Is it really getting better in Iraq?

Submitted by Cecil on 11/30/04 at 11:06 PM. ( )

By Rob Nordland
Updated: 6:16 p.m. ET Nov. 27, 2004

Nov. 27 - To a casual observer, the past week seemed to have been seven days of comparatively good news for the war in Iraq. Abu Musab al Zarqawi's No. 2 was captured in Mosul, while in Fallujah the victorious Marines were uncovering torture chambers and hostage prisons, bomb labs and mosque-based armories. The prime minister's kidnapped relatives were released. Major powers and Iraq's neighbors got together in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and agreed to forgive 80 percent of Iraq's foreign debt, while supporting elections, which the government announced would take place Jan. 30, 2005, after weeks of speculation they might be delayed, as many rebellious Sunnis had demanded. "We feel we've broken their back and their spirit," said Lt. Gen. John Sattler, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. "After Fallujah," added the Iraqi national security adviser, Qassim Daoud, "we saw terrorist activities, bombings, mines, reduce dramatically in Baghdad and elsewhere, clearly confirming our analysis that Fallujah was a safe haven for terrorists."

It was pretty good spin, but that's all it was. Partly it's as if the military gave a big dose of chemo to Fallujah, largely destroying the tumor, but sending fugitive cancer cells zinging around Iraq's lymphatic system. As insurgents fanned out, there were new flare-ups from one end of Iraq to another, even in places that had previously been quiet. Highways became even more dangerous than usual. During these seven days, at least 10 American soldiers were killed in action, and incomplete reports showed an average of 100 attacks on coalition forces daily—far more than the pre-Fallujah average. By Nov. 26, 117 American soldiers will have died in November, making it the second deadliest month of the war (after April 2004, when 140 coalition troops died). And by the end of this week, Iraqi elections looked more imperiled than ever.

Why then was the public perception, at least in the United States, dramatically different? Partly it's because there are fewer Western journalists here than at any time in the war so far, and most of them are either embedded with military units, or largely confined to assorted bunkers around the capital. (NEWSWEEK correspondents themselves have been either in the Green Zone or embedded since October.) Getting a broad view of the war has become harder than ever before; even investigating major incidents can be nearly impossible. For instance, two weeks ago 60 Iraqi police recruits reportedly were kidnapped from their hotel in Rutbah, in Anbar province, and to date no one has been able to confirm what became of them, because Rutbah is too dangerous to reach, even for Iraqi journalists. Compounding the problem, both Iraqi and coalition authorities often simply don't report much of what happens, while private contractors almost never reveal attacks on their reconstruction efforts, even when their foreign personnel are killed (although 190 such deaths have surfaced so far this year, it's a fraction of the probable total).

Here then is a necessarily incomplete, but nevertheless alarming chronicle of seven days in the war in Iraq, culled from interviews with Iraqis, foreign contractors and Western officials, wire services, confidential security and intelligence daily reports, and even military press releases.

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The key word is "culled"

This response submitted by Brent on 11/30/04 at 11:20 PM. ( )

The press is going to print the worst. Why? Because bad news sells.

How can you belive our press rags these days when most of what they do print is trash.

Didn't live during the Vietnam era eh?

This response submitted by Cecil on 11/30/04 at 11:44 PM. ( )

Our government put a postive spin on that war too. The parallels are so similar it's spooky.

I wouldn't believe everything the medias says either, but totally discounting the media can be just as faulty as as believing everything they say.

Ever been in a war, Cecil?

This response submitted by cur on 11/30/04 at 11:47 PM. ( )

Ever been in the military? Ever been to Texas? Well, I have been in a couple of wars, and live in Texas. Just because some punk-a$$ed reporter files a story from Baghdad, doesn't mean he knows a freaking thing about something 200 miles up the road. That would be as if I said that I was qualified to sit on my duff in Galveston and report on crime in Dallas.

I have lived in a number of foreign countries, and spent much of my adult life traveling around the world. No matter where I went, there were bars where the reporters from our nation's press hung out. I have watched a good number of reporters file a story from a phone held in one hand while the other hand groped a local call girl.

Once, in Tokyo, in a Press Club hangout called "Maggie's Revenge", following a 7 Richter Scale earthquake, the reporters were running from one of us to another wanting to know what we were doing and where we were when the quake hit. I had been on the Shin Kan Sen, the "bullet train" between Nagoya and Tokyo. The quake shook that train like a rubbber snake. A dozen reporters converged on me and took down my every word. I still have the AP and UPI stories that were written about the "American Artist" who "survived" the quake.

