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Right now it's my great pleasure to introduce our speaker Eric Schmitt. Eric as you I am sure most of you know is or has been the military correspondent for The New York Times and he is currently a Knight Fellow at Stanford. For those of you who may not know about this program it's a highly prestigious program to bring journalists together for a years break and it allows them to study most anything they want to study at Stanford and that from what I understand it's a pretty rewarding experience. So we are delighted that Eric has had it and that he is with us today; because he'll soon be moving back to The Times. Eric is a graduate of Williams College in International Relations and he also studied at Harvard's Executive Program. He began at the Times in 1983 as assistant to James "Scotty" Reston and then as a reporter after that with the with a range of beats. But since September of 2001 he has covered the Pentagon and the U.S. Military in the aftermath of 9/11, a job that has taken him to Iraq for nine reporting trips and to Afghanistan four times. He has covered every war and major military operation involving US troops since the Gulf War. In 1999 Eric shared a Pulitzer Prize with five colleagues for a series of articles that disclosed the corporate sale of American technology to China. And you may want to ask him more about that during the question period. I will now turn the meeting over to Eric Schmitt. Well, thank you Lee for that very generous introduction. Thank you all for coming today. It's a kind of a course reminder here. Our days are winding short here at Stanford this wonderful weather and experience we had. Kind of looking at I looked at the weather map this morning, it shows about 90 degrees and 95 percent humidity in Washington DC where we will be heading back so I am I am jealous if you all get to stay behind here as we go forward. I thought what I do today is talk a little bit about my experience as a correspondent working in Iraq and Afghanistan and give you my assessment, essentially a snap shot assessment of what I see has been going on in Iraq, in Afghanistan and and then we can open it up for some questions. Clearly in Iraq right now the situation is grave. I mean you don't have to do anything but look at the newspaper everyday, I mean turn on the television to see the latest bombing and crisis that's going on there. American troop levels in Iraq had been gradually increasing. The Surge is somewhat of a misnomer that has been used both by the military and some of my media colleagues. But it has really been an incremental increase we have seen over last three months. The goal of course has been to add about 30,000 American troops to by the end of this month, mainly in Baghdad with the goal being to end the largely sectarian violence that has wrecked the capital of their and throughout the country and give political reconciliation a chance to take hold. That is really what the current strategy the new strategy if you will is all about. The plan has been devised by a highly respected new Army Commander on the ground in Iraq, General David Petraeus who is really one of the best and brightest that the military has to offer. He is a Ph. D from Princeton, numerous combat tours in Iraq right now. And his plan is really focused on trying to set up a series of outposts security outposts that are manned both by the American and Iraqi troops throughout the capital, right along the Sunni-Shia fault lines that break into the various neighborhoods these mixed neighborhoods of in Iraq to try, and again bring down the sectarian violence has been the number one cause of violence in the capital, the center of gravity if you will, in Iraq for the last year or so. And there are a few positive signs so far from this. The sectarian killings are down in the capital itself, the killing between Shia and Sunnis that have been going on, unfortunately however the number of car bombings the number of these road side bombs called IEDs has been going up as a counter to that. The violence in the western part of Iraq, Al Anbar Province; which has been the most problematic place for American forces since going in, it's the heart of the Sunni resistance and it has been the most difficult place to get into for the American forces. That is actually starting to show some signs of turning around albeit with a somewhat risky strategy that some of you may have been reading about in the last few days and that is the Americans commanders have started turning to some of the very Sunni extremist groups that have been attacking Americans in arming and helping assist them in their fight against some of the Al Qaeda extremists who are now these the two groups that used to be allies are now fighting with each other and the Americans are trying to help kind of turn the war in the West by aiding these Sunni groups, some of whom had been fighting Americans. And the concern here obviously is even if they do succeed in defeating some of these the extremists the Al Qaeda extremists, it could over the long haul only exacerbate the struggle between Sunni and Shia. So you have got that going on. So some signs of improvement in the West, but if you go to a province just North-East of Baghdad called Diyala Province, that is the new Al Anbar of Iraq if you will. This is the kind of the new Wild West that has posed the most significant problems for the American and Iraqi forces. Its where the violence is most pronounced right now and where the where the Iraqi forces are really at their weakest and which is really where the focus is going to be, probably along with the Capital, over the next several months throughout the summer and trying to get this violence tamped down. That said, you still have a situation were everyday almost everyday in Iraq you have as many as 100 civilians are been killed. They are being killed by these bombings, they are been caught in