How long are "last throes," anyway?

Cheney says we're still seeing them in Iraq.

By Tim Grieve

Published June 19, 2006 7:45PM (EDT)

One year and about 840 American soldiers ago, Dick Cheney said that we were seeing the "last throes" of the insurgency in Iraq. The vice president was asked today whether he still thinks that's true.

"I do," he said.

Cheney pointed to the Iraqi elections in 2005 and the formation of a government this year as the beginning of the end of the war. "I think that will have been, from a historical turning point, the period that we'll be able to look at and say, 'That's when we turned the corner, that's when we began to get a handle on the long-term future of Iraq.'"

In other Iraq news:

Murder charges: In Baghdad today, the U.S. military announced that a noncommissioned officer and two soldiers have been charged with murder, obstruction of justice and other crimes in connection with the death of three Iraqis in military custody last month.

Senate debate: Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Jack Reed say they're introducing legislation calling for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq beginning by the end of 2006. While their bill won't specify a date for a complete withdrawal, Reed says it will make it clear that U.S. troops are on their way out and that Iraqis had better get ready to take over. Meanwhile, Sens. John Kerry, Russ Feingold and Barbara Boxer say they'll introduce legislation that would require, by July 1, 2007, the redeployment of all U.S. troops not involved in the training of Iraqi forces.

Murtha vs. Rove: Karl Rove last week accused Jack Murtha and John Kerry of being "cut-and-run" politicians who "may be with you for the first few bullets" but won't "be there for the last tough battles." Rove was 18 in 1968 but managed to avoid serving alongside men like Murtha and Kerry in Vietnam. On "Meet the Press" Sunday, Murtha had this to say about the president's top political advisor: "He's in New Hampshire. He's making a political speech. He's sitting in his air-conditioned office with his big, fat backside, saying, 'Stay the course.' That's not a plan. I mean, this guy -- I don't know what his military experience is, but that's a political statement."

And then there's Halliburton: As Raw Story reports, a new report prepared for Rep. Henry Waxman finds that the Bush years have been very, very good for the company Cheney used to run. Halliburton has been the "single fastest-growing federal contractor between 2000 and 2005," the reports says. In 2000, Halliburton received $763 million in federal government contracts. In 2005, it received nearly $6 billion worth of work, taking it from No. 20 to No. 6 on the list of the government's biggest contractors.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Dick Cheney Iraq Iraq War Middle East War Room