A wise man don’t need advice and a fool won’t heed advice

Sam Johns

Someone once said that a wise man don’t need advice and a fool won’t heed advice. That’s how it is with Stupid Bush when it comes to advice from the generals in Iraq.

Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, arrived this week in Washington for meetings with President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

The talks, which come amid a rising wave of insurgent violence in Iraq, were scheduled as "part of a regular consultation process," said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

The president is not thinking about changing U.S. strategy in Iraq, Snow said.

"There will be no change in strategy," Snow said during Friday's regular White House briefing.

In a story reported by CNN, Bush told The Associated Press on Friday that the U.S. is "constantly adjusting our tactics so we can achieve the objectives and right now, it's tough."

He declined to say, though, whether he thought a change in tactics was necessary, AP reported.

Snow said Abizaid will meet with Bush on Friday but gave no time. He said meetings are also expected over the weekend.

"This is a meeting where they talk about on-the-ground tactics and ongoing intelligence," Snow said. "It happens quite often."

Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, will be involved in the Washington meetings via teleconference from Baghdad.

Abizaid's trip from Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, comes amid concerns in the Bush administration that tactics need to be re-evaluated in Iraq, where coalition and Iraqi forces face an unrelenting insurgency and sectarian violence.

On Thursday, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell announced that a U.S. operation aimed against increasing insurgent violence in Baghdad is not living up to expectations. A 22 percent upsurge in violence, Caldwell said, was linked to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the November 7 U.S. midterm elections.

The fighting has resulted in the deaths of 74 U.S. troops this month, putting October on track to be among the deadliest for U.S. forces since the 2003 invasion.

In Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi forces were dealing with several Iraqi flash points of violence this week, including a reported take over of a city by anti-U.S. militia in the Shiite south, the proclamation of an Islamic state in the Sunni heartland and bloody sectarian fighting in the Balad region, north of Baghdad.

Accompanying these developments are concerns that Iraq is facing full-blown civil warfare, reports of massive civilian dislocation and questions about the readiness of Iraqi security forces and locals to govern their communities.

Violence over, order back in seized Iraqi city

The fighting in southern Iraq between Iraqi police and a notorious Shiite militia is over, and British and Iraqi officials say order has returned.

Gunfights and blasts erupted Thursday in Amara, the provincial capital of Maysan province, which is in the heart of the Shiite-dominated south and not far from the Iraq-Iran border.

Earlier today, Iraq deployed more troops to Amara, where a Shiite militia loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr reportedly had seized control and killed more than a dozen people. A hospital reported that clashes between police and militia members wounded 90 and left 16 dead, a hospital official told CNN on Friday.

Al-Sadr's Mehdi Army reportedly had taken over the city, according to witnesses. But Iraqi and British officials dispute the contention that the militia is in control and say order has been restored.

U.N. agency cites concerns for Palestinian refugees

In other developments Friday, the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees noted reports of Palestinians getting caught in the intensifying sectarian warfare in Iraq.

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