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FOX News Fails to Tell Its Viewers All That Is Happening in Iraq and Afghanistan

Reported by Marie Therese - December 9, 2007 -

GUEST BLOGGED BY BILL CORCORAN

The FOX News viewer never gets to hear the full truth about the Iraq war. Brit Hume on his FOX News Special Report this week made a token reference to the violence in Northern Iraq and even how the Taliban is regenerating itself in Afghanistan, but Hume conveniently avoided telling Fox News viewers many of the things that have been going on in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Hume even presented a report filed by Jennifer Griffin (see story below with video) that failed to mention the amount of violence in Iraq. FOX News in typical fashion presented a redacted version of the situation this past week. With updated & corrected video.

Capturing the bulk of the headlines was the ongoing controversy over the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) report on Iran. FOX News anchors and pundits kept repeating the White House "talking point" that the NIE report was only an "estimate."

Comment: Strange how Fox News had no trouble believing every word the intelligence community had to say about Iraq's WMD back in 2003 but today they treat information from the same intelligence agencies with skepticism.

What FOX News hasn't told its viewers is that investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Vice President Dick Cheney knew for a year about the NIE report but put his foot on the neck of the report in hopes of drumming up support for going to war with IRAN.

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Earlier this week (December 5th) FOX News' Jennifer Griffin filed a report for Brit Hume's Special Report about the success of the "surge." She noted that Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a surprise visit to Baghdad and was pleased with the military progress there.

However, Griffin didn't mention the following that took place on the very day Gates was in Baghdad.

25 Dead in Iraq Bombings as Gates Visits

Truthout.org

Baghdad - A car bomb exploded in a largely Shiite neighborhood Wednesday, killing at least 16 people, just as Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited the capital and said a secure and stable Iraq was within reach.

It was the deadliest of four bombs in Iraq on Wednesday that killed a total of 25 people. Earlier, a blast went off in the northern city of Mosul, where Gates had landed on his sixth trip to Iraq.

Gunfire and sirens followed the bombing in Baghdad's Karradah neighborhood, and a plume of smoke rose in the sky.

Karradah has frequently been hit by car bombings, but attacks have tapered off in recent months. Cafes, shops and kebab stands have flourished anew in the neighborhood.

Firas Adel, who owns a clothing store about 400 yards from the site of the explosion, said terrified bystanders fled when the bomb went off.

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Here are links to two other web sites which are in stark contrast to Griffin's report:

Iraq Today

China View

The stories contained in these links paint a vivid picture of the ongoing violence in both Iraq and Afghanistan and are a far cry from Griffin's flowery report on FOX News.

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Geraldo Rivera was recently in Iraq and filed several glowing reports from the streets of Baghdad claiming the "surge" has purged the city of insurgents. But like his cohort Jennifer Griffin, Geraldo never mentioned another Iraqi city that isn't a sea of tranquility. Chrish reported on this here.

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Beyond the surge, an Iraqi city suffers

McClatchy.

SAMARRA, Iraq — Cities around Iraq are taking advantage of improved security to rebuild neighborhoods, but here, the ruins of a revered Shiite Muslim shrine bleed seamlessly into the desolation that is this city's downtown.

Samarra shows the limits of the U.S. surge, which has brought a modicum of calm to cities such as Fallujah, Baghdad and Ramadi. No additional troops have been sent here, no Sunni leader is stepping forward to rally his forces against foreign fighters, and there are no promises to rebuild.

The golden-domed al Askariya Mosque, which was destroyed in a February 2006 bombing that brought simmering sectarian violence to a boil, remains closed, engulfed by untouched mountains of rubble.

Blocks of shops around it also are closed, and there are no shoppers, much less religious pilgrims.

Al Qaida in Iraq, the radical Islamist group that's been vanquished in much of the country by an alliance between U.S. troops and Sunni Muslim tribesmen, remains a power to be reckoned with. There's been no surge of U.S. troops and no local leader willing to take on al Qaida. In fact, there are only 700 soldiers to hold this town of 90,000 residents, and the 2,000 Shiite police sent here to help are widely distrusted by the residents.

"The people are waiting to see who is going to win — the coalition forces or the terrorists," said Mahmoud Abbas, the Sunni mayor of Samarra, which is predominantly Sunni. "There is no sheik who will be the leader of Samarra because they are afraid of the foreign fighters. We need the support from the coalition forces the way they supported other areas."

Samarra became synonymous with Iraq's descent into violent sectarian warfare when insurgents entered the mosque in 2006 and placed explosive charges throughout the sanctuary, shattering the mosque's golden dome. This past summer, other bombs toppled the mosque's two remaining minarets.

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And just when FOX News' Geraldo Rivera was telling everyone it was safe for the residents of Baghdad to go about life without the threat of violence, this report surfaced. It somehow slipped past the "green eye shades" of the Fox News editors.

