YWT: "There is no military solution to this war"
HALA GORANI: Trekking on foot on a path already proven deadly for fellow pilgrims, Shia Muslims are streaming into an Iraqi holy city for religious commemorations.
JIM CLANCY: Meantime, a top U.S. commander calls those who attacked the pilgrims earlier this week "thugs with no soul" and promises to do more to protect all of the citizens of Iraq.
GORANI: Well, this is the scene in Karbala, where some one million pilgrims are gathering to end a mourning period for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. Now, his death in battle helped cement the divide between Sunni and Shia Islam, and also, of course, disagreements on who should have inherented power within Islam.
CLANCY: But what is on the minds of many today, even as they celebrate, has been the attacks on the pilgrims, relentless attacks at every vulnerable point, despite increased security as they marched towards Karbala. More than 170 people in all have been killed.
Now, U.S. commander General David Petraeus says civilian safety is his top priority as troops are stepping up security in Baghdad and beyond in some areas. He says military action alone, though, not enough to end this violence.
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PETRAEUS: Political resolution of various differences, of this legislation, of various senses that people do not have a stake in the success of the new Iraq and so forth, that is crucial. That is what will determine in the long run the success of this effort.
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CLANCY: Now, General Petraeus spoke to reporters today for the first time since taking command in Iraq last month.
Let's bring in our own Michael Ware on the ground in Baghdad for a little bit more on this.
How is this message likely to be received? It's something that in all fairness they've heard before in Iraq.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely, Jim. I mean, there was nothing new, really, in anything that General Petraeus said, neither about U.S. strategy, nor about any sense of timetables or time frames for changes in U.S. troop levels.
I mean, there were some nuance that was insightful about the deployment of the surge of 21,500 troops that are coming in to help re-secure the capital, Baghdad. We now know that they're going to secure the Baghdad belt around it. But beyond some of those little details, there was nothing markedly different.
We've heard time and time again, there is no military solution to this war, America cannot win this on the battlefield.
CLANCY: All right. Back on Capitol Hill, another battle is being fought over the future of U.S. troops in Iraq. And Michael, I want you just to hear -- this comes from an Illinois Democrat, a lawmaker up on Capitol Hill today, Janice Schakowsky. Listen to this.
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REP. JANICE SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Four and a half years ago, the president asked Congress to give war a chance. And despite our objections, he got that chance and he blew it.
No more chances, no more waivers, no phony certifications, no more spending billions of dollars to send our children into the meat grinder that is Iraq. It is time to spend the money to keep them safe and bring them home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: All right. Strong words there from that Democratic lawmaker. At the same time, the Democrats are pressing for a deadline, be it at the end of 2007 or 2008, to bring all U.S. troops home.
How is that going to affect General Petraeus, the Iraqi government and the Iraqis themselves?
WARE: Well, Jim, certainly in terms of the Iraqis and the war that's being fought in the streets and the deserts of this country, I mean, what's happening over there, what the Democrats are saying about timetables may as well be happening on the planet Pluto for all that it counts, to the bloodshed and the endless combat that we're seeing day in, day out. All that it does -- anyone setting time frames like that without real preconditions, anyone trying to put artificial deadlines upon this conflict, is only aiding the enemies, so-called, of America, al Qaeda and Iran. It allows them some leverage to know when to put the pressure on, to know that the clock is ticking and to know where the pressure points are.
So in terms of the battle, day to day here, General Petraeus isn't looking more forward than five or six months. He's trying to make this surge work. But in terms of the broader strategic framework, it serves only America's enemies -- Jim.
CLANCY: Michael Ware, calling it like it is, laying it on the line there from Baghdad, Iraq, tonight -- Hala.