McCain promotes surge, warns of hasty withdrawal
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, The Boston Globe
April 7, 2008 10:02 AM
On the eve of the key appearance before Congress by General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain will argue today that the new counterinsurgency strategy backed by the “surge” of American troops last year pulled the war-torn country back from the abyss and “opened the way for a return to something approaching normal political and economic life for the average Iraqi.”
“Much more needs to be done, and Iraq’s politicians need to know that we expect them to show the necessary leadership to rebuild their country,” McCain continues. “….But there is no doubt about the basic reality in Iraq: we are no longer staring into the abyss of defeat, and we can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success. Success in Iraq is the establishment of a generally peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic state that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. It is the advance of religious tolerance over violent radicalism. It is a level of security that allows the Iraqi authorities to govern, the average person to live a normal life, and international entities to operate. It is a situation in which the rule of law, after decades of tyranny, takes hold. It is an Iraq where Iraqi forces have the responsibility for enforcing security in their country, and where American troops can return home, with the honor of having secured their country’s interests at great personal cost, and helping another people achieve peace and self-determination.”
Iraq PM: Shiite militia must disband
By BUSHRA JUHI, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 54 minutes ago
BAGHDAD – The prime minister issued his strongest warning yet to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to disband his Mahdi Army militia or face political isolation. The Sadrists said Monday a move to ban them from elections would be unconstitutional.
The U.S. military, meanwhile, said two more soldiers died in roadside bombings Sunday, raising the day’s American death toll to at least five. The announcement comes a day before the two top U.S. officials in Iraq are scheduled to brief Congress on prospects for the eventual withdrawal of American troops.
Gunbattles also continued Monday in Baghdad’s main Shiite district of Sadr City, a day after fierce clashes broke out when some 1,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops began an operation to push deeper into the Mahdi Army’s largest stronghold.
With tensions rising, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, told CNN Sunday that al-Sadr’s followers would not be allowed “to participate in the political process or take part in upcoming elections unless they end the Mahdi Army.”
The inability of the Iraqi forces to curb the militias has cast doubt on their ability to take over their own security. The top American officials in Iraq – Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker – are to start briefing Congress Tuesday on the prospects for further reductions in the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
Glenn on Cokie below the fold…
Cokie Roberts speaks out on the war on behalf of the American people
Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com
Monday April 7, 2008 07:49 EDT
The single most dishonest and propagandistic tactic of establishment journalists is to take their own opinion and assert as a fact that “most Americans” agree with them, even when that assertion is indisputably false. David Brooks is probably the single most frequent purveryor of this deceit, but the bulk of establishment pundits regularly deploy the same method — simultaneously holding themselves out as Spokesmen for the Regular People while showing complete contempt for what they actually think by lying about their views.
Is there any limit on the willingness of establishment spokespeople like Cokie Roberts to lie about the state of public opinion on the war? How much more conclusive can their dishonesty be demonstrated? Here is a post I wrote just a couple of weeks ago documenting how false the claim is, after The Politico announced that the Iraq War was going to be a great asset for McCain because Americans are starting to love the war again. Just compare the statement Cokie Roberts has the audacity to make with a straight face to all of that…
Public opinion on the question of whether we should withdraw from Iraq is unambiguous and it has been for a long time. Large majorities of the public favor withdrawal regardless of whether we’re “winning.” To say otherwise — as establishment journalists like Roberts continuously do — is just rank deceit. How else can one phrase that? And why shouldn’t ABC News make that clear, retract that statement the way they would any other factually false claim made by one of their journalists?
What these journalists actually do — as they prance around as Spokespeople for the Regular Americans — is attempt to render public opinion completely inconsequential. When it comports with what the political establishment wants, they tout it as democracy in action, as the establishment speaking for The American People. When public opinion rejects what they’re doing, they just lie about it and pretend that people agree with them. The more honest establishment mavens just ignore public opinion altogether and insist that they know what’s best for the People.