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I guess Joe Lieberman just can’t help it. No matter when you ask him, things are looking up in Iraq. In fact, this time, they’re “just beginning to look up.” After watching Joe vote twice in two days against even a non-binding goal of removing US troops from Iraq a year from now, we now have this latest assurance from the man who claims he wants more than anyone to end the war and get US troops out of Iraq. From Joe’s op-ed in Thursday’s USA Today:

Since taking command, Gen. Petraeus has been true to his word. The result? Sectarian violence is down in Baghdad. The radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has fled. The Mahdi Army, which terrorized Baghdad last year, appears to be splintering. And the Iraqi government — its spine stiffened thanks to our renewed support — is taking the critical steps for political reconciliation.

Amazingly, however, just at the moment things are at last beginning to look up in Iraq, a narrow majority in Congress has decided that it’s time to force our military to retreat. Rather than supporting Gen. Petraeus, they are threatening to strip him of the troops he says he needs and sabotage his strategy.

Later on CNN, Joe assured us that US soldiers are now “more confident” walking around in Baghdad. I thought only John McCain was confused about this. So once again, Michael Ware had to remind us of the realities, explaining that changes in the capital noted by US military were a function of the militia laying low, but it was not safer in other areas and certainly not in the areas outside the capital where violence continued. Is this progress? “It’s far too early to tell, Wolf,” Ware explained. [UPATE: C&L now has the video up.]

Wolf and Ware then discussed the return of chaos and mass killings in Tal Afar, where successive suicide bombings killed scores of Shia, and Shia gunmen and police retaliated by pulling scores of Sunni men out of their homes and executing them. And today’s reports from Baghdad and other cities were just as discouraging.

BAGHDAD – Five suicide bombers struck Shiite marketplaces in northeast Baghdad and a town north of the capital at nightfall Thursday, killing at least 122 people and wounding more than 150 in one of Iraq’s deadliest days in years.

The savage attacks came as a new American ambassador began his first day on the job, and Senate Democrats ignored a veto threat and approved a bill to require
President Bush to start withdrawing troops.

At least 178 people were killed or found dead Thursday, which marked the end of the seventh week of the latest U.S.-Iraqi military drive to curtail violence in Baghdad and surrounding regions.

Meanwhile, John Murtha called the systematic sectarian killing on both sides “genocide.” Responding to CNN’s Blitzer, who asked whether, as McCain claimed, that leaving next year might encourage genocide, Murtha replied, “It’s genocide already.” [Transcript here.]

Murtha also told Blitzer that if Bush vetoes a bill that requires US troops meet readiness standards before being deployed to Iraq, then it is Bush who is not supporting the troops.

The next thing I expect Lieberman to say is that no one wants to support our troops and ensure their readiness for combat more than he does — just before he votes against the bill that does that.