Archive for the ‘Green Zone’ Category

Cheney warns against large cuts in Iraq

March 18, 2008
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD – Vice President Dick Cheney warned Monday against large U.S. troop cuts that could jeopardize recent security gains in Iraq, as he marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion with a two-day visit to the country.

Iraq's President Jalal Talabani (R) sits next to U.S. Vice President ...
Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani (R) sits next to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in his office in Baghdad March 17, 2008.
(Mohammed Jalil/Pool/Reuters) 

Cheney used words like “phenomenal” and “remarkable turnaround” to describe a drop in violence in Iraq, and he hailed recently passed legislation aimed at keeping Iraq on a democratic path.

“It would be a mistake now to be so eager to draw down the force that we risk putting the outcome in jeopardy, and I don’t think we’ll do that,” Cheney said after spending the day zigzagging through barricades and checkpoints to get to meetings in and out of the heavily guarded Green Zone. He spent the night at a U.S. military base, the second overnight stay in Iraq for the vice president — the highest-ranking official to do so. Reporters accompanying him were not allowed to disclose the location. Last May, Cheney stayed at Camp Speicher, a base near former leader Saddam Hussein‘s hometown and about 100 miles north of Baghdad.

“It is good to be back in Iraq,” Cheney, dressed in a suit and dark cowboy boots, said after his meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. “It’s especially significant, I think, to be able to return this week as we mark the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the campaign that liberated the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, and launched them on the difficult but historic road to democracy.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080318/ap_on_go_
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A Centcom Chief Who Spoke His Mind

March 13, 2008

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
Thursday, March 13, 2008; Page A17

The first thing that many of Adm. William Fallon’s colleagues note about him is that he’s a Navy officer. By that, they mean he has the stubborn self-confidence, some would say arrogance, that is part of command at sea.
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He knows how to wear his dress whites and receive a snappy salute — and he likes telling people off when he thinks they’re wrong.

Those headstrong qualities were part of why Fallon was chosen to run Central Command, arguably the most important senior post in the U.S. military today.
Adm. William Fallon in Mosul, Iraq, last fall.

Adm. William Fallon in Mosul, Iraq, last fall.
(By Brian Murphy — Associated Press)
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And they explain why Fallon finally crashed and burned Tuesday, tendering his resignation after his blunt comments to an Esquire magazine writer had gotten him into one too many conflicts with the White House and the military brass.
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Stories about Fallon’s resignation focused mostly on his rejection of administration saber-rattling on Iran. “I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for,” he told al-Jazeera last fall when war fever was high. But there’s less of a gap between Fallon and the administration on Iran than those comments suggested.
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Top administration officials have made clear for months that they know there isn’t a good U.S. military option against Iran.Fallon’s problems were less dramatic — but they go to the heart of what America should want from its senior military leaders.
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After what many viewed as the overly deferential style of the two previous chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the White House decided to go for something different in a senior commander — a guy with a mouth that could peel the paint off the walls.

I have traveled with Fallon several times since he became Centcom commander and have talked at length with him, so perhaps I can offer a glimpse into the flap over his premature retirement.
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Fallon’s early friction was with Gen. David Petraeus, whom President Bush had trusted with the implementation of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq. Their turf war was ironic because Petraeus had supported Fallon for the job. But the new Centcom chief bristled at his nominal subordinate’s close relationship with the White House, and it made for an awkward chain of command.

The tension was evident in May when I traveled to Baghdad with Fallon. He brought me into all his meetings with Iraqi officials, despite objections from some Green Zone politicos. Those fractious discussions reinforced Fallon’s worry that the vaunted troop surge, while clearly improving Iraqi security, wasn’t creating the space for national political reconciliation.

In a May 15 piece from Baghdad, I quoted an upbeat Petraeus: “How long does reconciliation take? That’s the long pole in the tent.” I asked Fallon if he had an assessment of his own, and he said, specifically rebutting Petraeus: “We’re chipping away at the problem. But we don’t have the time to chip away. Reconciliation isn’t likely in the time we have available, but some form of accommodation is a must.”

