Good News out of Iraq:
U.S. military commanders are talking with Iraqi militants about cease-fires and other arrangements to try to stop the violence, the No. 2 American commander said Thursday.
And he suggested he might not be able to strictly meet the September deadline for telling Congress whether President Bush's military build up in Iraq is working.
Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno said commanders at all levels are being empowered to reach out for talks with militants, tribes, religious leaders and others in the country that has been gripped by violence on a range of fronts including insurgents, sectarian rivals and common criminals.
"It's just beginning, so we have a lot of work to do in this," he said. "But we have restructured ourselves ... to work this issue."
He said he thinks 80 percent of Iraqis -- including Sunni insurgents and Shia militants -- can reach reconciliation with each other, though most al-Qaida operatives won't.
September is hard deadline. No squirming allowed.
We have to hold to the September deadline because it is obvious that only hard, firm stands on Iraq benchmarks and milestones will result in the change needed to wind down our involvement in Iraq.
Were it not for the threat of more funding battles looming on the end-of-summer horizon, we would not be seeing this way overdue effort on the part of the Bush administration to broker a peace.
Hold them to the September Deadline!
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