美国关于伊拉克的进程报告(Us Progress Report on Iraq)
1,Headway n. 进展 2,benchmark n. 基准点
3,subconsciously adv. 下意识地 4,regime n. 政权，政体，政权制度
5,claustrophobic adj. 幽闭恐怖的 6,kidnapper n. 绑匪
7,dejection n. 沮丧 8,quell v. 镇压
9,dubious adj. 可疑的，不确定的
ANNOUNCER: In the next two weeks, General David Petraeus, the senior American military commander in Iraq and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Baghdad are due to present a crucial progress report to President Bush and the US Congress. Their task is to assess whether any headway been made towards national reconciliation and reducing the violence in Iraq. US congress has set out 18 benchmarks which are supposed to be fulfilled by mid-September to ensure continued support and funding for the war. Richard Gulping, who is back in Baghdad for the first time in almost two years, has been assessing the situation there using some benchmarks of his own.
RICHARD GULPING: As my plane made the stiff, tactical descent to Baghdad airport, I was thinking about those much debated American benchmarks. I realized that almost subconsciously, I developed my own. Mine not of course deeply, unscientific and highly personal if not slightly eccentric but they help.
The first is the width of our street. When I first came to Baghdad just after the American troops had matched in four years ago, we lived and worked in a normal street. We walked around freely, even at night, taking just basic security precautions, but this didn’t last long. The American Military founded, not knowing what to do after taking Baghdad because it didn’t have a serious plan for the day after declaring victory. And that the members of the former regime seized the initiative launching a well planned campaign of guerrilla warfare which also attracted Islamic Extremists. So over the next two years, our lives in Baghdad became ever more restricted. Our street was sealed off and guarded, became increasingly narrow as each building had huge concrete block barriers placed in front of it. On my return here three weeks ago, I discovered that our street was even narrower because yet more blast barriers have been brought in. Its now also much shorter cutting half by huge metal gate and everywhere security cameras. Living here is deeply claustrophobic where once we could spend time speaking with top members of the Iraqi Government, we now fear to tread because of the threat of being kidnapped. And that’s because at the end of May, a British consultant and his four British bodyguards were seized by gunmen from inside the Finance Ministry in Baghdad. The fate is still unknown. The incident says so much about the current state of the Iraqi security forces. The kidnappers were all wearing Police uniforms and drove up in police vehicles. Clear evidence of involvement of militia groups within the police force or the very least collusion between the two.
My second benchmark is the face of an Iraqi friend here. Over the past four years, I have seen his face evolve into picture of dejection. But now there seems to be something even worse, despair. He is trying to persuade the members of his own family to move abroad where he knows they will be safe even if it means being apart for years. But this is minor league compared with what our colleague at an international news agency has been through. A few days ago, I attended a wake for two of their Iraqi staff, a photographer and a driver who were killed in Baghdad in July. An American attache helicopter opened fire on them. US military said it was engaged in fire fight with insurgents at the time. In total the agency has now lost 7 staff since the invasion. The photographer was just 22 years old. And in exhibition of some of his most powerful images have been put on display for us to see. Most of his short professional life has been correcting just one thing, the violence tearing apart his own country.
And that brings me to my third benchmark, the board in our office. Everyday it's used to compile a list of the shootings, bombings and other violent incidence we hear about around the country. Last week we decided the board was too small, we needed something bigger.
My fourth and final benchmark is a more direct look at how the American troops now operate on the ground. It derives from a brief trip we did with General Raymond Odairmo the second most senior American military commander in Iraq, a great bull of a man with a shaved head. He had some very specific people he wanted us to meet; they are known as the Volunteer Security Forces or Civilian Guards. They sprang up in the wake of the surge of the American troops across central Iraq this year which has had some success in quelling the violence in some of the most troubled regions. Thousands of volunteers all Sunni Arabs have been stepping forward and often to protect their own neighborhoods. Some a former insurgents, which says others are young unemployed men who have had enough of the violence. It is a remarkable turn around. It is so many now want to co-operate with the Americans, the very people that previously they been trying to kill. The Americans of course have been eager to sign the map and give them contracts, 20,000 apparently so far. In the Sunni district of West Baghdad which we went to, the volunteers are filling a void. There was no regular police there because the police are mostly Shiite. With the American enthusiastic about this great force, the majority Shite population in the country is becoming increasingly alarmed. They fear that a Sunni militia of dubious loyalty to the government is being created across the Sunni heartlands and if the Americans hand responsibility to them and then go back, it could be that they have created a perfect recipe for all out civil war.
ANNOUNCER: Richard Gulping.