Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The Real News Network and Alive In Baghdad produced this illuminating video which tells what happened in the Sadr City neighborhood in Baghdad after U.S. forces moved into the area.

Several civilians talk about what happened and how the U.S. forces virtually destroyed their city.



The top military leaders at the Pentagon are urging caution in too quick a drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq, however President Bush and GOP candidates for President and Vice President, John McCain and Sarah Palin, are playing "politics" with our troops in Iraq and want at least 8,000 troops returned home or shipped to Afghanistan where the bulk of the war is now taking place.

Pentagon leaders to urge caution in troop cuts

Wednesday September 10, 2008 8:46 AM
Associated Press Writer,,-7786950,00.html

WASHINGTON (AP) - Top defense leaders are telling Congress the U.S. must be cautious as the Pentagon begins to cut troops in Iraq and focus more attention on the escalating fight in Afghanistan.

In testimony Wednesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was to note the dramatic security gains in Iraq over the past year but say that uncertainty remains and further troop reductions must be done with balance and care, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

At the same time, Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were looking ahead to a broader effort in Afghanistan to beat back a Taliban resurgence and build up the fragile Afghan central government.

Both were scheduled to testify before the House Armed Services Committee about the latest proposal by President Bush to slowly reduce troop levels in Iraq and start shifting forces to Afghanistan.

Bush announced Tuesday that he will pull about 4,000 troops out of Iraq before the end of the year, and another 4,000 in January - reducing force levels there to roughly 138,000. The 8,000-troop drawdown represents just 5 percent of the 146,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq.

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Commercial Media Let McCain Get Away with Claims that the "Surge" has Worked

By Robert Parry, Consortium NewsPosted on September 10, 2008, Printed on September 10, 2008

Despite strong evidence to the contrary, it has become established conventional wisdom among mainstream Washington journalists that the "surge" was the singular reason for the recent decline in Iraq's violence. It's also agreed that McCain deserves great credit for pushing the "surge" idea early.

Barack Obama has been repeatedly chastised -- even badgered -- for opposing the "surge." His attempts to refocus the debate more broadly on the wisdom of invading Iraq in the first place are rudely rejected by Big Media interviewers.

The latest example came during an ABC News "This Week" interview on Sept. 7 when George Stephanopoulos demanded of Obama: "How do you escape the logic that ... John McCain was right about the surge?"

When Obama responded that he didn't understand "why people are so focused on what has happened in the last year and a half and not on the previous five," Stephanopoulos cut him off, saying "Granted, you think you made the right decision about going in, but about the surge?"
In other words, the big-name journalists don't want a discussion about the decision to illegally invade Iraq under false pretenses in 2003 (presumably because they almost all were cheering the invasion on), but instead they want the debate to center entirely on their latest false assumption, that the "surge" has virtually won the war.

In reality, the "surge" of about 30,000 additional troops sent to Iraq appears to have been only one factor and -- according to military officials interviewed for Bob Woodward's new book, The War Within -- possibly a secondary one in explaining the drop-off in the violence that had made Iraq a living hell.

As Woodward writes, "In Washington, conventional wisdom translated these events into a simple view: The surge had worked. But the full story was more complicated. At least three other factors were as important as, or even more important than, the surge."

Woodward, whose book draws heavily from Pentagon insiders, reported that the Sunni rejection of al-Qaeda extremists in Anbar province (which preceded the surge) and the surprise decision of radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr to order a unilateral cease-fire by his militia were two important factors.

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Charley Gibson of ABC News is scheduled to interview Sarah Palin. What a joke.

Why not have Palin sitdown with Rick Davis, campaign director, for McCain/Palin?

Charley Gibson is about the worst anchor/reporter in the history of network television. He is a right wing jerk who will throw nothing but softballs at Palin and let her hit them out of the park.

Here is how Media Matters looks at the upcoming interview between wishy-washy Charley Gibson and the Sarah Palin:

Gibson, who is scheduled to interview Palin, let several McCain falsehoods go unchallenged

Summary: ABC's Charlie Gibson posed no challenge to several false, contradictory, or dubious assertions made by Sen. John McCain during a September 3 interview. Gibson is scheduled to interview McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, later this week.

On the September 7 edition of Fox News Sunday, Rick Davis, campaign manager for Sen. John McCain, asserted that Gov. Sarah Palin would not be interviewed until "at which point in time we feel like the news media is going to treat her with some level of respect and deference."

