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Fox News Defends Rush Limbaugh and Trashes Barack Obama. Afghanistan and Iraq War News Sent to Back Burner.

Reported by Marie Therese - October 7, 2007 -

GUEST BLOGGED BY BILL CORCORAN

This past week FOX News shifted attention away from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the possible war with Iran to bring their viewers a round-the-clock defense of Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh referred to Iraq veterans who oppose the war as "phony soldiers," and launched into an attack on Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama, because Obama no longer wears an American flag lapel pin. The Rush groupies at FOX News brought out their full arsenal of right wing pundits, including acid-tongued Ann Coulter, to vouch for Limbaugh and demonize Obama. Meanwhile, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were left in a cloud of "tabloidization" dust on the FOX News cutting room floor. Their most glaring omission was the growing violence in Afghanistan where the Taliban is reconstituting itself. Afghanistan is the country where most of the U.S. forces should have been concentrating the war on terrorism, but President Bush decided instead to invade Iraq with 170,000 troops in a wild goose chase for non-existent weapons of mass destruction. After that scenario went up in a puff of smoke, Bush & Company flailed around, looking for an alternate rationale for the invasion. They finally settled on "regime change," which means that Iraq's current Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, had better tow the Bush party line or else. (Includes video.)

The invasion of Afghanistan has devolved into our second "Forgotten War." (The Korean War "police action" was the first.)

We have 28,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. They are facing a revitalized Taliban and drug lords who have harvested a bumper crop of poppies that feed the drug habit of 90% of the world's addicts. Despite this, FOX News Channel routinely under-reports or ignores a potpourri of news stories published on their own web site. The disaster in Afghanistan takes a back seat to Rush Limbaugh's insensitive remark aimed at Iraq veterans, and a childish attack on Barack Obama because he removed an American flag pin froim his lapel. (Aside: I still think it is more important to serve UNDER the American flag than WEAR an American flag on my lapel!)

Taliban Accused of Using Children as Human Shields

FOXNews.com

KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S.-led coalition accused the Taliban of using children as human shields during a battle in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, while NATO said it was investigating a shipment of weapons intercepted near the border with Iran this month. The fighting in Uruzgan province began when more than 20 insurgents armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars attacked a joint Afghan and coalition patrol Wednesday morning, the coalition said in a statement.

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Red Cross Negotiators Kidnapped in Afghanistan

FOXNews.com

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two foreigners from the Red Cross who helped free a group of South Korean captives last month have been kidnapped in Afghanistan after talking with militants about the release of a German hostage, officials said Thursday. An Afghan official said the two foreigners from the International Committee of the Red Cross had gone with their two Afghan drivers to Wardak province in central Afghanistan to discuss the German man, who was kidnapped in July.

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Iran 'arming Taliban with roadside bombs'

The Telegraph (UK)

Iran is supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan with the same bomb-making equipment it provides to insurgents in Iraq, according to British military intelligence officers. US Army General Dan McNeill, the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, said that the discovery of more than 50 roadside bombs and timers in lorries crossing the border from Iran last month proves that Iran's Quds Revolutionary Guards are actively supporting the Taliban.

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Afghanistan violence at pinnacle since invasion. More than 5,000 insurgency-related deaths reported in past year alone

MSNBC

KABUL, Afghanistan - Violence in Afghanistan has spiked to its highest level since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, with an Associated Press count of insurgency-related deaths this year surpassing the 5,000 mark and a U.N. report finding that attacks have risen by 20 percent.

A suicide attack Tuesday on a police bus in western Kabul killed 13 officers and civilians, including a woman and her two children who boarded the vehicle seconds before the explosion.

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Opium industry fuels Taliban comeback
Opium industry fuels Taliban comeback

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And while conditions in Afghanistan continue to deteriorate, U.S. National Guard forces returning from Iraq are caught in the middle of a maze of red tape over the benefits they earned and the U.S. has confiscated AP film of a bloody Baghdad bombing.

Troops denied education benefits by 1 day?

The Army Times

Nearly half of the members of one of the longest-serving U.S. military units in Iraq are not eligible for a more generous military educational benefit, with some falling one day short of eligibility. The Army has agreed to review the status of the Minnesota National Guard’s 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division, with an eye toward improving their educational benefits. All 2,600 of the soldiers, who returned this year from Iraq, are eligible for money for school under the GI Bill. But nearly half discovered they weren’t eligible for a more generous package of benefits available to other soldiers.

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U.S. Confiscates AP Footage At Scene of Bloody Baghdad Bombing

Editor & Publisher

(Aside: If you were to watch and listen to FOX News you would get the impression that violence in Iraq has come to a standstill, but that is not true.)

BAGHDAD A daring ambush of bombs and gunfire left Poland's ambassador pinned down in a burning vehicle Wednesday before being pulled to safety and airlifted in a rescue mission by the embattled security firm Blackwater USA. At least three people were killed, including a Polish bodyguard.

American authorities confiscated an AP Television News videotape that contained scenes of the wounded being evacuated. U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl told AP that Iraqi law make it illegal to photograph or videotape the aftermath of bombings or other attacks.

CONCLUDING COMMENTARY

The Middle East continues to be a hotbed of violence and unrest with 200,000 U.S. troops caught in the middle of tribal and sectarian strife. The majority of the population in the United States recognizes the serious nature of conditions in the Middle East. However, last week FOX News donwplayed or ignored these stories and instead opted to defend infotainer Rush Limbaugh, a man who called soldiers opposed to the war in Iraq "phony soldiers" and then ginned up a pathetic attack on Barack Obama for no longer wearing an American flag lapel pin.

Limbaugh, who avoided military service during the Vietnam War because he had an "anal cyst," came under further fire as the week came to a close when Gen. Wesley Clark joined a chorus of voices demanding that Limbaugh's daily radio rant be removed from Armed Forces Radio.

Take Rush Limbaugh Off Armed Forces Radio

Written by Gen. Wesley Clark for The Huffington Post

Last week, Rush Limbaugh labeled any American soldier who supports an end to the war in Iraq as “phony.” We challenged Limbaugh through an email campaign to invite VoteVets.org’s Jon Soltz to his show and repeat these same insults to an Iraq war veteran’s face. Over 10,000 people responded and emailed Rush — but to our disappointment, he has refused to respond to our request. It’s time to put real pressure on Rush Limbaugh. His show is broadcast on Armed Forces Radio, and this time we are going to go straight to the lifeblood of Rush’s show — Congress. Congress has the power to remove Rush Limbaugh from Armed Forces Radio, and it won’t be as easy for elected officials to ignore our call. Tax dollars are used to fund Armed Forces Radio, and that money is not intended for radio show hosts to spout insults at our soldiers. These “phony soldiers” have simply exercised their right to free speech, as Rush Limbaugh does on a daily basis. Simply because a majority of our troops who return from Iraq disagree with Rush on Bush’s failed war policy does not give him the right to dishonor their service.