Monday, April 02, 2007

Iraq: McCain and the Surge Talk Express

Also at DKos.

On Monday Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) told reporters in Baghdad that the "surge" plan was "making progress." He also chastised the press representatives for not giving the American public “the full picture about what’s happening.”

Old Straight Talk might have been testy because the press outed the truth about his downtown Baghdad shopping spree on Sunday. Representative Mike Pence (R-Indiana), part of McCain's congressional delegation, said the Shorja market was "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summer time," and that he was deeply moved to be able to "mix and mingle unfettered among ordinary Iraqis."

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said, "We were warmly welcomed… I bought five rugs for five bucks. People were engaging."

April Fools

It turns out McCain, Pence and the rest of the delegation traveled in a convoy of armored vehicles, wore body armor, were covered by a hundred heavily armed U.S. troops and covered from the sky by five helicopters.

One "ordinary Iraqi" gave a different version of the delegation's romp through the market (From the Washington Post):
Amir Raheem, 32 , a floor carpeting merchant at the Shorja market, disagreed with the upbeat assessment of the congressional visitors. "Just yesterday, an Iraqi soldier was shot in his shoulder by a sniper, and the day before, two civilians were shot by a sniper as well," he said.

He said Sunni insurgents routinely clashed with Shiite militiamen or with Iraqi soldiers and policemen in the area. "Everybody closes their shops by 2:30 p.m.," Raheem said….

…On Sunday, he said, U.S. soldiers were present in large numbers during the congressional visit and would not let customers "even cross the street to the other side."

Yeah, that sounds like a typical Sunday in Indiana all right.


The dollar-a-carpet congressional junket was part of the latest Rovewellian information operation, one designed to sell the surge and circumvent congressional attempts to impose benchmarks and time limits on Mr. Bush's Iraq war strategy. Among the leading voices in the pro-surge echo choir are neoconservatives Bill Kristol, Jack Keane, the Kagans (Robert, Fred and Kimberly) and, of course, young Mr. Bush himself.

Bush and Robert Kagan have both quoted "genuine testimonial" by a pair of Iraqi bloggers, two wild-and-crazy brothers in Baghdad who boast of a life of barbecue and beers in the strife-torn capital city and whose blog is part of a multi-million dollar right wing web network called "Pajamas Media." (There's a pretty good satire on this by Dood Abides at Unconfirmed Sources .

Senators Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) and Harry Reid (D-Nevada) announced on Monday that they're introducing legislation that will…
…effectively end the current military mission in Iraq and begin the redeployment of U.S. forces. The bill requires the President to begin safely redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq 120 days from enactment, as required by the emergency supplemental spending bill the Senate passed last week. The bill ends funding for the war, with three narrow exceptions, effective March 31, 2008.

The pro-war Bush crowd will cozy up to that bill like cats take to swimming pools. Stand by for more claws to come out.

And get ready for more digestive system product about how well the surge is going.

Also take a look at a recent memorandum circulated by retired Army General Barry McCaffrey as quoted by (of all places) the Washington Times on March 30:
Iraq is ripped by a low-grade civil war which has worsened to catastrophic levels with as many as 3,000 citizens murdered per month…

… The population is in despair. Life in many of the urban areas is now desperate…

… the armed insurgents, militias, and al Qaeda in Iraq without fail apparently re-generate both leadership cadres and foot soldiers… Their sophistication, numbers, and lethality go up--not down--as they incur these staggering battle losses…

…In summary, the U.S. armed forces are in a position of strategic peril.

Yep. Just another Sunday in Indiana.


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.


  1. The only thing that makes it different from Indiana is that they have EFP labs rather than meth labs.

  2. Indiana: Lord, I can't go back there.

    (I graduated from Valpo.)

  3. Hey, it could be a typical Saturday night in Gary Indiana........or Detroit. :-)

  4. Yeah, Skippy. Mortar rounds, IEDs, roadside bombs.


  5. Anonymous9:24 PM


    It might amuse you midly to know that an enormously huffy and bitter "Stogie Chomper," the rocket scientist who claims to have "outed" you as Jo Fish, has posted a new set of commenter rules on his blog after being identified by his real name there. Chief among them:

    "You may not post the address, phone number, unpublished email address or actual identity (if the poster uses a log-in name) of any other poster. If you do, your message will be either edited or deleted. The reasons for this are obvious: to protect anyone who posts from physical harm from kooks of whatever political or religious persuasion, and to protect their privacy from unwanted phone calls or unwanted Google searches by potential employers or customers."

    He's very into privacy, apparently. Here's the URL for the post:

  6. Pretty funny, Anon. Thanks.

  7. "the full picture about what's happening" can be summarized as follows:

    6 U.S. soldiers died the day this statement was made. That is the full picture.

  8. Iraq veteran First Sergeant Perry Jefferies blogging over at IAVA has another take on Senator Graham's "bargains" !

    "...what did the taxpayer pay for this photo op, and shopping trip?  Using very conservative figures from a 90s era simulation, I came up with $75 per hour per Soldier (they don’t get that much, but calculate their salary, equipment, food, and medical costs) times one hundred Soldiers, an hour each for three Blackhawks at $1448 per hour, and two Apaches at $3101 per hour and we get an hour long trip cost for the Senators of $18,046.  Dividing by the Senator’s five carpets, since they said the merchants didn’t charge them for other souvenirs, and you get a per carpet cost of about $3609.00.
    Not quite the bargain for you and me as for Senator Graham."

  9. Yup, this govmint's fulla "digestive product."

    :) Love that.

  10. That darned liberal media. Maybe one of the reasons they don't report the "good news" from Iraq is that they keep winding up in back alleys with their brains blown out (97 so far).

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