Date: Jan 12, 2008 8:56 AM
Subject: Accurate intelligence (McCain and Lieberman)
Dear Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman:
Regarding your January 10, 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled The Surge Worked, in which you stated confidently and forcefully that finally, almost five long years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, 2003:
(1) Conditions (in Iraq) have been utterly transformed from those of a year ago;
(2) Violence across the country has dropped dramatically;
(3) We have at last begun to see the contours of what must remain our objective in this long, hard and absolutely necessary war --- victory.
Apparently the U. S. State Department has a slightly different view of the situation.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
This information is current as of today, Sat Jan 12 00:45:45 2008.
This Travel Warning updates the current security situation and reiterates the dangers of the use of civilian aircraft and road travel within Iraq. This supersedes the Travel Warning of August 28, 2006.
The Department of State continues to strongly warn U.S. citizens against travel to Iraq, which remains very dangerous. Remnants of the former Ba'ath regime, transnational terrorists, criminal elements and numerous insurgent groups remain active. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or "Green") Zone. Targets include convoys en-route to venues, hotels, restaurants, police stations, checkpoints, foreign diplomatic missions, international organizations and other locations with expatriate personnel. These attacks have resulted in deaths and injuries of American citizens, including those doing humanitarian work. In addition, there have been planned and random killings, as well as extortions and kidnappings. Several U.S. citizens subsequently were murdered by terrorists. U.S. citizens and other foreigners are targeted by insurgent groups and criminals for kidnapping and murder. Military operations continue. There are daily attacks against Multinational Forces - Iraq (MNF-I) and Iraqi Security Forces throughout the country.
There is credible information that terrorists are targeting civil aviation. Civilian and military aircraft arriving at and departing from Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) for other major cities in Iraq have been subjected to small arms and missiles. Civilian aircraft generally lack defense systems capable of defeating man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). As a result of a security incident at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), the U.S. Embassy has prohibited all U.S. government employees from departing BIAP on commercial airlines until further notice.
All vehicular travel in Iraq is extremely dangerous. There have been numerous attacks on civilian vehicles, as well as military convoys. Attacks occur throughout the day, but travel at night is exceptionally dangerous. Travel in or through Ramadi and Fallujah; in and between al-Hillah, al-Basrah, Kirkuk, Baqubah (Diyala Province), and Baghdad; between the International Zone and Baghdad International Airport; and from Baghdad to Mosul is particularly dangerous.
Occasionally, U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to certain areas depending on prevailing security conditions. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs), and mines often are placed on roads, concealed in plastic bags, boxes, soda cans, dead animals, and in other ways to blend with the road. Grenades and explosives have been thrown into vehicles from overpasses, particularly in crowded areas. Overland travel should be undertaken only when absolutely necessary and with the appropriate security.