some of the cross fire and some of these killing that are going on despite the best efforts of this of this new strategy. And perhaps most discouraging what we are seeing on the ground is effectively a de-facto sectarian partitioning of Iraq, starting with the Capital itself where you have nearly two million Iraqis are now displaced from their homes, these are people living, primarily have been living in mixed neighborhoods, Shias in predominately Sunni neighborhoods that are having to flee to the South or Sunnis in predominantly Shia neighborhoods fleeing to the West. They no longer can live together because the Shia militias and Sunni militias, essentially death squads on either side are targeting each other and causing the country basically to break up from the center from Baghdad if you will. That's that's inside of Iraq. You have an additional two million people who had just left the country altogether, mainly to Syria and to Jordan and to some other countries. So you are looking at looking at almost 20 percent of the country of Iraq, is being displaced either inside or outside of the country adding to this turmoil. General Petraeus and other American Commanders have said they hope to have an initial assessment of how this strategy is working by September. They are under a lot of pressure right now, both from the administration and from members of Congress to produce this kind of assessment. But as The New York Times reported just about ten days ago an internal military review through the first three months of this strategy showed that the US and Iraqi forces who are on the ground control fewer than one third of the neighborhoods in Baghdad. This is far behind what they had hoped to be at this time. And is just another sign of just how difficult this mission is over all, the challenges that this particular strategy faces right now. It also shows continues to show the weakness of the Iraqi Security Forces, particularly the Iraqi Police in tying to get a hold of the security situation, to be able to administer check points, to be able to carry out routine patrols in a non-partisan, non-sectarian way. In the early phases of this strategy the Petraeus strategy, there were initially there were some signs that these militias, principally the Shia militias but also some Sunni militias, were going to be were lying low and avoiding confrontation with the American forces as they moved in, principally into Baghdad. But in recent weeks we have see some of that activity bursting out again. You had Muqtada al-Sadr, who is the fire brand Shia cleric, return from Iran where he had, really left, and again issuing many in - kind of insightful statements and rallying his increasingly fragmented group, which is kind of an interesting trend to keep an eye on, to rally against the Americans. So you have the you have these militias which have been formed and and continue to be popular with people because they are not there is not a whole lot of trust in the National Security systems and this is again what's really driving the sectarian violence that we see on the ground. The other trend that we are seeing is increasing use of more sophisticated and deadly roadside bombs. Again these improvised explosive devices, they call it IEDs, the bombs are getting bigger, they have got more sophisticated triggering devices and right in the months of April and May they account for 80 percent of the American causalities in the country. The United States military has spent over $6 billion in the last two years to try and defeat these, defeat these bombs. This is through a range of technical measures, it's through a range of different strategies, but the enemy has proven to be very, very productive in terms of how they can adapt to the counter measures of the Americans put out. So that's a very that's a very troubling sign and in the troops and in the officers I still keep in contact with primarily through e-mail but many of who have come through Stanford on tours and speaking engagements, the question that's in their mind is the surge strategy is essentially too little late just to basically say in Iraq right now. In fact the cynics from the field have another term for it. They call this new strategy J-E-L or JEL meaning just enough to lose. Add to this of course you have this tremendous political dynamic that we have overlaying the conflicts in Iraq, and Afghanistan right now. The Iraq is the main issue in the emerging Presidential campaign. I am sure most of you have seen some of these first meeting first debates for the Republican and Democratic candidates. This is issue number one. In fact we haven't had a Presidential election really since late 60s or early 70s perhaps, our national security particularly a war like the Iraq war and is front and center and it's going to be on every candidate's top list of things to do and things to address. President Bush, a few weeks ago gained approval for nearly $100 billion in additional war funding that will take the military through the end of September, this current fiscal year. But Democrats and Congress both in House and Senate have allowed to go back again, have more votes, they would essentially cut off funding if the administration does not set deadlines of some kind for bringing troops home or for setting some kind of benchmarks. So keep an eye on that as we move through the summer and as that date approaches when Petraeus is supposed to come through with an assessment, keep an eye on whether he asks for and is granted an extension of that which some commanders are already hinting at, that they may need until next spring to get a, you know, further assessment on you know what more time basically to see if this is really working or not. Another sign of kind of the political dynamics here in the stakes that it play just this past week there is another political causality. We saw Don Rumsfeld get thrown overboard after the election in last November and even more