Saturday, 24 February 2007

SURGE PROTECTION

Ken Berwitz

Have you noticed that the nonstop, breathless assault on President Bush's decision to put a "surge" of troops into Baghdad, followed by congress' breathless, nonstop joy over the nonbinding resolution disapproving of it, has been followed by very little coverage of what has happened SINCE the surge has started?

So far, only a small number of additional troops are in place, less than half the eventual total of about 21,000.  Since much of the mainstream media are orgasmically happy to report every reverse, every casualty and anything else they can find to give you a negative attitude about how the war is going, and they've left how things have gone since the surge started virtually unreported, you might conclude that it must be accomplishing something positive.  If so, congratulations.  You're right.

Here is an excerpt from columnist Patrick Ruffini's column at www.townhall.com, a conservative site (therefore a site willing to say something positive about our war effort).  See how you feel about what he says (bold print is mine):

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Shhhh... The Surge is Working
By Patrick Ruffini
Saturday, February 24, 2007

A gloomy haze has settled over the nation's prosecution of the War on Terror as of late. It seems like we can only watch helplessly as Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha size up new angles of attack for undermining the war effort. The media is chomping at the bit the tell the story of an America, bruised and humbled and exhausted, heading for the exits in Iraq.

But something interesting is happening on the way to the "new direction." Early indications are that the troop surge into Baghdad is working. It hasn't been reported on widely, but murders in Baghdad are down 70%, attacks are down 80%, Mahdi Army chief Moqtada al-Sadr has reportedly made off for Iran, and many Baghdadis who had fled the violence now feel it's safe enough to return. The strategy that Congress is busy denouncing is proving to be our best hope for victory.

In Iraq, there's a sense that change is in the air -- literally. Omar of
Iraq the Model spots a B-1 Bomber in the skies of Baghdad for the first time since the end of the major combat. On the ground, Omar writes that the signs that Iraqis are getting serious about security are more palpable. With the help of Compstat-like technology, security forces are cracking down at checkpoints (even ambulances are getting stopped) and getting nimbler about locating them strategically so the terrorists don't know what to expect.

This turnaround in Baghdad is confirmed at home by the media's near-deafening silence. If it seems like you've heard less about how Iraq is spiraling into civil war in the weeks since the surge was announced, this is why. Even some discordant voices in the media are starting to wonder what's happening. Time magazine worries that it's
"Quiet in Baghdad. Too quiet." That's right -- a dramatic reduction in violence is actually bad news.

It's too early to claim victory just yet; the operation is just two weeks old. But U.S. troops have been able to accomplish all of this with just one more brigade in-country, with four more on the way by May. These encouraging early returns show the potential for success when we apply concentrated military force to the security problem. When the Army and Marine Corps are on offense, carrying out combat operations and clearing out insurgent strongholds, we win. When we lay back, carrying out routine patrols and playing Baghdad beat cop, we lose.

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Simply stated, the story line for much of our mainstream media is that Iraq is a disaster, Bush is an idiot and nothing good can come of it.  It is a measure of how sick this mindset is, that good news and successes are not only underreported, they are attacked.  That is why you haven't seen it covered.

Who are these people rooting for?  Let me ask that again, louder:  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE ROOTING FOR?

 

On a related note, Nancy Pelosi, the angry, bitter, negative, hard-left speaker of the house, called the White House to complain about Dick Cheney.  It seems he criticized Pelosi's statements about Iraq, and she decided to whine that he was questioning her patriotism (y'know, that really IS the last refuge of the scoundrel....and, apparently, the angry, bitter, negative hard-left set as well).  When Cheney was questioned about her complaint on Good Morning America, here is what he answered:

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I'm not sure what part of it is that Nancy disagreed with. She accused me of questioning her patriotism. I didn't question her patriotism. I questioned her judgment. Al-Qaeda functions on the basis that they think they can break our will. That's their fundamental underlying strategy. My statement was that if we adopt the Pelosi policy, that we will validate the strategy of Al-Qaeda. I said it, and I meant it. And I'm not backing down.

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Cheney was then asked a follow-up question by the Jonathan Karl, the interviewer - with the typically negative spin I alluded to at the beginning of this blog:  "But hasn't our strategy been failing?  Isn't that why the president has had to come out with a new strategy?"  Cheney's answer:

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 A failed strategy. Let's see. We didn't fail when we got rid of Saddam. We didn't fail when we held elections. We didn't fail when we got a constitution written. Theyre all success stories.