Iraqi insurgents regrouping, says Sunni resistance leader

The Guardian

Iraq's main Sunni-led resistance groups have scaled back their attacks on US forces in Baghdad and parts of Anbar province in a deliberate strategy aimed at regrouping, retraining, and waiting out George Bush's "surge", a key insurgent leader has told the Guardian.

US officials recently reported a 55% drop in attacks across Iraq. One explanation they give is the presence of 30,000 extra US troops deployed this summer. The other is the decision by dozens of Sunni tribal leaders to accept money and weapons from the Americans in return for confronting al-Qaida militants who attack civilians. They call their movement al-Sahwa (the Awakening).

The resistance groups are another factor in the complex equation in Iraq's Sunni areas. "We oppose al-Qaida as well as al-Sahwa," the director of the political department of the 1920 Revolution Brigades told the Guardian in Damascus in a rare interview with a western reporter.

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As the above story indicates, the insurgents are waiting until the U.S. begins pulling troops out of Iraq this summer to resume attacks and so the following story takes on an even deeper and more ominous meaning.

$1B In Military Equipment Missing In Iraq
Exclusive: Report Shows Vehicles, Machine Guns And More Meant For Iraqi Forces Unaccounted For

CBS News

Tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, crates of machine guns and rocket propelled grenades are just a sampling of more than $1 billion in unaccounted for military equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces, according to a new report issued today by the Pentagon Inspector General and obtained exclusively by the CBS News investigative unit. Auditors for the Inspector General reviewed equipment contracts totaling $643 million but could only find an audit trail for $83 million.

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While FOX News is singing the praises of the "surge," and virtually claiming all-out victory in Iraq, here is another story that could have far-reaching ramifications for the out-of-work Iraqi people, already suffering through long stretches without electricity and fresh water.

IRAQ: Government to cut items from its free food handouts

IRIN News

BAGHDAD. From the beginning of 2008 the quantity of national food rations delivered freely to all Iraqi families will be further reduced - from 10 to five items, due to lack of government financial support, Trade Minister Abid Falah al-Soodani said on 3 December.

The food rations’ system, known as the Public Distribution System (PDS), was set up in 1995 as part of the UN’s Oil-for-Food programme after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait 17 years ago. However, it has been crumbling since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 due to insecurity, poor management and corruption.

“Since the government’s financial support will not be available next year, we will reduce the items from 10 to five and the quantities of the remaining items will not be the same as this year and in past years,” al-Soodani told parliament.

“We need US$5-6 billion instead of the US$3.1 billion allocated for the rations’ system in 2008 to cope with the soaring prices of these items on international markets. In addition, there has also been an increase in shipping and transportation costs worldwide and inside Iraq,” al-Soodani said.

Al-Soodani blamed corruption and manpower shortages in his ministry for the malfunctioning of the nationwide rations’ system, the poor quality of items distributed and delays in delivering them. He said his ministry had only 30,000 employees running the rations’ system for 30 million people.

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Seldom does FOX News report on the health problems in Iraq, brought on since the 2003 invasion, which drove out most of the Iraqi doctors and nurses. Medical professionals moved across the border into Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Iraq is in the middle of a cholera epidemic but you would never know it by watching FOX News.

Iraq will suffer from cholera for two years

Reuters

BAGHDAD, (Reuters) - Iraq will continue to suffer from cholera for the next two years until projects for providing sanitised water and a new sewage system are built, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

"Since there is a defect in the infrastructure in providing sanitised water and in sewage, the problem of cholera will stay deep rooted," Adel Abdullah, general inspector in the Health Ministry, told a news conference.

"Within two years there are ambitious projects to provide all Baghdad's districts with sanitised water in sufficient quantities and sewage projects. When these projects are complete, cholera will become history."

Iraq has been hit by a cholera outbreak this year, focused mainly on the north but lately spreading to the capital Baghdad.

Abdullah said 4,637 cases of cholera have been registered in Iraq, mostly in the two cities of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniya in northern Iraq. So far 24 cases have been fatal.

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And then there is IRAN and the case of the NIE report. FOX News guests like to say the National Intelligence Estimate is just that--an "estimate." The war drums have been muffled - somewhat - but the Bush White House and FOX News are scrambling to see how they can again rev up war with IRAN.

A Blow to Bush's Tehran Policy

The Washington Post

President Bush got the world's attention this fall when he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran might lead to World War III. But his stark warning came at least a month or two after he had first been told about fresh indications that Iran had actually halted its nuclear weapons program.

The new intelligence report released earlier this week not only undercut the administration's alarming rhetoric over Iran's nuclear ambitions but could also throttle Bush's effort to ratchet up international sanctions and take off the table the possibility of preemptive military action before the end of his presidency.

