- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BAGHDAD (Agence France-Presse) — A group of Iraqis watching the stuttering start of proceedings before the U.S. Congress yesterday, which could influence whether U.S. troops remain in their country, said they were unimpressed.

Student Abdelbaqi al-Shimmari scoffed when the microphones went dead just as the chief U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, was to testify.

“If the Americans can’t make their own microphones work, how can they may things work in Iraq?” he asked.

“It is like a theater,” said teacher Abdullah Kadhim, 58, who, like others interviewed for this article, was watching the congressional hearing live on Al-Hurra television at a general store in an inner Baghdad neighborhood.

“Each day, they say there is a new report. They say they will bring a new change in Iraq. We can only hope there will finally be progress in security,” Mr. Kadhim said.

Saleh Adnan, 34, a car mechanic, also watching the broadcast, was dismissive.

“I don’t think this will change anything in our country because the Americans will never leave Iraq. For us, the main point is when the occupation will end,” said Mr. Adnan.

“For me, the main report will be the one which announces the American departure.”

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