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FOX News' New Slogan Should Be: "We DISTORT. You've Been HAD"

Reported by Marie Therese - August 12, 2007 -

Guest blogged by BILL CORCORAN

FOX News has many slogans, but one of the most misleading is "We Report, You Decide." Here's a new slogan much more in keeping with the FOX News approach to covering the Iraq war: "We DISTORT. You've been HAD." The goal of this guest blog is to bring News Hounds readers a sampling of stories about the war in Iraq that FOX News has either distorted or neglected altogether. As we count down the days to the much anticipated appearance of General David Petraeus before Congress on September 15th, FOX's obfuscation of the truth will become even more obvious. Here, then, is just a sampling of some of the "war stories" FOX News minimized or overlooked last week in their ongoing effort to present the Bush administration side of the story.

Administration Fights Dem Plan to Boost School Aid for Vets

The Blotter

The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official's comments last week.

Senate Democrats, led by Virginia's Jim Webb, want the government to pay every penny of veterans' educational costs, from tuition at a public university to books, housing and a monthly stipend.

Such a benefit was a major feature of the historic 1944 G.I. Bill, which put more than eight million U.S. soldiers through college and is now credited by historians as fueling the expansion of America's middle class in the post-war era.

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Britain Will Take Troops out of Iraq Regardless of US, Says PM

Belfast Telegraph

Gordon Brown has paved the way for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq by telling George Bush he would not delay their exit in order to show unity with the United States.

After four hours of one-to-one talks with the US President at his Camp David retreat, Mr Brown told a joint press conference he would make a Commons statement in October on the future of the 5,500 British troops in the Basra region.

The Bush administration, under mounting domestic pressure to produce an exit strategy from Iraq, has been nervous that a full British withdrawal would add to the criticism. But Mr Brown made clear - and President Bush accepted - that Britain would go its own way, even if that gave the impression the two countries were diverging.

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Labor Dept: 1,001 contractors have died in Iraq

Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON — More than 1,000 civilian contractors have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion more than four years ago, according to Labor Department records made available Tuesday.

In response to a request from Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., the Labor Department revealed that 1,001 civilian contractors had died in Iraq as of June 30, including 84 during the second quarter of the year.

So far in 2007, at least 231 contractors working for U.S. firms have died in Iraq.

Those contractor fatalities are in addition to the 3,668 military personnel the Defense Department had confirmed dead in Iraq from the start of the war in March 2003 until today.

"We are not getting the full picture" of the cost of the war in Iraq, Schakowsky said

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Army Deployment's Toll on Children Studied

Child abuse and neglect - overwhelmingly by female spouses left at home - increase when one parent goes to war, researchers say.

The stress of having an Army spouse in a combat zone leads to a 60% increase in the rate of moderate to severe maltreatment of children by the spouse left behind, researchers said Tuesday.

The researchers found that the increased abuse and neglect was overwhelmingly committed by female spouses. They found no significant increase by male spouses left behind, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

The maltreatment could have long-term consequences because abused children are more likely to suffer from depression and other health problems well into adulthood, the North Carolina researchers said.

Parental stress is one of the most common causes of such maltreatment, which includes neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the team said, adding that deployment of a spouse to a combat zone is likely to increase stress substantially.

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U.S. Military Plays "Rent-a-Cop" with Former Insurgents

U.S. commanders are offering large sums to enlist, at breakneck pace, their former enemies, handing them broad security powers in a risky effort to tame this fractious area south of Baghdad in Babil province and, literally, buy time for national reconciliation.

American generals insist they are not creating militias. In contracts with the U.S. military, the sheiks are referred to as "security contractors." Each of their "guards" will receive 70 percent of an Iraqi policeman's salary. U.S. commanders call them "concerned citizens," evoking suburban neighborhood watch groups.

But interviews with ground commanders and tribal leaders offer a window into how the United States is financing a new constellation of mostly Sunni armed groups with murky allegiances and shady pasts.

"It's like rent-a-cop," said Maj. Rick Williams, a Tulsa native who is a liaison to tribal leaders in the region.

The goal is to mimic the successes unfolding in the Sunni heartland of Anbar, where U.S-backed sheiks have fought al-Qaeda in Iraq for months. There, insurgent attacks have dropped dramatically.

But in this patch of north Babil province, colored in green hues and crisscrossed with irrigation canals, marshes and fish farms, the tribal and sectarian landscape is more complex than in Anbar, which is homogenously Sunni. Babil's battle lines blur easily.

Hundreds of local Sunni tribesmen have aligned themselves with al-Qaeda in Iraq or other Sunni insurgent groups, such as the Islamic Army. Shiite tribes are weak because loyalties to clerics are stronger than allegiances to sheiks.

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'Untouchable' corruption in Iraq ministries - Report partially faults PM's office, says health ministry in 'grip' of militants

Story filed by Lisa Myers & the NBC News Investigative Unit, MSNBC.com

Supplies and medicine in strife-torn Baghdad's overcrowded hospitals have been siphoned off and sold elsewhere for profit because of "untouchable" corruption in the Iraqi Ministry of Health, according to a draft U.S. government report obtained by NBC News.

The report, written by U.S. advisers to Iraq's anti-corruption agency, analyzes corruption in 12 ministries and finds devastating and grim problems. "Corruption protected by senior members of the Iraqi government remains untouchable," the report sad.

One potential problem is in the office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, according to the report.

