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At Tail End Of Happy Iraq Report Devoted To Surge Success, Geraldo Admits It May Not Last

Reported by Ellen - November 29, 2007 -

I’d trust FOX News’ coverage of the Iraq war a lot more if they weren’t so spotty about discussing it. After months of little or no news about Iraq on Hannity & Colmes, Geraldo Rivera suddenly began transmitting glowing reports from Baghdad about how well the surge is going there. He was back on Hannity & Colmes last night (11/28/07) with another Happy Iraq report that was almost indistinguishable from the one the night before. It wasn’t until the very end of the segment, and only in response to a question from Alan Colmes, that Rivera admitted the peace may not last once the surge ends. With video

Rivera was theatrically upbeat about all the good news he found in Baghdad. He raved about “Epic traffic jams... Everybody is working on something... They’ve got a hundred million US dollars” for rebuilding. Funny how he never pointed out what a hundred million dollars might do for public works here at home. He showed footage of markets, a carnival, a zoo and boasted about a maternity hospital opening up in a former sniper nest of Al Qaeda operatives. “Where once they dealt death, will be dedicated to life,” he said melodramatically.

With his characteristically purple prose, Rivera asked Colonel Bryan Roberts, “Can it be said, dare I say, are we winning the battle of Baghdad?”

Naturally, the colonel thought so.

“Where did Al Qaeda go?” Rivera asked. “Where are all of these savage fighters?”

Roberts answered that many have simply left the country.

Wait a minute! I thought we were fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here. So where did those Al Qaeda go and what are they up to now? Roberts didn’t say and Rivera didn’t ask.

Also neither asked nor answered was what life is like outside of Baghdad. For example, Anthony Cordesman writes in the Financial Times,

While the US and Iraqi forces have scored gains in Baghdad, and west and central Iraq, these are fragile and need to be consolidated by bringing Arab Sunnis fully back into Iraq as a nation…. Unlike US estimates, Iraqi statistics do not show a drop in the level of violence in the Baghdad area. The United Nations estimates that the number of displaced refugees continues to grow. Moreover, Baghdad is kept secure only by US force. The Shia militias are largely intact. Without political progress and a US military presence, the result could be a forced Shia takeover of the capital.

The coalition security effort has virtually collapsed in the south. Southern Iraq is now under the control of rival Shia factions and the British-led forces have withdrawn. The US lacks the force strength to intervene in the south if it wanted to, and a Shia-dominated central government will never let US forces take on this mission. Iranian gangs and religious extremist influence are growing in every province in the south. These will continue to grow unless a central government emerges that is both strong enough and willing to act. Iraq’s economy can never properly grow unless an area that contains its only port, has a porous border with Iran and produces 80 per cent of its oil export earnings is part of the country and not a Shia enclave.

The surge and tribal uprising have also had no impact on Arab-Kurdish tensions in the north. These were getting worse before the current confrontation between Iraqi Kurds and Turkey and remain serious along the entire ethnic fault line from Mosul to Kirkuk. The risk of some form of Kurdish separatism or partition remains serious. It could also turn Iraq’s landlocked Kurds into an isolated mini-state with hostile powers on every border and turn any form of US protection of Iraq’s Kurds into a strategic liability


(H/T Think Progress)

At the end of the segment, Rivera spoke briefly with Hannity, then Colmes. Colmes asked, “What happens if the American troops come home?”

Rivera admitted, “That’s the thing that bothers me as well… What’s the post-surge life like?” You’d think he might have raised that issue himself sometime over the course of his own two reports.

Col. Roberts replied he’s “fairly confident” that progress will continue.

But Rivera said that he’s not so confident. “I’m not, Alan, as positive as the colonel is.” But he quickly put the concern out of his mind and, presumably, those of the viewers. “All I know is that right now in the surge world, Baghdad is an incredibly safer place than it was.”