Sunday, April 01, 2007

McCain/Graham Say Iraq Is Getting Better

How do St. John McCain and Huckleberry Graham say this shit with a straight face? From the Associated Press:

BAGHDAD (AP) -- After a heavily guarded trip to a Baghdad market, Sen. John McCain insisted Sunday that a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown in the capital was working and said Americans lacked a ''full picture'' of the progress. The U.S. military later reported six soldiers were killed in roadside bombings southwest of Baghdad.

Four soldiers were killed responding to the blast that killed the first two, the military said. Britain, meanwhile, announced that one of its soldiers had been shot to death in southern Iraq.

McCain, a Republican presidential hopeful who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, acknowledged a difficult task lies ahead in Iraq, but criticized the media for not giving Americans enough information about the recent drop in execution-style sectarian killings, the establishment of security posts throughout the city and Sunni tribal efforts against al-Qaida in the western Anbar province.

''These and other indicators are reason for cautious, very cautious optimism about the effects of the new strategy,'' said McCain, who was leading a Republican congressional delegation to Iraq that included Sen. Lindsey Graham.

McCain, R-Ariz., was combative during the news conference, refusing to respond to a question about whether the U.S. had plans to attack Iran. He also replied testily to a question about remarks he had made in the United States last week that it was safe to walk some Baghdad streets.

''Things are better and there are encouraging signs. I've been here ... many times over the years. Never have I been able to drive from the airport, never have I been able go out into the city as I was today,'' he said.


Members of the delegation spoke at a Green Zone news conference after they rode from Baghdad's airport in armored vehicles and under heavy guard to visit the city's largest market, which was been hit by several recent bombings, including one in February that killed 137 people. They said the trips were proof that security was improving in the capital. Prominent visitors normally make the trip from the airport to the city center by helicopter.

The congressmen, who wore body armor during their hourlong shopping excursion, said they were impressed with the resilience and warmth of the Iraqi people, some of whom would not take money for their souvenirs. They were accompanied by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus.

While the capital has seen a recent dip in violence as extra U.S. and Iraqi troops have flooded the streets, an Iraqi military spokesman said that militants fleeing the crackdown have made areas outside the capital ''breeding grounds for violence,'' spreading deadly bombings and sectarian attacks to areas once relatively untouched.

It's still whack-a-mole. The U.S. floods Baghdad with troops, the violence spreads outward. The U.S. follows the violence around the country, the violence returns to Baghdad.

That's been the pattern and I have yet to see any change despite the spin coming from McCain, Graham, Lieberman et al. that it's getting better all the time in Iraq.

Sure it is. That's why McCain and Graham went shopping wearing body armor, riding in armored vehicles and guarded by a contingent of U.S. soldiers.

Here's how Kyra Phillips of CNN, reporting from Iraq this morning on Late Edition, reacted to McCain's comments about the improving situation in Iraq:

WOLF BLITZER: Kyra, you've had a chance to hear what Senator McCain and his delegation have to say today. First of all, update our viewers, Kyra, on what their bottom line is.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what's interesting, Wolf. And this is what I'm taking away from all of this, as I listen to these politicians and also go out onto the streets throughout Baghdad and greater Baghdad, is that it's very easy to go into certain areas and say things are improving.

For example, I went into Dora Market yesterday with General David Petraeus. Things are improving. Shops are opening up. But, still, Al Qaida is active in the area. They're still dealing with a death squad.

So, I could see a John McCain coming forward today, like he did, saying, look, I'm not saying this is mission accomplished, but there's still a lot going on. There's still a lot of challenges. There's still a lot of danger.

It's the easy answer, Wolf, for anybody. There are improvements going on throughout this country, but, also, there are incredible security challenges and violence that plagues this country.

BLITZER: Kyra, when you went out with General Petraeus this weekend and you walked around some streets in Baghdad, describe for us how much security he and you had.

PHILLIPS: I would probably say triple the presidential entourage, Wolf.


Now, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but in all seriousness, outer, inner, and perimeter security; sniper teams, personal security guards, humvees, helicopters -- you name it.

That man cannot travel this country without security. And he even said to me, you know, we'd be in a lot of trouble -- all these men around me would be in a lot of trouble if anything happened to me.

There's a great responsibility. He is the general commanding all U.S. forces in Iraq. He has to have security. Anywhere he goes, he must be protected because he's the man in charge of all the military action that's happening in this country.

So, yes, we went through Dora Market, and we had security everywhere. He wore a soft cap. I didn't wear a helmet. We felt comfortable. Why? We had lots of security.

BLITZER: But for average -- I take it then -- correct me if I'm wrong, Kyra, and you've been there for a few weeks now -- for a U.S. soldier to simply leave his or her base and get into a car and drive to a coffee shop...

PHILLIPS: No, forget it.

BLITZER: ... go to a restaurant and just meet with a bunch of friends. That's outrageous?

PHILLIPS: No. That's a pipe dream, Wolf. I mean, I wish -- even driving down the streets of Baghdad, you see the closed-down restaurants.

People aren't going to -- whether you're a journalist, whether you're military, whether you're a leader in this country, whether you're an Iraqi civilian, you are taking a risk.

I talked to shop owners on the streets. I can only stay there a short time. Sometimes I can't even go there at all. I'm a target. I'm an American.

But even the Iraqis say, yes, I have to come to work, but every day I'm worried something is going to happen to me.

Everybody is at risk. There is not one type of individual that is safe in this country, including the extremists.

BLITZER: Kyra Phillips is doing some terrific reporting for us in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. Kyra, be careful over there. We'll talk to you during the week as well. Thanks very much.

That sure doesn't sound better to me.

McCain and Graham are either bald-faced liars or delusional crazy people.

Take your pick which.

I think McCain is a bald-faced liar.
Although I feel sorry for McCain for what he went through as a POW, at the same time, the fact is he was engaged in bombing Vietnam and killing innocent people. He killed people without conscience then, and he's no different today. He might be a sociopath.
.....or trying to seek the Republican nomination??
I decided to check out progress on Laura Bush's much-touted Children's Hospital in Basra. That's the one that was originally budgeted for $50 million to be complete in 2005, and last reports estimate it to cost $170 million, if it ever gets done. After Bechtel flushed the first 50 mill and was a year behind schedule, they were kicked off the contract and replaced by the Army Corp of Engineers, who caught some problems with the foundation and other work already done. Don't know whether anyone is still working on it at all.

Not that it matters a whole lot -- a state-of-the-art cancer hospital doesn't do much good when close to 90% of pedriatic patients are suffering from diarrheal illnesses, and need a case of Pedialyte and course of anti-biotics, neither of which do most hospitals have.

Frankly, the surge doesn't matter one whit. We have screwed that country over so badly that it will take generations to bring it to livable status. We would have done a better job of reconstruction if we had sent in Larry, Moe and Curly. Maybe McCain should chew on that for a while.
I agree w/ the bald-faced liar part, Elizabeth. Ever since he sold his soul to run for president again, he says and does whatever is expedient and turns his back on long-held beliefs (like when he voted for the last round of Bush tax cuts after long criticizing them as "pork.")

I think you hit it right on the head, korova.

kicksiron, well said. Thanks for reminding me about Laura's cancer hospital. I forgot about that "project". I just googled it as well, but I couldn't find anything written about it after July 28, 2006. I'm going to look some more and see if I can find anything later than that.
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