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Trying to Be Happy About Iraq

Reported by Judy - September 24, 2004 -

Fox News is known for trying to put the best face on what happens in Iraq, but today (Sept. 24) the network had to try really hard to dress up that disaster to make it look presentable.

Fox and Friends co-hosts spent quite a bit of time on Iraq, using PM Allawi's visit and John Kerry's comments on the war from yesterday as their news peg.

First off, right-wing radio talk show host Mike Gallagher claimed that the U.S. "did a great and noble thing" in Iraq and that we knew from the beginning that it was "never going to be easy." Oh yeah? What about administration forecasts that the U.S. would be greeted as liberators, that Iraqi oil would pay the freight for the war and the occupation?

Then Lauren Green announced that a special task force is now looking for Zarqawi. If that's news, things are really bad. A special task force should have been looking for Zarqawi for months. Wonder if that's the same special task force that used to be looking for Osama bin Laden? Maybe it's the same one that was looking for WMD. They should have plenty of free time now.

Co-host Steve Doocy made much of the fact that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle gave Allawi a standing ovation during his address to Congress, taking that as a sign that Democrats in Congress disagree with Kerry's position that Iraq is a disaster. (Note to Doocy: Next time, mention if McCain gave him a standing ovation so we can tell if Republicans agree with Bush's position on Iraq.) Twice in one hour, Doocy said Kerry as much as called Allawi a liar for disagreeing with the U.S. puppet on how well things are going in Iraq.

Bush's Friends next brought in Dennis Ross, a former ambassador with experience in the Middle East and a Fox News analyst. Ross failed to play the lap dog role expected of Fox News analysts. Instead he said he has doubts about whether the U.S. is on the right track in Iraq and that there are a number of trends that alarm him: the increase in the number of attacks, the sophistication of the insurgency, and the increased influence of al Sadr. His solution was to start holding elections right now in the 14 of 18 Iraqi provinces that are "safe" so that the insurgents will be seen as the enemy of elections rather than of Americans. Could this be a trial balloon? Coming a day after Donald Rumsfeld told Congress that parts of Iraq may be too dangerous to hold elections in January, the timing is certainly suspicious.

Next, Bush's friends interviewed Newt Gingrich, who accused John Kerry of undermining Iraq by criticizing U.S. policy in the war. He claimed it was the same way Kerry undermined South Vietnam 30 years ago by meeting with some North Vietnamese in Paris. If South Vietnam could be undermined by a lieutenant on his honeymoon getting a briefing while in Paris, South Vietnam must already have been a lost cause. One lieutenant stronger than half a million troops on the ground? Wow.

After Gingrich, Bush's Friends went to a break with video of a car burning in Iraq. Noting that video, Kilmeade quickly said, "But there are 15 other provinces where it is perfectly safe."

Next, Bush's Friends brought out Dan Senor, described as an "expert" on Iraq. Senor was the spokesman for the U.S. coalition in Iraq, the guy they put in front of the cameras and do the dirty work of talking to the press for his bosses.
This makes him an expert? Senor said that an Iraqi intelligence service has now been formed to procure intelligence for U.S. airstrikes. Brilliant! Why didn't somebody think of that 18 months ago? Senor also was so happy that Allawi thanked Americans for "liberating" Iraq because Americans don't realize how thankful Iraqis really are. Well, I don't know about you, but I'm still waiting for that parade where they greet our troops with bouquets of flowers instead of mortar rounds.

Fox and Friends closed with an interview with a U.S. Army Reservist who received seven medals plus Purple Hearts, for his service in Iraq. Capt. John Smathers began by calling a Purple Heart "something that no soldier tries to get." Oops. Smathers also was glad to hear that Allawi thanked the American people.

Forgive me for being cynical, but the Iraqis don't look very grateful to me. I'm sure Allawi is grateful for the new job Bush gave him and all the bodyguards that insulate him from the chaos in his country, and probably for the free trip to the U.S. right before the election. But there appear to be a whole lot of Iraqis too busy shooting to write out their thank-you notes.