty of work to be done in Najaf and around Iraq, and reconstruction has been full of "fits and starts" in terms of sustained electricity and making sure the influence of armed gangs is reduced, Bush said progress in Najaf includes:
— Rebuilding of the local police force with the help of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Najaf's governor and other local officials;
— Repair of schools and homes and the rebuilding of a soccer stadium;
— Restoration of clean drinking water;
— The opening of new businesses and markets even in some of the poorest areas;
— Visits by religious pilgrims;
— Creation of construction jobs that are putting people back to work;
— Return of the Najaf Teaching Hospital, which was looted and used as a military fortress by militias and is now open to serve hundreds of patients each day.
"Najaf is now in the hands of elected government officials, and elected provincial officials are at work," Bush said, adding that
"They have no intention of returning to the days of tyranny and terror," the president said of the residents in Najaf.
Links to the articles: