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Christina's Picks: Quotables and Notables
Slogging Through Another Day: Whirlwind Insights, Scoops, and Blunders
White House spokesman Tony Snow says meeting the benchmarks is not so important, as long as the Iraqi government is heading the right way.

Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari doubts the September report will provide any solution to his country's problems.

The Pentagon complained that the GAO got it wrong on a couple of conclusions, and provided more information hoping for an upgrade.

General Petraeus told The Australian during a face-to-face interview at his Baghdad headquarters there had been a 75 per cent reduction in religious and ethnic killings since last year, a doubling in the seizure of insurgents' weapons caches between January and August, a rise in the number of al-Qa'ida "kills and captures" and a fall in the number of coalition deaths from roadside bombings.

A historian quoted by President Bush to help argue that critics of the administration’s Iraq policy echo those who questioned the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Japan after World War II angrily distanced himself from the president’s remarks Thursday.

David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, said decisions about troop withdrawals would be taken independently in the "British national interest" and stressed the situation facing British forces in Basra was "very different" to the one facing their American counterparts in Baghdad.

The US military is ready to intervene in southern Iraq to quell any unrest as British forces prepare to pull out from their last base in the oil port of Basra, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The Pentagon cannot sustain its current force levels in Iraq beyond next summer, effectively giving the Bush administration and the Iraqi government until the middle of 2008 to capitalize on recent security improvements before the US military must draw down its forces, according to US military officials and foreign policy analysts.

Iraqi President Jalal Al-Talabani urged all concerned bodies Thursday to exert "every possible effort" to control the cholera breakout emanating from a water station in Sulaimaniya city.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki claims President Bush made "angry" remarks about Iran to make a case for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq and divert attention from his administration's unpopularity.

A U.S. judge on Thursday said a jury could hear evidence in the upcoming trial of a Texas oilman showing that he encouraged opposition to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and bragged about it to Iraqi officials to win oil contracts.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday that “a long-term deployment of U.S. troops somewhere in the Middle East” would be the best way to protect America from a future terrorist attack.

An advisory measure that would ask California voters in February whether President Bush should withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq was approved by the state Senate today and heads to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.

The Islamic State of Iraq announced on an Islamic Web site known to be used by extremists that it had killed an employee of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, though the embassy cast doubt on the claim.

Australians still generally like Americans, but a new survey says a low opinion of their President, George Bush, has eroded support for the US's political role in world affairs and there has been a dampening of enthusiasm for their once-sacrosanct alliance.


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