(Actually, the trains have quake detectors and auto brakes that cause them to screech to a halt when an earthquake is sensed.) The nice thing about Japan is that folks are nice...really nice. The train bar car (where I happened to be when the quake struck) comped our drinks all the way to Tokyo Station. By the time I got to Maggies, I was three sheets to the wind, and could have cared less about the event. Guns and Roses, the band, were in town, and they were all hanging out there. I think we shut the joint down around 5:00 A.M.

All of us went to a party thrown by Volkswagen at one of their big compounds and the reporters filed their follow-ups from there on the following in one hand and a concubine or a bloody mary in the other. That is not to say some of the embeds today don't do a better job than the pussies we ferried around in Vietnam, but you can bet your butt that there is a joint in Baghdad from whence the liquor flows and the horsecrap like your post originates. Been there, done that.

Hemingway wrote that, "war was six feet wide and as deep as you could see ahead." That is about as close to a good definition as I have ever heard. Our troops, the sons and daughters and grandchildren,of my old comrades, are up to their ass in a war in Iraq. I think they are doing our nation proud, and knocking off the bad guys at a pretty good clip, considering that their enemy hides beind women and children and don't wear clothes that match, much less uniforms.

We kicked Germany's a$$ in 1945, and today, 59 years later, we still have 65,000 troops stationed there. We had troops stationed in Japan for decades. Germany required massive pacification following the fall of Berlin, the old gaurd Nazi's didn't go quietly into the night. Neither will the Iraqi old guard.

The fall of Falujah marked a turning point, and those sparks that fell from the fire will be stamped out one by one too. The combat in Iraq will last for some time into the future. That is a certainy. BUT it would be over a damn sight sooner if the press would give credit where credit is due and quit whining about all the small s**t.

I am not sure of your point with this posting. If you wish to belittle the efforts of our combat soldiers and marines, please do it somewhere else. Frankly, I figure that anyone who has never been there, is not qualified to comment at all.

My grandson, Allen, is presently in our Armed Forces. He is the 14th generation of my family to take up arms to defend our nation. We are proud of his sacrifice, and the fact that he is continuing a family tradition. And frankly, DAMN anyone who derides his efforts.

Well Cur since you asked

This response submitted by Cecil on 12/1/04 at 12:16 AM. ( )

Yes, I have been in the military. No, I haven't been in a war as Desert Storm ended just before my unit was to be deployed.

I've also been all over the world as military dependent, and both my parents have been in wars. My dad is a retired Green Beret that served in Vietnam and Cambodia. If you want to play the military linage game one of my ancestors was a Patriot in Revolutionary War.

I to have a relative in Iraq. He's my nephew that I personaly raised and is with the 1st Cav. He received a Purple Heart a few weeks ago and was back on the line in Falujah recently. He tells me we don't know half of what is going on there as there is no press around in the worst areas as in Sadr City where he was before Falujah. That fits right in line with the post.

So you're saying if I question if we are being misled, and have doubts about why we are there, I automatically don't support our troops? I expect more out of you Cur.

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
- President Thomas Jefferson


This response submitted by cur on 12/1/04 at 1:36 AM. ( )

Well, I personally believe the military to be an entity unto self......else why would we have been successful in Bosnia under the leadership of a cigar flicker?

That old saw accredited to Thomas Jefferson does not exist in any of the biographies I have read, nor could I ever source it in the National Archives. No matter which website I have ever searched, save liberal zones, has ever returned an answer when I searched that quote. It is doubtlessly been re-worded and tailored to fit a bumper sticker.

Now that you mention Thomas Jefferson, let me say that while I admire the man, much of what was attributed to him has been taken out of the proper context, depending on author and leanings.

Jefferson is often quoted as being an aetheist, but he was not. He was quoted as saying that is personal beliefs were his own business, and that to challenge God's existence would be to rebuke the reasoning ability entrusted to us by the almighty. but he countlessly references, "The Great Creator, The Lord God Eternal, and the God of Man".

Jefferson's quotes have been compiled by a number of researchers. Here are a few:

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." --Thomas Jefferson

"It accords with our principles to acknowledge any government to be rightful which is formed by the will of the nation substantially declared."

"The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism." --Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1817

"The measures of the fair majority... ought always to be respected." --Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1792.

"I subscribe to the principle, that the will of the majority honestly expressed should give law." --Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793.

"All... being equally free, no one has a right to say what shall be law for the others. Our way is to put these questions to the vote, and to consider that as law for which the majority votes." --Thomas Jefferson: Address to the Cherokee Nation, 1809.

"[We acknowledge] the principle that the majority must give the law." --Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, 1788. ME 7:28

"This... [is] a country where the will of the majority is the law, and ought to be the law." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786.

"Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.VIII, 1782.

