In particular, Mr. Bush cited Najaf, 90 miles south of Baghdad, and Mosul in northern Iraq once the sites of some of the bloodiest battles of the war as two cities where headway is being made, giving Iraqis more of a stake in their country's future.
"In places like Mosul and Najaf, residents are seeing tangible progress in their lives," Mr. Bush said. "They're gaining a personal stake in a peaceful future and their confidence in Iraq's democracy is growing. The progress in these cities is being replicated across much of Iraq."
Progress, of course, is relative. But, if these are the successes, it is clear why this insurgency keeps growing.
Najaf is a largely peaceful Shiite city 100 miles south of Baghdad that has not suffered from the sectarian attacks ravaging other parts of the country. But rivalries between Shiite factions have occasionally become violent, and many complain that militant political parties and militias dominate city government and security forces.
the militiamen who were from Najaf never left the city. They just stopped carrying weapons around the shrine area. In the summer, a fistfight in Najaf between followers and opponents of Sadr triggered battles throughout southern Iraq between the cleric's supporters and followers of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a major party in the ruling Shiite coalition.
and in Mosul
residents and officials take precautions in Iraq's third-largest city. People still avoid going out after dark. Reconstruction projects are dormant. The provincial governor has said authorities had to move large amounts of cash into the nearby Kurdish region.
More significantly, ethnic tensions still simmer between the majority Sunni Arab and Kurdish populations in the city that is some 225 miles northwest of Baghdad. U.S. commanders have said they plan to hand control of Mosul to Iraqi police sometime next year, and many worry that attacks on civilians could spread as a result.
No security incidents were reported Wednesday in Mosul, a day after U.S. jets bombed targets in the city. But daily small-scale insurgent attacks still kill and maim Iraqi security forces, and Westerners also find themselves targets. The Mosul area is where a German archeologist was kidnapped Nov. 25.
2 and a half years after we took control, oil production, clean water delivery, electric power production are, in many cases, below the levels that existed on the day before we started bombing. Unemployment still runs near 50%, and bombings still occur daily.