BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
FOLLOWING CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O'S NOT-SO-BIG SPEECH TONIGHT (IT'S ALREADY BEEN DUBBED "VACUOUS"), THESE REPORTERS WERE INVITED BY THE WHITE HOUSE TO SPEND A FEW MINUTES WITH BARRY.
BARRY O GREETED US WARMLY SAYING, "I WANT TO THANK THE CREW AND MY MAKE UP AND HAIR TEAM. I REALLY WOULDN'T BE ANYTHING WITHOUT THEM. I WANT TO THANK MY DIRECTOR --"
THESE REPORTERS CUT HIM OFF AND EXPLAINED HE HADN'T WON AN OSCAR BUT THAT WE DID HAVE AN AWARD FOR HIM.
WE UNVEILED A LIFE SIZE BUST OF . . . GEORGE W. BUSH'S ASS OR FACE -- WHAT'S THE DIFF? WE TOLD HIM IT WAS THE DUMB ASS AWARD AND THAT HE EARNED IT BECAUSE AT A TIME WHEN AMERICANS ARE SUFFERING RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT AND MANY OF THOSE WORKING WORRY ABOUT BILLS AND LOSING THEIR JOBS, BARACK PROPOSES FINES FOR THOSE WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE.
BARRY O STROKED THE GOLD PLATED STATUE, WIPED AWAY A TEAR AND GUSHED, "I WANT TO START BY THINKING HAIR AND MAKE UP . . ."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
In an interview with Al Jazeera's Abderrahim Foukara (click here for DoD transcript), US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made one of those jaw dropping statements that leaves a nation stunned . . . if they hear it. (Al Jazeera started airing the interview this week.) Speaking of what he hopes the US will accomplish in Afghanistan, Gates declared, "So in a way it's somewhat comparable to the situation in Iraq, where we have -- where our role has become less and less prominent, where the Iraqis have taken a more and more prominent role in protecting their own security. And I think that's how we will measure -- be able to measure -- one way we will be able to measure success in Afghanistan is as we see the Afghan security forces taking a more and more pominent and leading role in protecting their own security." For those who missed it, the new 'secure' Iraq was a myth and even the press had to face that fact as violence began it's slow climb back up starting in February to the point that August saw more deaths than any month in the last 13. Yesterday NPR's Peter Kenyon (Morning Edition -- link has text and audio, transcript below is from audio) examined one section of Baghdad, a region that had seen tremendous 'success' and 'progress.'
Peter Kenyon: This is Antar Square, a well-known spot in Adahmiya. During Saddam Hussein's time, Sunnis lived here and Shiites were actively discouraged from moving there. After 3002, Adhamiya was, like many Baghdad neighborhoods, wracked by sectarian violence. In 2007, miles of concrete blast walls encircled the neighborhood. Sunni "Awakening" forces, armed men recruited and paid by the U.S. military, shouldered their guns and manned checkpoints. The Iraqi army and police improved their capabilities, and slowly the situation improved. By the spring of this year, investors held their breath and plunged into the neighborhood. [, , , notes progress in shopping back in May via Sheik Abdel-Qader a-] Dulami said he was seeing close to 1,000 people a day visit the mall showing that Iraqis were starved for signs of normal life. [. . .] A scant three months later, Sheik Dulaimi's 'Flower of Baghdad' is once again the scene of deadly explosions and a terrorized population. The Iraqi army has resumed raiding house, provoking cries of abuse from families who complain of heavy-handed tactics. That in turn, prompted the army to close the neighborhood down even tighter. A return visit to the Adhamiya Mall this month found it almost completely deserted.
Robert Gates blathers, "So in a way it's somewhat comparable to the situation in Iraq, where we have -- where our role has become less and less prominent, where the Iraqis have taken a more and more prominent role in protecting their own security." And does so at a time when Iraq is rocked by violence. Robert Gates defines that as the measurement for the other illegal war (Afghanistan) and the response across the US should be stunned disbelief. But they'd have to hear about that statement to be appalled. They'd have to know about it.
If the news media ever feels like exploring it, they might also want to explain that this 'strategy' is George W. Bush's. It's the same thing he 'preached' year after year, finally turning it into a soundbye: "As they stand up, we'll stand down." Didn't the United States hold a presidential election in 2008? Don't seem to remember George W. Bush's name on the ballot. So the White House changed but the policies didn't. Hmm.
Gates on to repeat the official line (you really don't think the press comes up with them on their own, do you? No, they interview the military which is assigned the buzz words and the press thinks they discovered something) of: It's still a success because we haven't seen a return of the sectarian war. That would be the civil war and it would be a bit hard for it to 'return' when one of the results of it was futher segregation of Baghdad neighborhoods. But noting that requires critical thinking and apparently stenography saps you of that ability.
Interestingly, the top US commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, doesn't appear to be on the exact same page as Gates. While Gates does cart wheels over the lack of a sectarian war, Odierno told Joint Forces Quarterly (PDF format warning, click here). , "Iraqis are still dealing with lingering ethnosectarian histories, Arab-Kurd tensions, and violent extremist groups such as al Qaeda and other external actors who seek to exploit any fissures. The Iraqis are still deterrmining the nature of their federal state and the balance of powers between the central and provincial govenrments. [. . .] I see Arab-Kurd tensions as the greatest single driver of instability in Iraq -- and it does complicate the security situation in the north to an extent. While our combined operations have degraded al Qaeda, there is still a presence in the north, and those cells work to exploit tensions between the ISF and the Kurdish peshmerga and police forces." That's not Sunni and Shia. And that's an area Robert Gates didn't cover. Back to the interview:
Abderrahim Foukara: And after you leave, my understanding is that President Obama pledged that the United States will not build any permanent military bases in Iraq. Is that pledge -- does that pledge still stand?
Robert Gates: Absolutely.
Abderrahim Foukara: Now how do you define permanent? Because bases in Germany, they've been there for about 60 years now, in Korea for a similar period of time. How do you define permanent? How do you define temporary?
Robert Gates: Temporary is based on the fact that anothe rpart of this agreement is that all US forces will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. That is the agreement that we have with the Iraqi government. All US forces. No bases. No forces. That's the --
Abderrahim Foukara: Unless the Iraqis ask you to stay longer.
Robert Gates: Unless there is some new agreement or some new negotiation, which would clearly be on Iraqi terms. But we will not have any permanent bases in Iraq. We have no interest in permanet bases in Iraq. And we are now planning on withdrawing all American military forces by the end of 2011.
Yes, the war could be extended. It's a shame US news consumers need Al Jazeera to know that. Continue. It's not over. A few weeks ago, Jari (The Stupidest Man on Earth) highlighted the International Committee of the Red Cross' statment:
Despite the common perception that the armed conflict in Iraq is largely over, widespread violence and a lack of respect for human life continue to affect the Iraqi people. Civilians are the primary victims.
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