By last fall, it was clear….

Read the rest:
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/12/AR2008031203395.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

November 4, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 4, 2007

Last Wednesday, October 31, 2007, Senior Foreign Service Officer Jack Croddy stood up at a “Town Hall Meeting” at the United States Department of State and addressed the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with these words:

“Incoming is coming in every day, rockets are hitting the Green Zone….It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”

After 36 years of service, Mr. Croddy, this is the example you set for young and eager Foreign Service Officers?

O.K., Mr. Crotty: Who will raise the children of the fallen Soldiers? Who will raise the children of the fallen Marines and Airmen, Sailors and Civilians in the service of America? Who will raise the children of the fallen from the USS Cole, from the embassy bombings at of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya? Who will raise the children of those that died in the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and on flight 93? Who raised the children of those Marines killed in the Beirut Embassy bombing?

We want you to meet all of the families of the fallen and all of the families who serve their country. We want you to explain why you take the money from the taxpayers, took the oath, and now like a mule refuse to cross the bridge.  You are now refusing to follow orders and would closely fit the military definition for a deserter or mutineer

I could go on and there are no words to express my rage.

You sir, were sworn to serve. You took the same oath military men and women take. You have taken my tax dollars for years – long enough for your hair to become grey. And now you are spitting on your flag, your oath, your fellow citizens (and taxpayers) and your president.

Mr. Bill Crystal on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” on Sunday, November 4, 2007, called you “disgraceful” and an “embarrassment.” Britt Hume said you were a “black mark on the Foreign Service.”

But these are measured and articulate men. You and your family could not bear to hear the words I have for you in my mind. My pastor would have to restrain me.

Mr. Crotty: if you feel so strongly that you are ready to refuse assignment: you should resign immediately. You have served enough. More than enough.

Do the honorable thing, man. Go home.

Related:

Halfhearted at State?

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

Dragnet, Freedom of the Press, The Facts, and the Mainstream News Media

July 25, 2007

By James Zumwalt
For Peace and Freedom
July 26, 2007

A popular TV program during the 1950s, “Dragnet,” starred actor Jack Webb portraying a no-nonsense police investigator. His investigative technique made popular a line he often used in the show. Interviewing female witnesses who strayed from just sharing factual observations–offering instead unsolicited opinions–Webb, seeking to refocus the interviewee, admonished, “All we want are the facts, ma’am.”

Jack Webb

Webb’s admonition to provide just the facts is one appropriate to news reporting as well. However, the results of a recent study commissioned by one major international news organization—known for its very liberal bias—show exactly how far it has strayed from this role. And, since the vast majority of those in the media—by their own admission—are cut from the same liberal cloth, it is reasonable to assume what sins the study reveals about this news organization pertain to the majority of those working within the industry.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) hired an external group to evaluate the internal conduct of its organization to assess claims of liberal bias. The findings proved shocking–to the BBC at least. One finding was it had “failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff.” The study warned too of pandering to celebrities, allowing them “to hijack the BBC schedule,” and of a tendency for its staff “‘to group think’ with too many inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone.” In addition to revealing BBC’s imbalanced news reporting, the study makes a revelation which should raise concern as to how such reporting contributes to perpetuating worrisome myths, thus failing to alert the public of dangers to its very existence.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
BBC logo

The study noted, during a BBC staff impartiality seminar held last year, executives expressed willingness, should the storyline arise, to broadcast images of the Bible being thrown away but would not do so if it were the Koran being trashed. Why? They feared offending Muslims, evidenced by the violent reactions prompted by publishing cartoons of Muhammad and Pope Benedict’s innocent reciting of a quote by a 14th-Century Christian emperor critical of Islam.

These BBC executives, however, fail to give consideration to the price paid for submitting to such fears. The decision-making guidelines for broadcasting they support result in dishonest reporting, helping to perpetuate dangerous myths. In opting not to broadcast the Koran story, for example, they perpetuate the myth we have nothing to fear from Islamic extremism. Similarly, in opting to broadcast the Bible story, they perpetuate the myth to the Muslim world that non-believers lack moral guidance, giving extremists a rational basis–in their minds–to impose Islam or death upon us. Thus the result in broadcasting one story but not the other would clearly represent a net loss for Western civilization and a net gain for Islamic extremism.

