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More Happy Iraq talk from Geraldo Rivera, on FOX and Friends

Reported by Chrish - November 29, 2007 -

Geraldo Rivera reported from Camp Liberty in Iraq this morning 11/29/07 to the FOX Friends that things are going well in Iraq, the surge is working, we're winning. Steve Doocy introduced the segment saying the "surge" has resulted in "a return to something closer to normal life for some Baghdad residents."

Rivera first shared the screen with footage of two soldiers shooting (neither was wearing headgear, which I thought was strange) while narrating how dangerous a neighborhood was last January, then switched to presumably current footage of the same area where now the biggest headache is "epic traffic jams." (Comment: the intersection did not appear to be regulated by traffic signals, which would be a meaningless gesture in a city with spotty electricity.)

Geraldo told viewers that everyone in that neighborhood seems to be working, all 250,000 of them - working on roads, sewers, and buildings (comment: reconstructing that which was destroyed). But Colonel Bryan Patrick, who is spearheading the reconstruction, said "The contractors hire most of their workers from the local area and, as a result, there are over 2,500 Karkh citizens recently employed," a not immaterial discrepancy.

Rivera and crew went, with Colonel Roberts, to the once-legendary Allawi Market, which for the last four years was a ghost-town. It's now thriving - look at it now, said Geraldo: green grocers, huge crowds, furniture makers, restaurants... where people feared to tread, now everybody is out on the street. Meanwhile the footage showed one vendor dealing with one customer, and several meat carcasses hanging and being butchered. We saw a dozen or so women in burqas shopping, then a dozen boys (students? boys only) passing through gates, and Geraldo in a zoo pen with a soldier and a cheetah (which appeared to be unconscious). Yikes! The upbeat report with this visual background was disconcerting.

The hosts in the studio yeahed and uh-huhed him through the report and then could only allow him ten seconds to introduce the Colonel.

Rivera got right to the point and asked "Colonel, are we winning this battle?" "Yes, we are, Geraldo, as indicated by not only the statistics but by the visual signs of change. The things that you saw out there happen every day." Geraldo wrapped it up, repeating "They happen every day - it's true, don't let 'them' tell you otherwise! We're winning."

No one is disputing that those improvements are being done, and everyone is relieved to finally see the death toll numbers coming down (although 2007 has been the deadliest yet for US forces). But there are other perspectives and other meaasures of success that are not so shiny and FOX adamantly refuses to report them, and attacks those outlets who do as Bush-hating, terrorist-enabling traitors.

Some things you won't see on FOX:
Is The 'Surge' Working? Some New Facts
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation

There is a paucity of facts about the effects of the recent military Surge on conditions in Iraq and whether it is paving the way for a stable Iraq. Selective, anecdotal and incomplete analyses abound. Policy makers and defense planners must decide which measures of success or failure are most important, but until now few, if any, systematic analyses were available on which to base those decisions. This paper applies modern statistical techniques to a new data file derived from more than a dozen of the most reliable and widely-cited sources to assess the Surge's impact on three key dimensions: the functioning of the Iraqi state (including civilian casualties); military casualties; and financial markets' assessment of Iraq's future. The new and unusually rigorous findings presented here should help inform current evaluations of the Surge and provide a basis for better decision making about future strategy.

The analysis reveals mixed evidence on the Surge's effect on key trends in Iraq. The security situation has improved insofar as civilian fatalities have declined without any concurrent increase in casualties among coalition and Iraqi troops. However, other areas, such as oil production and the number of trained Iraqi Security Forces have shown no improvement or declined. Evaluating such conflicting indicators is challenging.

There is, however, another way to assess the Surge. This paper shows how data from world financial markets can be used to shed light on the central question of whether the Surge has increased or diminished the prospect of today's Iraq surviving into the future. In particular, I examine the price of Iraqi state bonds, which the Iraqi government is currently servicing, on world financial markets. After the Surge, there is a sharp decline in the price of those bonds, relative to alternative bonds. The decline signaled a 40% increase in the market's expectation that Iraq will default. This finding suggests that to date the Surge is failing to pave the way toward a stable Iraq and may in fact be undermining it.

Seven Questions: Is the Surge Working in Iraq?

Toby Dodge, one of the world’s foremost experts on modern-day Iraq, has been visiting the country regularly since 2003. FP recently sat down with a deeply pessimistic Dodge to get his take on U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, the surge, and the Biden-Gelb plan for partitioning Iraq.

Iraqis' Own Surge Assessment: Few See Security Gains

Barely a quarter of Iraqis say their security has improved in the past six months, a negative assessment of the surge in U.S. forces that reflects worsening public attitudes across a range of measures, even as authorities report some progress curtailing violence.

Just a few voices of reason, compared to FOX's relentlessly Happy Iraq reporting.