extraordinary thing took place just the other day when Secretary - Defense Secretary Bob Gates basically reversed the administration's position and decided they were not going to re-nominate General Peter Pace for a second two-year term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pace's two-year tenure would be the shortest tenure of any Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in nearly 40 years. They basically pulled the plug on this guy because they did not want to have to go through a very contentious Senate confirmation fight right about the same time that Petraeus's assessment is due in September. As the war goes on of course it's putting a huge strain on American military forces both in the reserves, the National Guard, and the active duty forces. Many of whom are now on their third or fourth tour of duty. These tours can last anywhere from seven months to 12 months on the ground, these places. It's become a huge challenge for recruiting and retention for all the services, particularly for the ground services. The army and the marine corp, despite enlistment and reenlistment bonuses of up to $40000 per soldier or marine in some cases. You got a huge cost of just operating the number of troops here. You got over 175000 troops in Iraq. You got over 27000 troops in Afghanistan. It's costing the United States treasury a $100 billion a year to maintain the war operations in these two countries. So the question that, a lot of this begs is well what's happened with the Iraqis. Wasn't it after all the plan here to train up the Iraqis to take over the security functions of their own country? Well in fact there have been about 350,000 Iraqi soldiers, police, and other security services that have been trained over the last several years. The problem is several of this units still are suffering desertion rates as high as 50 percent, American trainers fear that many of the Iraqi security forces especially the police still owe their real allegiances to these militias that I was talking about before rather than to a National Security Network. Lieutenant General Marty Dempsey who is again one of the one of the smartest army officers I have met in my tours of Iraq recently he just he just finished a year or so tour as the top American trainer in the country and he was testifying to a house committee just the other day in Washington in which he said that the Iraqis remained incapable of taking full responsibility for their security for many years. They will need to add perhaps another 20 to 30,000 security forces to that number that I just gave you and then a long term military relationship with the United States will be necessary. You also on top of this have what's called the National Intelligence Estimate. This is basically the consensus of the American intelligence community and they came out in last in February of this year with the conclusion that even if General Petraeus's plan were to work. If it did let's say if it did reduce violence, Iraqi leaders would be hard pressed to achieve the sustained political reconciliation in economic reconstruction that is really essential to bring Iraq back. Given this sharp sectarian divisions that exist right now in Iraq. These are divisions in the gap is actually growing rather than shrinking right now. Just last Sunday the new head of United States Central command which is the military command that oversees the Middle East, Admiral William Fallon was in Baghdad and told Prime Minister Maliki in an unusual directive from the Military Officer, basically that the Iraqi government needs to come up with some tangible political progress. Something like one of the the getting this oil revenue legislation passed in place by next month. The Iraqis wanted to head off, encounter some of the opposition to the war that is now going on in Congress. That's really the crucial issue here, is will the Iraqis be able to and be willing to take advantage of the breathing room that this search strategy is supposed to create. Will the search strategy work? Will it give them that kind of opportunity to go in and do that? Shifting to Afghanistan I have to say it's equally glum news I think although it's not a story. It gets nearly as much coverage. It's overshadowed, perhaps understandably by what's going on in Iraq but it's just as serious what we see. The Pentagon earlier this year extended tour of some 3200 troops by an additional four months. The first time they have had to do that in an effort to counter what they expected to the fierce spring offensive by the Taliban and some of their allies. The good news is that it looked like this strategy along with some other things did help blend what was expected to be a quite bloody offensive by the Taliban. It didn't quite turn out to be as bad as they thought. But it's still it's still a very problematic situation particularly in the southern part of the country and the south eastern part of the country along the Pakistan border. And one of the signs of this is that the number of the IED attacks. These road side bombs again it used to be non existent in Afghanistan has doubled from the year 2005. Suicide bombers are now common place in Kandahar and Kabul where before they were unheard of. The tactics are being borrowed from what people see in Iraq. It's not necessary that the insurgents are physically moving from Iraq to Afghanistan. But clearly they are learning about what works in terms of countering a much larger conventional American force. By most accounts the Karzai government in Kabul is weaker than ever. Corruption is endemic in this in the provincial and local governments. Poppy production hit another record high last year. And if you need to look at any one indicator of trouble in Afghanistan it's that it's that one. I mean Afghanistan is on the verge it already is there of being the next major narco estate, the next Columbia, if you will, in terms of the corruptive effect that poppy