Weekend Roundup: Bush Pleased As Punch

President Bush said he doesn't agree with the recent intelligence reports indicating things in Iraq aren't going quite as planned. Speaking to a New Hampshire newspaper, Bush spoke confidently about our actions in the Middle East:

"The Iraqis are defying the dire predictions of a lot of people by moving toward democracy," Bush told the paper. "It's hard to get to democracy from tyranny. It's hard work. And yet, it's necessary work. But it's necessary work because a democratic Iraq will make the world a freer place and a more peaceful place.

"I'm pleased with the progress," Bush said. "It's hard. Don't get me wrong. It's hard because there are some in Iraq who want to disrupt the election and disrupt the march to democracy, which should speak to their fear of freedom."

The president described the best-case scenario for Iraq as "elections and a free Iraq emerging."

"But I fully understand how hard it is for democracy to grow in a country that has been under a leader that tortured and killed and maimed his people," he said.

Now, ignoring the fact that Iraq isn't becoming a democracy so quickly, I think it's safe to say no one predicted that Iraqi's weren't capable of acting democratically. If anyone predicted anything, it was that many people would oppose this type of government and that the battle would be long and hard. Funny, that's exactly what has happened.

On a related note, conditions in Iraq continue to get worse:

The Tawhid and Jihad group, led by Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has threatened to behead Americans Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong and Briton Kenneth Bigley on Monday unless Iraqi women are released from two U.S.-controlled prisons here.

The threat came in a video aired on Al-Jazeera television Saturday, which showed the three construction contractors blindfolded and said they would be killed in 48 hours. No exact time for the deadline was given. But 48 hours after the video's release, there was still no word on the fate of the three construction contractors, who were snatched Thursday from their Baghdad home.

Meanwhile, U.S. warplanes struck in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, west of the capital, and doctors reported three people killed. The U.S military said its planes hit equipment militants were using to build fortifications in the city and that care was taken that "no innocent civilians" were there at the time. Doctors said the dead were municipal workers using a bulldozer on construction projects near the railway station.

In the northern city of Mosul, a car packed with explosives blew up in a residential neighborhood, killing its two passengers and a passer-by, police at Al-Salaam hospital said. Police had been searching for the vehicle, which was reported stolen earlier Monday.

Insurgents attacked a U.S. patrol with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades Monday, killing an American soldier, near Sharqat, 168 miles north of Baghdad, the military said. More than 1,000 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq in March 2003.

It was not immediately known who was behind the gunning-down of two Sunni clerics Sunday night and Monday in Baghdad.

Three hostages to be killed, two Sunni Clerics gunned-down, car-bombs, possible civilan deaths caused by US forces and another dead American soldier. Sounds like democracy to me.
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