It is not the first time a news organization, out of fear, has failed to publish a story. America’s BBC equivalent, CNN, hid the truth of Saddam Hussein’s acts of brutality and torture before the 2003 US invasion, only later admitting it had consciously done so. Following the 2003 invasion, senior CNN executive Eason Jordan confessed while his news organization was well aware of numerous atrocities committed by Saddam—justifying the dictator’s removal from power—it opted not to report them. To do so, he argued, would have endangered CNN staffers in Iraq. Thus, CNN helped perpetuate the myth prior to 2003 that insufficient grounds for an invasion might exist. While CNN remained silent about Saddam’s widely practiced torture, executions and mutilations of Iraqi citizens, it later would unhesitatingly report stories critical of US troops for what was either mostly a very limited practice of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib or uncorroborated allegations of it. This result was a net loss for the US prestige and a net gain for Islamic extremism.

While the mainstream news media (MNM) today attempts to portray itself as independent, it is hypocritical in doing so. For example, most of MNM reject the practice of embedding reporters with US units in Iraq today due to concerns the reporters might start to identify with their unit hosts and thus provide biased perspectives. As a result, many reporters in Iraq spend their time inside the highly protected Green Zone in Baghdad, relying on local stringers–with their own biases–to bring them stories to write and file. This they fail to report to the public, while criticizing the US military for paying to have the Iraqi media publish certain stories it has provided. Furthermore, while news organizations historically take no initiative to pressure Islamic extremist groups to release captives, they fail to remain similarly detached when their own journalists are taken captive—as evidenced most recently by BBC’s efforts to win the release of its reporter Alan Johnston in Gaza.

Clearly the majority of news reporters today in the MNM lack the Jack Webb, facts only-approach. Instead, facts are often lost within the opinionated reporting reflected by a news organization’s political slant. It is a journalistic sin to package a story within the wrappings of a news organization’s established bias, but it is an even greater sin to do so by intentionally refusing to report facts to provide news recipients with information necessary for them to make informed decisions about potential dangers to their existence.

At the conclusion of each “Dragnet” program, the announcer said, “The story you have just seen is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Unfortunately, with the very liberal slant represented by the MNM today and its failing to relate the true dangers of Islamic extremism, the facts they ignore fail to “protect the innocent.” In doing so, freedom of the press—a right which has played such a significant role in breathing life into democracy—could prove to be a catalyst in causing its death.

Related:
Is All the News Media Going
The Way of NBCs Today Show?

By John E. Carey
June 25, 2007

Today in the world we have these intriguing stories: War in Iraq, Discussions of Genocide in Darfur Being Held in Paris, Iran Trying to Slip Away From U.N. Sanctions, North Korea Preparing to Shut Down its Nuclear Reactor, “Chemical Ali” Sentenced to Death in Iraq, Tony Blair Maybe to Become Catholic and other goodies.

NBCs Today Show started with a California Brush Fire, A Bus Crash, A Murder in Ohio, and Problems with Aspirin. Before the first half hour was completed we had Pretty Blonde Woman (Princess Di and Paris Hilton) and a story on Beaches.

By eight a.m. I’d expect a story on Bar-B-Q, Good Make-Up and Expensive Women’s Shoes.

What is America thinking? Watch the NBC Today Show or anything else in the morning line-up and you’ll know.

The ceaseless, mindless prattle of the “networks” (NBC, ABC, and CBS) created the audience for the “Cable News” phenomena of CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC.

The “Main Stream Media” (The New York Times, The Washington Post, and etc.) created the “Blogger” phenomena.

The bottom line: there is enough news to go around for everyone.

“Now Public” (the liberal leaning, Toronto based “news” web site) is as important to its readers and participants as The Washington Times is to a certain political crowd in America!