Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Slack Tide Turning?

Here are four recent articles possibly indicating some better news ahead in the prosecution of the war on terror:

Don't Abandon Us
By Hoshyar Zebari
Friday, May 4, 2007; Washington Post (Excerpt)

“Last weekend a traffic jam several miles long snaked out of the Mansour district in western Baghdad. The delay stemmed not from a car bomb closing the road but from a queue to enter the city's central amusement park. The line became so long some families left their cars and walked to enjoy picnics, fairground rides and soccer, the Iraqi national obsession.

Across the city, restaurants are slowly filling and shops are reopening. The streets are busy. Iraqis are not cowering indoors. The appalling death tolls from suicide attacks are often high because of crowding at markets. These days you are as likely to hear complaints about traffic congestion as about the security situation. Across Baghdad there is a cacophony of sirens from ambulances, firefighters and police providing public services. You cannot even escape the curse of traffic wardens ticketing illegally parked cars.

These small but significant snippets of normality are overshadowed by acts of gross violence, which fuel the opinion of some that Iraq is in a downward spiral. The Iraqi people are indeed suffering tremendous hardships and making grave sacrifices -- but daily life goes on for 7 million Baghdadis struggling to take back their capital and country.”
Afghan Infant Mortality Improves
Associated Press, April 27, 2007 (Excerpt)
KABUL, Afghanistan —

“Improvements in women's access to medical care since the Taliban fell five years ago have led to a marked decrease in Afghanistan's infant mortality rates, with 40,000 fewer infant deaths a year, according to a new study.

Grim infant and maternal mortality rates have been regularly cited as evidence of Afghanistan's backwardness after decades of war, and of the slow progress of the internationally funded reconstruction effort.

According to the preliminary results of a Johns Hopkins University study, infant mortality has declined to about 135 per 1,000 live births in 2006, from an estimated 165 per 1,000 in 2001.

The researchers "found improvements in virtually all aspects of care in almost every province," the Public Health Ministry and World Bank said Thursday in a joint statement on the findings.”
Germany Rediscovers the US as a Partner

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reoriented Germany away from Russia and toward the United States. Expanded economic ties are just one area of renewed cooperation. But could Germany get burned like the British did?

The gift brought by a guest says a lot about his or her intentions. The love-sick romantic shows up with a dozen red roses. A box of Cohiba cigars is the classic gift between men in the West. Purebred horses and trained falcons, on the other hand, are the gift of choice among men in the Arab world. When German chancellors travel, their hosts usually receive the best Meissen porcelain, Junghans clocks or cases of Riesling wine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reoriented German foreign policy back towards the United States.
PARIS, France (CNN)-- Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy greeted news of his election Sunday to a five-year term as France's president with a vow to serve as a leader for all people of France.

"The president of the republic must love and respect all the French," he told cheering supporters at his campaign headquarters. "I will be the president of all the French people.

Sarkozy won with 53 percent of the vote in Sunday's presidential runoff, according to preliminary results issued by the French Interior Ministry. Socialist Segolene Royal took 47 percent of the vote.

>"The French people have called for change. I will carry out that change, because that's the mandate I have received from the French people."

Sarkozy added that he wanted to tell his "American friends that they can rely on our friendship ... France will always be next to them when they need us


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At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that things in Iraq are slowly turning around for the better. The French and the Germans may be looking upon America in a more favorable fashion with the exception of the stupid Democrats in our own country. They must really be desperate for power!


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