ABC News subsequently announced that World News anchor Charlie Gibson had secured the first television interview with Palin following her vice-presidential nomination, which is scheduled to air on September 11 and 12. Indeed, during a September 3 interview with McCain, Gibson posed no challenge to several of his false, contradictory, or dubious assertions.

For example, Gibson did not challenge McCain on his false claim that when Palin became governor of Alaska, she said, "No more [earmarks] for my state"; Gibson offered no rebuttal to McCain's claim that Sen. Barack Obama has never "taken on the special interests in his party on a major issue"; and did not note that McCain previously reportedly had a different view from his current one of the relevance of a governor's experience presiding over his or her state's National Guard.

Earmarks and the "bridge to nowhere"

As Media Matters for America documented, Gibson did not challenge the claim by McCain that after Palin obtained millions of dollars in earmarks as mayor of her Alaskan hometown, Wasilla, she "learned that earmarks are bad" when she became governor and said, "No more for my state." At no point did Gibson point out that as governor, Palin, by her own account, requested nearly $200 million in earmarks for Alaska just this year. Other media outlets have noted Palin's earmark requests as governor; The Seattle Times reported on September 2 that her earmark requests for 2008 amounted to "more, per person, than any other state."

Gibson also left unchallenged McCain's claim that Palin said, "We don't want the 'bridge to nowhere.' " In fact, as The Seattle Times article reported, after "appear[ing] to embrace" the "so-called 'Bridge to Nowhere' " during her run for governor, "A year later, as criticism of earmarks mounted, Palin began to speak out against earmarks" but nonetheless kept the federal money for Alaska and used the funds for other projects.

Obama "has never taken on the special interests in his party on a major issue ever"
Gibson allowed McCain to claim without challenge that Obama "has never taken on the special interests in his party on a major issue ever." Gibson did not note that Obama has refuted that claim by pointing to his work dealing with ethics reform and education, and that media, including ABC News, have reported that Obama has taken positions that were not popular with interests or politicians within his party. reported on Obama's proposal for merit pay for teachers in a November 20, 2007, analysis by Teddy Davis and Sunlen Miller headlined "Obama Bucks Party Line on Education":

Obama's willingness to boost teacher pay based on performance separates him from his Democratic rivals, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who supports school-based, rather than individual teacher-based, merit pay. The broader political significance of his unorthodox proposal is that it gives him an opportunity to buttress his argument that he is the Democrat best positioned to bring people together for purposes of challenging the status quo.
Even author David Freddoso wrote in his book, The Case Against Barack Obama, that an ethics reform bill co-sponsored by Obama,
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, was "a real accomplishment for Obama in the name of reform" and "a small victory for open government and bipartisanship" that was "approved over the objection of some of Capitol Hill's worst porkers." From Pages 93-94 of Freddoso's book:

Obama's reform record is not a complete wash. His most notable accomplishment in Washington was the bill he co-sponsored with Republican senator Tom Coburn, the conservative junior senator from Oklahoma. The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 -- also known as "Google for Government" -- helped expose to the sunlight the congressional practice of "earmarking," in which members of Congress direct federal spending to parochial projects -- swimming pools, bridges to nowhere -- that often have no national importance or congressional authorization.63 Coburn and Obama's bill, approved over the objection of some of Capitol Hill's worst porkers, really was a small victory for open government and bipartisanship.
This was a real accomplishment for Obama in the name of reform -- the second such accomplishment of his career after the Illinois ethics law.

In a June 16 interview with ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, Obama cited "ethics reform legislation" as an example of a time he "worked across the aisle in such a way that entailed a political risk." According to the Nexis database, the exchange was aired on the August 12 edition of World News, in a segment introduced and concluded by Gibson.

From the interview transcript:
TAPPER: But have you ever worked across the aisle in such a way that entailed a political risk for yourself?

OBAMA: Well, look, when I was doing ethics reform legislation, for example, that wasn't popular with Democrats or Republicans. So any time that you actually try to get something done in Washington, it entails some political risks.

Obama also cited ethics reform as an example of when he "went against party loyalty, and maybe even went against your own best interest, for the good of America" during the August 16 Saddleback Presidential Forum, moderated by pastor Rick Warren:

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