Squawk! The surge is working...Squawk! McCain was right...Squawk!
Reported by Chrish - September 10, 2008 -
In a segment this morning 9/10/08 designed to position John McCain as right on the "surge" and Barack Obama stubbornly wrong, FOX and Friends aired a snippet of a McCain stump speech asserting so, and concluded "Mc'Cain's right." It was a short segment, not dealing with any facts or details, just the assertions to lead viewers to McCain in the voting booth.
First we need to stop calling it a "surge" - 20-some months out, there's nothing short-term or temporary about it. The Columbia Journalism Review wrote, back in January 2007, "The word has the benefit of seeming active, strong, and quick - a surge is a lightening strike, over and done, the opposite of, say, a quagmire." Around that same time, a CBS poll released found that only 18 percent of Americans supported an escalation of forces in Iraq. However, when asked whether they supported a “short-term troop increase,” the number jumped to 45 percent approval (48 percent disapproval), per ThinkProgress.
Of note, in November 2006 the NYTimes reported that John McCain "argue[d] vigorously for a short-term surge in American forces, " but in January 2007 he wrote "The worst of all worlds would be a small, short surge of U.S. forces." After 20 months and still no exit strategy, can we call it a quagmire again? Or at least an escalation?
Not on FOX. It's the surge, it's working, and John McCain was prescient.
But as Robert Parry reports at Alternet:
"...other brutal factors -- that the Washington press corps almost never mentions -- help explain the decline in violence:
* Vicious ethnic cleansing has succeeded in separating Sunnis and Shiites to such a degree that there are fewer targets to kill. Several million Iraqis are estimated to be refugees either in neighboring countries or within their own.
* Concrete walls built between Sunni and Shiite areas have made "death-squad" raids more difficult but alshave "cantonized" much of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, making everyday life for Iraqis even more exhausting as they seek food or travel to work.
* During the "surge," U.S. forces expanded a policy of rounding up so-called "military age males" and locking up tens of thousands in prison.
* Awesome U.S. firepower, concentrated on Iraqi insurgents and civilian bystanders for more than five years, has slaughtered countless thousands of Iraqis and has intimidated many others to look simply to their own survival.
* With the total Iraqi death toll estimated in the hundreds of thousands and many more Iraqis horribly maimed, the society has been deeply traumatized. As tyrants have learned throughout history, at some point violent repression does work.
But this dark side of the "successful surge" is excluded from the U.S. political debate. As during the pre-invasion period, the Washington press corps acts more like Bush's propagandists than anything close to skeptical journalists.
The only time they get tough in interviews is with Obama, demanding that he get in line with the rest of Washington's conventional wisdom and hail the media's old favorite, John McCain, for his courage and wisdom." [snip]
"The conventional wisdom about the "successful surge" has transformed Campaign 2008, throwing Obama onto the defensive in interview after interview, while virtually no journalist presses McCain about his judgment to make a rapid pivot out of Afghanistan in early 2002 toward Iraq.
Arguably, McCain's advocacy for this premature pivot -- while Afghanistan was still in a fragile state and top al-Qaeda leaders were finding new safe haven in northwest Pakistan -- was the biggest strategic blunder in modern American military history.
It has locked the United States into two open-ended wars with costs likely to soar into the trillions of dollars, while the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorates and nuclear-armed Pakistan slides toward instability.
But the political commentators place none of the blame on John McCain."
Additionally, Bob Woodward's new book asserts that "...Bush's decision in January 2007 to send about 30,000 more troops to Iraq - the so-called "surge" - was not the primary factor behind the steep drop in violence. The article identifies four factors that together reduced the violence: covert operations, the military buildup, anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's decision to rein in his Mahdi Army, and the "Anbar Awakening" in which Sunnis joined Americans in fighting al-Qaida in Anbar province in western Iraq." The White House denies Woodward's contentions.
As Obama recognizes, the violence in Iraq is down considerably. What most fail to note is the concurrent increase in violence and deaths in Afghanistan. We're nowhere near out of the woods, and if John McCain gets his way there's no end in sight. But don't count on fairandbalanced to tell you anything but what the Republican Party wants you to hear.
Note that the suggestion by Senator Joe Biden, Obama's running mate, that Iraq be divided into three regions, scorned by Friends, was reportedly widely supported in the Senate
"The nonbinding measure sponsored by Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) – which supports a “federal system” that would divide Iraq into sectarian-dominated regions – won unusually broad bipartisan support, passing 75 to 23.
It attracted 26 Republicans, 47 Democrats and both independents."
and by scholars.
Also note how SHORT this segment is - it's all the attention Iraq gets these days on FOX. They're too busy making mountains out of molehills and spinning Obama.