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Envoy Regrets 'stupidity' comment on Iraq


FORMER defence chief General Peter Cosgrove today warned that terrorists in Iraq would see potential victory in any signs of early departure by coalition forces.
General Cosgrove said the violence appeared to ebb and flow, diminishing when the stakeholders from the major communal groups, the Kurds, Shia and Sunni saw prospects of hope.

He ruled out premature withdrawal.

"The people in Iraq and the global terrorists who also have a stake in Iraq are very vigilant for those sorts of signs," he told ABC radio.
"If they understand that the foreign forces that are in there will support the Iraqi government until this peace and stability is a prospect, if they feel that is happening early they will rack that up as a victory in the making."

General Cosgrove, now touring Australia promoting his autobiography, said Iraq needed some form of enduring political accommodation so that all elements and interests believed they had a seat at the table.

He said a political outcome would give an opportunity for security forces to provide a reasonably safe and stable environment in which ordinary Iraqis could go about their business without concern that they were going to be bombed by somebody from another group.

"I would think everybody ought to be moving hard to make sure that politically within Iraq, people can have confidence that their interests will be represented. That will help."

Meanwhile, a senior US diplomat has retracted comments he made in an interview with Al-Jazeera in which he said Washington had shown "arrogance'' and "stupidity'' in its dealing with Iraq.

Alberto Fernandez, US State Department director of public diplomacy in the Near Eastern Affairs bureau, said he realized after reading the interview transcript that he "seriously misspoke'' in using the phrase "there has been arrogance and stupidity'' by the United States in Iraq.

"This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department. I apologize,'' Fernandez said in a statement released by the department.

On Saturday Fernandez gave an interview to Al-Jazeera television in which he said, speaking in Arabic, that "there have been many mistakes in the (US) foreign policy in Iraq.''

"We tried to do our best, but I believe that there is a great room for strong criticism, because - undoubtedly - there was arrogance and stupidity in US (dealing) with Iraq.''

Fernandez had added that the United States is ready to talk with
"those who care for Iraq'' to end the civil strife raging there.

"We are open to dialogue. We all believe at the end of the day ... that the solution to the inferno in Iraq is completely linked to an effective national Iraqi reconciliation,'' Fernandez told Al-Jazeera.

AAP and Agence France Presse


Entry #218


konaneComment by konane - October 23, 2006, 10:54 am
Alberto Fernandez' apology isn't good enough. Someone can say I'm sorry after harm is done, but hope he pays for his statements with his job. Clearly there's employment open for him with al Jazeera or with the many terrorist organizations so he won't starve.
justxploringComment by justxploring - October 23, 2006, 4:43 pm
History repeats itself. I remember a respected reporter, Peter Arnett, who said from the get-go in 2003 that our plan in Iraq was a failure. He lost his job immediately, even after he apologized openly. When I read this article I thought of the many times my big mouth gets me into trouble. We all speak without thinking of the consequences. Then we apologize to those who are offended by our remark(s). It doesn't mean what we said isn't true, just that someone didn't want to hear it.
konaneComment by konane - October 23, 2006, 7:51 pm
Fernandez has a habit of running his mouth off on al Jazeera .... this is not the first time. Michelle Mialkin ripped him a new one on her blog.

State Department stupidity
By Michelle Malkin   Â·   October 23, 2006 07:58 AM

I hope he's referred to the Justice Department for investigation.

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