has throughout the country. The other problem of course with Afghanistan is its growing evidence that the Taliban and other extremists groups have sanctuaries effective sanctuaries just across the border in Pakistan. And if the Pakistani forces for various reasons have not been as aggressive as they may perhaps have been able to in rooting this out. It's been very episodic over the last couple of years in terms of how aggressive President Musharraf can be with his army in rooting this out. The bottom line however, is as my colleague and correspondent Carlotta Gall has documented that local officials are clearly complicit in supplying and aiding and assisting many of these groups that are right across the border in Pakistan and then have sanctuary there. The United States forces can not go across the border except in few kind of shadowy cases when the special operations forces may attract a few across. But there has been no bombing or anything like that, that's been going on over there. The end game of course here and then in Washington and western capitals is the growing debate about how much longer to support these operations, how much long will the political support be there and the financial support to go along with it. As I mentioned before the House and Senate will most surely hold additional votes these summer and fall on setting deadlines for the withdrawal troops from Iraq and there is growing unease about what's going on in Afghanistan. You have a situation where there is more support for the Afghanistan mission, but it's a mission now that NATO has taken over largely, still with American forces making up the bulk of the operation. But many NATO countries have not yet fulfilled their obligations. The United States Military is having to fill gaps whether it's on specific kinds of troops, military helicopters, logistics that the European countries simply aren't pulling it up. And it's not something that's going to get any better. And again as I mentioned all this has happened in the kind of white hot spot light of our Presidential race, where candidates are being peppered with questions everyday of what's going in Iraq and what will be done do so with Afghanistan as well. And then almost certainly all are having to come up with some version of an exit strategy for Iraq. And what I would ask you to do is watch very closely what those candidates say, what exactly does an exit strategy mean? Does it mean a complete withdrawal of all American forces by a certain date or, which I think is probably more likely, is it going to be some kind of phase withdrawal that will include several thousand American troops, perhaps tens of thousands of American troops remaining behind, in a training role, in a logistic capacity or in small numbers of counter terrorists specialists, actually special operation force still continue to hunt down the worst of the Al Qaeda. These are things, right now, to keep an eye on. And its something the administration is being floating you know, just how many troops can you actually keep in this region? The National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and others have been talking more recently about a South Korea style mission, where you would actually leave tens of thousands of American troops in Iraq, or certainly in the region as a buffer or at least to contain the violence that you see in civil war in Iraq right now. So as I look over this kind of quick snapshot of these two countries, it unfortunately doesn't surprise me all that much, given that the reporting troops that I have taken over the last few years into both countries. And what I thought I do is is kind of wrap up by talking about the benchmarks that I have used when I go into reporting these places and there is essentially three of them, where I kind of use the barometer to see are things really getting better, are they basically staying steady or things getting worse. The first the first benchmark I use is looking at how successful is the American military and American government in general been, in terms of dealing with cultural sensitivity. In other words, do we get it? And I will relay one story of one of my early imbeds in 2003 in December 2003 where I was embedded with an army infantry unit in the city of Sumara, which is just north of Baghdad. And this unit got in order they get some intelligence, essentially they was in a an extremist safe house that they believed would be a good place to raid. And so we I was out with them and we mounted up with about 40 or 50 soldiers, we go on a night raid and we got to the door of this home, it was kind of in a residential neighborhood and banged on the door, nobody answers. One of the soldiers pulls out a huge shot gun and literally blows the door open. And as the door blows open, we are in the middle of the night now, remember, moonless night, just these stream of soldiers pours into this house, everybody is wearing Night Vision Goggles you know, full combat gear, I mean arrived, if you will with dogs barking, so I am not quite sure how much surprise there was in this, but the house you are going through this house I mean you know, several bedrooms of this house and just kind of an organized chaos, worrying, of people yelling and shouting, they grabbed there was may about, it turns out about a dozen Iraqi men in this in this home, they are put off in one area, about an equal number of women and children, and they are screaming and hollering, put them over in another area, troops are going through closets, the cupboards, wherever they can do to try and to find the computer disks, the cash and money and weaponry they thought and they said the intelligence said was going to be there. Well, after about an hour there was a little pile in the middle of the living room. And it is an antique musket, there were some papers, and there was a bunch of old ammunition. And that was about it - as one of the intelligence officials looked over