The report said that "the prime minister's office has on a number of occasions intervened on cases involving political supporters."

An al-Maliki adviser acknowledged to NBC that the problem of corruption in Iraq is "huge," but denied that al-Maliki's office has intervened in investigations. He said the prime minister is working hard to minimize the problem.

The draft report obtained by NBC said the Iraqi Ministry of Health, which oversees the country's hospitals, is in the "grip" of the Mahdi Army, the anti-American militia run by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

"Contract fraud and employee theft of medicines, food, vehicles are viewed by investigators as the greatest problems," the report said, adding that "military sources have reported that the Mehdi Army [sic] finances operations from diverted medicines."

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Iran to Iraq: U.S. should withdraw - Departure of troops would help bring an end to violence, official says

MSNBC.com

TEHRAN, Iran - An end to violence in Iraq depends on the United States withdrawing its troops, Iran told Iraq's prime minister on Thursday, seeking to deflect the blame for bloodshed that Washington directs at Tehran.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, facing deepening political woes at home and U.S. criticism for lack of progress in bridging sectarian divisions, won pledges of support from Shiite Iran during a visit to Tehran.

With Shiite Muslims now in power also in Baghdad, ties between the two oil-rich countries have improved since U.S.-led forces in 2003 toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Arab who waged an eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.

But the U.S. military accuses the Islamic Republic of arming and training militias behind some of the violence threatening to tear Iraq apart. Iran rejects the charge and blames the presence of U.S. forces, now numbering about 162,000, for the bloodshed.

Baghdad has urged both countries to negotiate and not fight out their differences on Iraqi soil.

"We regard Iraq's security as our own security and that of the region," Iranian First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi told Maliki as he was leaving Tehran, the IRNA news agency said.

"Establishment of stability and calm in Iraq depends on ... the withdrawal of the occupying forces and an end to their interferences in Iraq and also on the authority of the government of Mr Maliki," Davoudi said.

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ANOTHER WEEK OF FLAG-DRAPED COFFINS

The past week was another devastating week for U.S. forces in Iraq. As we approached deadline time for this guest blog, a total of 26 young Americans have lost their lives in Iraq in this past week alone. FOX News goes out of their way to avoid reporting on the deaths of young Americans and the Bush administration will not allow any pictures to be taken of the flag-draped coffins returning to Dover, AFB.

Here is just a small rundown on the loss of American lives in Iraq this past week:

PEACEFUL ANBAR PROVINCE ISN'T SO PEACEFUL ANYMORE - THREE GIS KILLED IN ANBAR PROVINCE

U.S. military: 3 American soldiers killed in fighting in Anbar province

International Herald Tribune

BAGHDAD: Three U.S. soldiers were killed in fighting west of Baghdad, the military said Monday.

The soldiers assigned to Multi-National Force — West died Thursday while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, according to a brief statement.

According to FOX News and the Bush administration Anbar Province was supposed to be calm and peaceful.

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Four soldiers killed in Diyala province explosion

International Herald Tribune

BAGHDAD: Four U.S. soldiers died Monday from wounds suffered in a combat explosion in restive Diyala province north of Baghdad, the American military reported. Twelve others had minor injuries and returned to duty.

The military statement announcing the deaths gave no other details and said identities of the victims were withheld until family could be notified.

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US troop levels in Iraq reach all-time high

Yahoo! Singapore News

WASHINGTON (AFP) - - US troop levels in Iraq have hit an all-time high with overlapping unit rotations pushing the total number up to nearly 162,000, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the previous high in the more than four-year-old war was about 161,000 troops in January 2005 when national elections were held for the first time.

But Whitman, who put the current number of US troops at "nearly 162,000," said the latest hike was not a move to further beef up the "surge" force that has been deployed to Iraq over the course of the year to halt a slide toward civil war.

Summary

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that FOX News is tweaking the facts about Iraq in order to create a favorable environment for Gen. David Petaeus' September 15th report to Congress.

The closer the mid-September deadline looms, the more we can expect to see FOX News going all-out to provide their viewers with hyped up stories illustrating that things are getting better in Iraq. FOX News is the propaganda machine for the Bush White House and this so-called news channel considers it their duty to distort the facts about the Iraq war in a dual effort to shore up George Bush's flagging approval ratings and to confuse their viewers about the exact status of the political and military situation in Iraq.

Remember our new FOX News slogan:

"We DISTORT. You've Been HAD."

POSTSCRIPT: A Note from the Home Front

Last Saturday I was standing and talking to a group of guys outside the Pilgrim Faith United Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois when I noticed one of the men was wearing a "Marine" T-shirt.

I asked him if he had been in the Marines and he told he had been, and that his son is now on his second tour with the Marines and stationed in Iraq.

Naturally, I wanted to know what his son thought about the war. He told me his son says "our job is done here." He went on to say his son says all the Marines in his unit feel the same way.

So whatever comes out of the General David Petraeus report to Congress on September 15th, he is not speaking for a vast majority of men under his command in Iraq, especially if he claims they need more time.

I asked the father of the U.S. Marine if his son has been told to say they believe in the mission if confronted by the press or a visiting politician. "Of course they have to say they believe in the mission," the father of the Marine said. "It is either that or face demotion or be assigned to some unit sweeping a town or village looking for insurgents, Al Qaeda and weapons."

The American people are not getting the true story of what the Marines think about the mission in Iraq.

Bill Corcoran