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Adding more fuel to the IRAN fire, veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh was interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The two discussed how long Bush and Cheney knew about NIE memo.

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And while IRAN moved to the front burner in the mainstream media this past week, the war in Afghanistan took a decided turn for the worse with the Taliban introducing their own version of "the surge."

Afghanistan asks US for more money, arms

Daily Times

KABUL: Afghanistan’s army chief asked the United States for more security trainers and equipment to fight an insurgency led by Taliban, saying the aid given so far was generous but inadequate.

General Bismillah Khan asked US Defence Secretary Robert Gates to act quickly on delivering needed help. “The biggest problem is we don’t have enough mentors, enough advisers,” Khan told Gates after the two toured the Kabul Military Training Centre. “I need your prompt attention on this matter.”

Arms, mortars: “The US government has been more than generous but our weapons are not adequate,” he told the Pentagon chief through a translator. Khan specifically asked for small arms, mortars and armoured vehicles.

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Suicide attack kills 16 in Kabul as US defence chief leaves: Officials

Google

KABUL (AFP) — A suicide attacker slammed a bomb-filled car into an Afghan army bus in Kabul Wednesday, killing at least 16 people in the second such blast in two days during a visit by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

The extremist Taliban group claimed responsibility for the morning rush-hour bombing, which struck as Gates ended a short trip to Afghanistan and headed for Iraq's main northern city of Mosul on an unannounced visit.

Gates arrived in Iraq's main northern city of Mosul on Wednesday on an unannounced visit, an AFP correspondent travelling with him said.

The bus was reduced to a blackened skeleton of mangled metal, its roof and sides blown out.

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5 Guard units to go to Iraq, Afghanistan

Yahoo News

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon announced earlier this week that five Army National Guard units have been alerted that they are going to serve in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The units include some 8,000 troops going to the Iraq war and 7,000 to Afghanistan, all as replacement units to deploy in the summer of 2009.

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And what about the success of the "surge"?

Is it for real or is it more hype from the Bush administration courtesy of FOX News?

It is important to remember that it was President Bush who said there would be no "military solution" to Iraq, but only a "political solution." And who should get the credit for the downturn in violence in Iraq? FOX News would have you believe it is the United States military, but there are others who give the credit to the Iraqi people who became fed up with all the killings and took matters into their own hands.

Military Success: 10, Political Success: 0

China View

BAGHDAD, With the dropout of a slew of ministers and delay of critical legislations, Iraq's bumpy political process is still on the rocks, which would put the recently improved security into harm's way once more.

As the year is drawing to an end, the Iraqi government admits that rifts on the political front are nowhere near bridged.

"The political process is not like what we have hoped. Steps should be taken to bring the conflicting parties together," government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Nov. 17.

"The relations between the political parties are not good. There is, in fact, lack of trust among them," he said in a straight way.

The hard-wrought constitution and general election could have raised the hope for reconciliation and stability, but an attack against a major Shiite mosque last year dashed the hope after igniting a sweeping sectarian violence across the country.

To help Iraqis carry out their own campaign to put down sectarian violence and insurgency, U.S. President George W. Bush announced in January a troops surge, deploying some 30,000 additional troops in Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces.

Iraq's civilian death toll did plummet nationwide in the last two months as a result of the surge. The official statistics showed that the toll was 2,076 in January but fewer than 800 in October.

Some 39 fatalities in October also marked the lowest monthly death toll for American troops since March 2006, according to media count based on Pentagon figures.

However, the security pickup is generally attributed more to other factors than a thaw of political and sectarian tension.

The U.S. military says that it is the extra troops and hardened push against al-Qaida members and insurgents that really were at work in the achievement.

In addition, some main Sunni insurgent groups have turned their rifles on the al-Qaida network after rifts emerged between them because al-Qaida members have been adopting hardline Islam and exercising indiscriminate killings.

SUMMARY AND CLOSING COMMENT

Have you ever wondered how much the Iraq war is costing the average taxpayer in your city or community? How many important services could be purchased with the money that is going into the Iraq war? As we bring this week's post to a close, here is a story which you can use to calculate how much of taxpayer money from your hometown goes into paying for the war.

Local Cost of the Iraq War

National Priorities

Click on a state to find a list of the cities, towns and counties for which we have calculated the taxpayer cost of proposed spending on the Iraq War in fiscal year 2008. For more information about the cost of the Iraq War, and what to do if you don't find your hometown, click here. To read more about the FY2008 war-related spending request, click here . To find out the taxpayer cost for what Congress has already appropriated, click here.

To find out what Iraq War spending could buy in your state and congressional district if the money were spent on other priorities, go to the NPP Trade-offs page.

Finally, it is good to remember that we won every battle in the ten-year long Vietnam War, but in the end we lost the war.