to me and said this was this was basically a dry hole. Well the young army captain who led this raid, he is looking at all these and kind of surveying the damage, you got a busted door and a shattered television for when they blew it open. And so he summons over one of the Iraqi men one of the older man that's in the you know, over that kind of quaking in the corner, and he has got an Arabic translator with him, and he posed out of his pocket a wallet of $100 bills, and he peels of three of his bills and he turns to the translator and says, I want you to you know, I understand that we have created some damage here, we didn't get what we needed and we want to reimburse you for the damage that's being done. And he hands this money to this Iraqi, who is just looking dumbfounded at this whole scene. Then the guy pulls out a blue receipt book and says, oh by the way I need you to sign a receipt for the damages here. So they are trying to do the right thing. But as you go out of this building, you have alienated two dozen Iraqis who at best were leaning forward, may be in support of the Americans at this point, remember it's December of 2003, they haven't quite caught Saddam yet, or at the very worst may be they are leaning on the fence. But they are not leaning on the fence anymore after something like this. And no and pretty much anybody in this neighborhood is going to lean on that fence after that. The US patrol and raid tactics have improved some what after that, there is a little bit more sensitivity that goes into this. But still too many of the type of operations that American military performs they are going unfortunately on faulty intelligence. Sometimes with the worst of outcomes, as we have seen in the tragedy in Haditha for instance, where several civilians were killed, by a marine unit there. The second the second bench mark I use when I am going into these places is what other is any one else from the United States government here? And this has to do an anecdote with a trip that I took just my last trip to Afghanistan which was a year ago in January to you know, I was in Kabul and we hopped on a Blackhawk helicopter and we flew east to Jilalabad this is a small town in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, not far from the Khyber pass, where at the time it was the sight of about one of 20, were called provincial reconstruction teams. These were particulars teams of say a 100 to a 120 American personnel military and other personnel that were set up to help to jumpstart the Afghanistan economy. The idea here being that the Americans would come in, they work with well, they work with the Afghan tribal and religious leaders, use some seed money and start some kind of economic program and then you would have troops there to provide security for this to happen. The problem was as you looked around this room, as I sat around and talked to people, it was remarkably military heavy predominantly military, in what it was doing. The State Department guy who was there and I asked him how often you know, what he was doing. He said, well I am here in Jilalabad, I think it's you know, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then I have got to go somewhere else Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. The representative from AID, the Agency for International Development, well he was there every other week and then he had to go off somewhere else. The Agricultural Department spokesperson couldn't really do a whole lot without getting prior clearance from Kabul and then often times the Embassy in Kabul. But often times they had the wire back to Washington for instructions from there. So they were hobbled in what they could do. In the end what it meant was the dozens of the American soldiers were having to pick up many jobs either diplomatic or reconstruction jobs that will be best done by private sector or other government agencies. Many of the non governmental non governmental organizational agencies typical aid agencies that you expect to be on the ground, helping this kind of thing, are not enough in Afghanistan or Iraq because of the security situation. The only institution really that has the wherewithal and the resources and the ability to order people to places like Iraq and Afghanistan is the military. And yet too often were still left in a position now, where American military personnel doing jobs they just simply weren't trained to do. They are doing the best they can, but they are not trained to do that kind of work. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has tried to change this, at least the State Department by requiring new requirements on Foreign Service Officers as a requirement for their advancement. They have to deal with they have to have some kind of hardship posting on place like Afghanistan, Iraq. But again we are talking about a Foreign Service that's it's tiny. Several you know, several thousand, when you are talking about the need overall. And it's really just a drop in the bucket. The last benchmark that I will kind of explain has to do essentially with the security, whenever I went into a country, just how dangerous did it feel. When I first started reporting over Iraq in 2003, I would be able to fly into Baghdad, typically on a military aircraft and arranged to have somebody from our bureau, The New York Times has a large compound in Baghdad itself, to come out and meet me. We go back to the bureau, get hooked up with the driver and a translator, usually get some kind of beat up, shabby and I dress down, so you didn't stand out too much. But just using a little common sense, you could drive pretty much anywhere in the country. And if you needed to stop in a market place or Shish kebab stand and talk to everyday Iraqis you could do that with your translator. And you could feel like you are getting some sense of what everyday Iraqis were feeling about what was going on inside of their country. This all