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Tipsheet

'Quitting is Not an Exit Strategy'

The Rumsfeld defense briefing was a lively one this morning, with Rummy getting raw on a couple of reporters with that "don't get stuck on stupid" tone he gets sometimes. His comments are all over the cable news networks right now, but "quitting is not an exit strategy" is the quote of the moment.

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Rumsfeld also laid out some progress numbers, a good handful of which the AP, to its credit, lists in bullet points:

• U.S. forces have turned over control of about 29 military bases to the Iraqis.

• Baghdad's once-violent Haifa Street is now more peaceful and under the control of an Iraqi army battalion.

• The Iraqi army has seven division and 31 brigade headquarters in operation, compared with none in July 2004.

• The number of Iraq army battalions "in the fight" has grown to 95, compared to five in August 2004.

On Monday, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said the number was 100, plus 30 battalions of Iraqi Special Police. Pentagon spokesman Maj. Todd Vician said the 100 total includes five Iraqi special forces battalions.

Four Western peace activists taken hostage in Iraq have been identified. The Jawa Report is, as usual, on top of the story with video translations and identifications:

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American Thomas Fox of Clear Brook Virginia, Canadian Harmeet Singh Sooden, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, Briton Norman Kember, and a man whose last name on the video is unclear, but sounds like James Loni of Canada.

More background, here. We can hope and pray that the story of these hostages ends in the same way Roy Hallums' did.

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