"The fundamental principle of [a common government of associated States] is that the will of the majority is to prevail." --Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 1809.

"The voice of the majority decides. For the lex majoris partis is the law of all councils, elections, etc., where not otherwise expressly provided." --Thomas Jefferson: Parliamentary Manual, 1800.

"It is the multitude which possess force, and wisdom must yield to that." --Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816.

"I fear [political difference] is inseparable from the different constitutions of the human mind and that degree of freedom which permits unrestrained expression. Political dissention is doubtless a less evil than the lethargy of despotism, but still it is a great evil, and it would be as worthy the efforts of the patriot as of the philosopher, to exclude its influence, if possible, from social life. The good are rare enough at best. There is no reason to subdivide them by artificial lines. But whether we shall ever be able so far to perfect the principles of society, as that political opinions shall, in its intercourse, be as inoffensive as those of philosophy, mechanics, or any other, may be well doubted." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Pinckney, 1797.

"I hope... the good sense and patriotism of the friends of free government of every shade will spare us the painful, the deplorable spectacle of brethren sacrificing to small passions the great, the immortal and immutable rights of men." --Thomas Jefferson to John Dickinson, 1801.

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants, they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

I especially like Jefferson's views on Republican Government which established that he believed that the will of the plurality was sufficient to dictate the law of the land. In a nutshell, he said that when the majority decides by vote, it is the responsibility of each citizen to respect that least until the next election.

Jefferson was one of the founders of the revolution. No doubt that he felt that dissention was just and honorable, and a patriotic duty........but after all, he was talking about kicking Britain's arse out of this nation, not kicking an elected president in the rump.

You don't like Bush? Fine, but he was elected to office by a majority of voters..........Grab an Oar.

I knew it

This response submitted by Hogger on 12/1/04 at 4:28 AM. ( )

I saw the title of the post and figured it was Cecil. But I had to check anyway. Sure enough! I didn't read the post for 2 reasons. Too long winded and sure to be filled with bull crapola.

Cecil Has

This response submitted by Tony Finazzo on 12/1/04 at 10:52 AM. ( )

Leaned so far to the left. He should move to China. Canada might be a good place for your socialist opinions. They would welcome you with open arms. Cecil you should just try to be American sometime, instead of critical of the war and everything American. I have a suggestion, There is a critical shortage of liberal reporters in Iraq. They can't seem to keep their heads about them. Why don't you go over and do some unbiased reporting. That way we can get the unslanted news from you, about whats really going on in Iraq. What do ya think Cecil? This would be much more honest than constntly quoting liberal reporters that aren't even there.

Maybe we can all pitch in to send him !

This response submitted by b bishop/ Republican on 12/1/04 at 1:32 PM. ( )

one way of course ! LMAO !

the war should be critsized

This response submitted by Fang on 12/1/04 at 1:33 PM. ( )

although now it wont help much. we're in a steep slide that can't be stopped^ troops are trained in urban warfare the reserves trained as prison guards^ then returned to USA to stop any insurgancy at home when people realise they were duped and are backed in a corner^ too much disney. merry x-mas.

Cecil, you and Fang related?

This response submitted by George on 12/1/04 at 2:06 PM. ( )

You both have about as much perspective as a blind gopher in the sunshine. And you never WERE in the military, you were in the Guard. Big difference unless activated. Ask some of them if you doubt me.

I can't believe you'd stoop to quoting Newsweek. I just cancelled my subscription after 25 years because they've now replaced Time as the most liberal rag on the newstands. It would be nice, regardless of the source, to find some OBJECTIVE journalism. You and Fang eat that crap up I know, but the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS don't. (Remember November 2?) Newsweek still thinks Gore won the 2000 election and Al Quaida has nothing to do with Iraq. Only a liberal would think that a Jordanian Muslim wouldn't be "brothers" to an Iraqi Muslim.

And you keep sniveling about Vietnam when you have nothing but hearsay to go on. None of us who actually WERE THERE ever lost any damned war. Snot noses, hippies and academics make that false claim without having a single clue about it. Just like the Civil War, you're so full of revisionists history that you actually believe that sh1t.

Ah Yes Par for the course

This response submitted by Cecil on 12/1/04 at 5:43 PM. ( )

You guys are encouragable! LOL

Nice piece on Jefferson Cur. About as long winded as my post but hey we all get on our soap boxes sometimes. George no comment.

Thanks for being easy on me this time guys! This was mild compared to pre-election days!


This response submitted by George on 12/1/04 at 11:36 PM. ( )

Cecil, please let me send you a dictionary. Did you mean "incorrigible"?


This response submitted by DaveT on 12/2/04 at 1:09 AM. ( )

Why do you insist on showing the world how ignorant you are?


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