White House Tells Press: Huge Anti-American Protest in Iraq Shows ‘Progress’

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By: E&P Staff

A huge anti-American protest swept two cities in Iraq today, but White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters this only underscores how much “progress” the U.S. is making in that country.

Four years since the fall of Baghad, Iraq “is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions, and that was something they could not do under Saddam.” Johndrove said, traveling with President Bush to Arizona.

He also noted that Moktada al-Sahr had called for “massive protests– I’m not sure that we ‘ve seen that, those numbers materialize.”

But the Associated Press reported this afternoon: “Tens of thousands of Shiites — a sea of women in black abayas and men waving Iraqi flags — marched from Kufa to Najaf on Monday, demanding U.S. forces leave their country on the fourth anniversary of fall of Baghdad. Streets in the capital were silent and empty under a hastily imposed 24-hour driving ban.

“Demonstrators ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug flung on the road between the two holy cities for the huge march.”

Johndroe also said: “While we have much more progress ahead of us — the United States, the coalition and Iraqis have much more to do — this is a country that has come a long way from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.”

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