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In those two short statements, comprised of basic facts, logic and common sense, Cheney made mincemeat of the attack-dog Pelosi and the push-poll journalist Karl.  He could not have said it better.

And because Cheney made his case so persuasively, unless you watch ABC (which was stuck with the interview itself and therefore had to report it) it is either not in your mainstream media source at all or is buried in as inconspicuous a location as possible.  Don't take my word for it, check and see. 

Who are these people rooting for?  Let me ask that again, louder:  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE ROOTING FOR?


SURGE PROTECTION: UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

My previous blog tells you that if there are successes in Iraq related to the troop surge, they will either be unreported or reported as inconspicuously as possible.

As if to prove me right, here is a Reuters report that just came over the wire.  Please note the headline and then note what I have put in bold print way, way down in the 16th paragraph:

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Fuel tanker bomb kills 37 in western Iraq

By Claudia Parsons and Ibon Villelabeitia 15 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A fuel tanker rigged with explosives killed 37 people when it blew up near a Sunni mosque in western Iraq on Saturday, a day after the mosque's imam had criticized al Qaeda militants, police and residents said.

The bomb exploded in a market in the town of Habaniya in the restive province of Anbar, where U.S. forces are battling Sunni Arab insurgent groups, including al Qaeda.

Police said 64 people were wounded. An Interior Ministry source put the death toll at 31, with 67 wounded.

Local residents said the imam of the mosque had criticized Sunni al Qaeda during Friday prayers. Some Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar are leading a campaign to fight al Qaeda, which is deeply entrenched in the province.

Habaniya lies 85 km (50 miles) west of the Baghdad.

On Monday, two suicide bombers in nearby Ramadi killed 11 people when they targeted the house of Sattar al-Buzayi, who has led the anti-al Qaeda drive, which is backed by the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad and the U.S. military.

Insurgents earlier stormed an Iraqi police checkpoint near Baghdad airport, killing eight policemen in a bold challenge to a U.S.-backed security crackdown in the capital aimed at halting sectarian violence.

President Bush is sending 21,500 extra troops to Iraq to help with the Baghdad crackdown. Most are heading for the capital, but 4,000 will also be sent to Anbar to try to quell the insurgency raging there.

CHECKPOINT ATTACK

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki expressed optimism about the 10-day old security plan, saying U.S. and Iraqi forces had killed around 400 suspected militants since it started.

But the attack on the police checkpoint in an area not far from the main U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad underlined the hurdles faced by Iraqi security forces who are often out- gunned by increasingly sophisticated insurgents.

"It was a brazen attack," said Captain Curtis Kellogg, a U.S. military spokesman. "It was definitely coordinated. We expect this type of thing to continue. They will try to test the Iraqi and U.S. security forces."

A statement from the U.S. military said eight to 10 gunmen attacked the checkpoint in two vehicles. Militants in the first one got out firing assault rifles and throwing hand grenades at the policemen.

The second vehicle was forced into a ditch where it was cordoned off on suspicion it could be a suicide car bomb.

Two militants were killed in the firefight. One was wearing a suicide vest, Kellogg said.

Maliki paid a visit on Saturday to the command center for the Baghdad operation and urged security forces not to be swayed by sectarian loyalties.

He told reporters 426 suspected militants had been detained in the crackdown "and around that number have been killed" since it was launched in mid-February. The campaign is regarded as the last chance to prevent all-out civil war.

The Shi'ite prime minister is under pressure from Washington to root out Shi'ite militias with as much determination as he has used against Sunni Arab insurgents.

But Friday's brief detention by U.S. forces of the son of Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite leaders, could strain the government's ties with Washington.

Hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets of Shi'ite towns on Saturday to protest at Friday's detention of Ammar al-Hakim.

There were no reports of violence. The U.S. military said Ammar al-Hakim was held on Friday because members of his convoy acted suspiciously at a border checkpoint while returning from Iran. He was released after several hours.

(Additional reporting by Ross Colvin, Mussab Al-Khairalla and Dean Yates)

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Got that?  In the 16th paragraph of the story, under a headline that assures you the news is bad, they slip in an estimate that over 400 suspected militants had been caught and over 400 had been killed, in less than two weeks, with only a small fraction of the total troop surge in place. 

What great news!  How hopeful this would make any reasonable person that the troop surge could have a major positive effect and push the battle to our side in a decisive way!

Therefore.....it is buried in the 16th paragraph of the story, under a headline that assures you the news is bad. 

I rest my case.


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