changed in the spring of 2004, right about this time three years ago, as the insurgency now is in full roar. And news organizations like The New York Times and others had to make a basic choice. You could do what I have been doing any way, that is imbed with the United States Military and using the military for both logistics, getting you around the country and for security, get that slice of the story. Of course it's limiting in where you can go and you don't have a lot of exposure to the Iraqis. Or you have essentially you have to hunker down in your compounds and right now the United The New York Times spends about $2 million a year and maintaining a bureau in Baghdad. And rely increasingly on Iraqi stringers who are varying quality and in reliability. What this essentially did was it narrowed the window into the Iraqi society that we had, from being wide open right after the initial invasion to a point were it became very difficult to get a sense of what people were thinking. Now there is still very good enterprise reporting to be done. And the likes with my colleagues John Burns, Kirk Semple, Damien Cave, Eliza Rubin and Rich Oppel. It's just when they do that they have to be very careful in what they are doing. It's almost like a military style operation. We have a retired British marine who is the head of our security there. And we are now dealing with when you go out to interview somebody, if you want to get outside our compound are doing with armored sedans of gunmen who go with you, of having multiple cars in case one is broken, one breaks down or one is ambushed, you never want to have to be left alone. And when I learnt in my last trip to Baghdad, again a little bit over a year ago was, if you need to you just don't stop. We have this thing where we are driving along a sedan and suddenly we hit a road block, a traffic stop and its just terribly traffic. Well, they just put one of these blue lights on the top of them it hops right over the median and he is going in opposite direction with his siren screaming. The whole the whole message here was you don't stop. If you stop, you will become a target, even in a place like this especially in a place like Baghdad, even if it's just for a routine appointment. So I think and and certainly since then it's the situation has gotten even worse in just a basic benchmark of how you get around and how correspondents do their job. So just to conclude the outlook as I have seen as I kind of go through some of these indicators, that I have used on my my reporting trips into Iraq and Afghanistan. And by that by these measures the outlook is is pretty gloomy. And the question is well, is all lost in these places. I I don't want to be that pessimistic, especially in Afghanistan. I think there they still meet there may be still time, it's not a lot of time. As I said the corruptive effect of the poppy is just really overwhelming right now. But in both countries it has become more and more difficult to craft the necessary political and economic solutions that will ultimately you know, basically be the solution here. The military component alone cannot be the solution here. It just won't happen. And without that without those economic and political bedrock, the beefed up security measures will be fleeting at best. And I think that's worst scene perhaps with this current Surge strategy. In Iraq the best possible outcome right now is perhaps this so called soft partition. And what that would look like is a relatively weak Central Government that would administer a weak Central Government in Baghdad that would oversee a Foreign Policy. It would maintain a national army. And in the best of times it would administer some kind of oil revenue sharing plan. But at the Kurdish, Shia and Sunni areas of the country, north, central and south, would operate on a much more autonomous basis, certainly than they ever did under Saddam and more certainly do it now. Can that happen? The Maliki government that's in place right now has done very little to broker political reconciliation or economic reconstruction in the country. They have been accused of withholding aid to the foreign west, in Sunni areas, in Al Anbar for instance to the benefit of Shias in the center of the of the country. I am skeptical just because from what I have seen on the ground, from talking to colleagues since I left, that all three sides are still incredibly distrustful of each other. And each feels their group can still win. And that unlike in the Balkans for instance where the warring sides essentially fought each other to exhaustion, to the point where you had an opportunity for a Dayton peace accord in the Bosnia campaign. In Iraq, unfortunately killing has really only just begun. And it's hard to make peace stick when all sides feel they can still get an advantage on with a deal like that. In Afghanistan again it's hard to see things improving without tougher measures being taken against the drug production and without tougher measures on the Afghan Pakistani border. This may be just too tall an order for President Musharraf who has got his hands full with all sorts of other problems. Some of you have probably read about the riots and protests over his handling of the dismissal of the Supreme Court Justice in Pakistan. That has that has really hamstrung his operating room his maneuvering if you will even even greater. So add to these the already volatile that the US they were already in the midst of this Presidential campaign you have all the ingredients for a very combustible combination. As I said you are likely to see more votes in Congress this summer and fall to restrict funding for the war in Iraq and setting benchmarks for the Iraqi troops and for getting out of Iraq altogether. Bottom line is just buckle up because we are all in for a rocky ride for the next couple of years. Thank you very much for your attention. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.