Drop in Iraq Violence Gives Petraeus Breathing Room

But general won't yet talk of a turning point
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2007 2:00 PM CST
U.S. commander Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus arrives for a meeting between Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Chris...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – US Gen. David Petraeus said today that declining violence in Iraq has given him greater flexibility with troop deployment, the AP reports. But while Petraeus remains quietly optimistic about American prospects in Iraq, he played down any talk of a turning point. "There's nobody in uniform who is doing victory dances in the end zone," he said.

Petraeus cited the troop surge, a decrease in Iran-sponsored attacks, and the ceasefire declared by Moqtada al-Sadr as contributing to the better climate in Iraq, where one day last month the military recorded only 45-50 attacks. Petraeus is due to make his next public assessment of the situation in Iraq in a March appearance before Congress.