The US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made a surprise visit to Iraq today, where he was scheduled to visit a command ceremony for the head of US forces in Iraq marking the beginning of Operation New Dawn, a training and advisory mission in Iraq. Vice President Biden is also in the country, where he spoke to political leaders on Monday. Speaking at an American Legions national convention in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Secretary Gates echoed President Obama's caution about the winding down of combat operations in Iraq, saying that, "now is not the time for premature victory parades." Read more: AFP and Wall Street Journal.
Some firing squads are all issued with blank cartridges with the exception of one person. This helps alleviate personal responsibility for the execution squad.