Mixed messages

Political progress in Iraq? Cheney says yes, the president's Joint Chiefs nominee says no.

Published August 1, 2007 11:50AM (EDT)

Adm. Michael Mullen, the president's pick to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on political progress in Iraq, July 31, 2007: "There does not appear to be much political progress."

Dick Cheney, vice president of the United States, on political progress in Iraq, July 31, 2007: "They have, in fact, passed about 60 pieces of legislation this year. They have been fairly productive. Now there are major issues yet to be addressed and be resolved that they are still working on. But they did -- I made it clear, for example, when I was there in May, that we didn't appreciate the notion that they were going [to] take a big part of the summer off. And they did cut that in half."

News item, Aug. 1, 2007: "Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc announced its withdrawal from the government Wednesday, threatening Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's efforts to seek reconciliation among the country's rival factions."

And one more news item, Aug. 1, 2007: "A fuel tanker packed with explosives detonated at a gas station Wednesday, killing at least 50 people and wounding 60 others in western Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said ... Earlier Wednesday, at least 15 people were killed and 20 others were wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded in a busy square in Baghdad's Karrada district, the Interior Ministry said."

By Tim Grieve

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

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