Thursday, November 02, 2006

Report: U.S. Military Judged Iraq as Heading Towards Chaos

As discussed with LTC Chris Garver on our Iraq The Real Story segment this morning.

Military commanders said in an assessment two weeks ago that Iraq is edging towards chaos, according to a classified military chart published yesterday (November 1st) in the New York Times. The chart, called "Index of Civil Conflict," is a color-coded bar with "peace" in a green area on the left and "chaos" in a red area on the right. The current situation was marked by an arrow inside the red area on the far right, close to "chaos." The chart also showed a steady movement towards "chaos" since the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine in February in the town of Samarra, which began sectarian conflict in earnest. But White House spokesman Tony Snow said the chart was only a snapshot that was taken at the height of the violence during the recently-ended Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The chart was prepared by U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Iraq. Air Force Captain Gary Arasin, a spokesman for Central Command, said he couldn't comment on classified material. But he told Reuters that although the situation is very difficult in Iraq, quote, "we have considerable confidence in our leadership, our troops and the Iraqi government and its expanding ranks of security forces to stop the violence and to allow the people of Iraq to live without fear in a democratic society." U.S. commanders have said that although the violence in Iraq is at its highest level since the 2003 invasion, a full-scale civil war can be averted.

Why and how is the Times publishing classified information?

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