Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 5, 2006

THE LIGHTS WERE ON, BUT....House Speaker Dennis Hastert, at the request of the president, made a surprise visit to Baghdad over the weekend. Arriving at 4 am, Hastert said he was impressed with the number of lights he saw.

The speaker and his party saw it as a sign of progress, of how much power had been restored in a city known for frequent blackouts, according to Hastert's spokesman, Ron Bonjean, who accompanied the speaker.

"It was one of our first impressions, so many lights shining brightly," Bonjean said.

Now, the easy response is that some electricity in Baghdad is hardly indicative of "progress" in Iraq. Indeed, considering that Hastert's visit coincided with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lashing out at American forces in Iraq, it's probably best if the House Speaker doesn't dwell too much on light bulbs.

That said, the Center for American Progress noted a Brookings Institution Iraq Index (.pdf), published the day before Hastert landed, that highlighted a different conclusion.

In Apr. 2006, residents in Baghdad received an average of four hours of electricity per day, compared to pre-war levels of 16-24 hours per day.

Maybe Hastert caught Baghdad on a good day?

Steve Benen 12:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (75)

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Comments

No, "progress" would be Hastert's pilot confusing all the pretty lights with landing lights.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 5, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Fires make light too. I'm guessing Iraqis depend alot on fires these days with no electricity.

Posted by: Mario on June 5, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Hastert confused the muzzle flashes of gunfire and IEDs with the twinkling lights of proud homeowners?

I mean, Hastert never served in a war zone (his bum knees which were good enough for college wrestling kept him out of Vietnam), so maybe he just got confused. Maybe he was flying with the rest of the Republican leadership or the Bush Administration and they had the same confusion. Next time, he should make sure to travel with John Murtha, or Charlie Rangel, or John Kerry, or any number of Democrats so they could point out the difference.

Posted by: theorajones on June 5, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the same President who directed the "surprise" visit by Hastert was also able to exert influence to make sure that the day of the visit -- particularly the time of arrival -- happened to correlate with a good electricity situation in Baghdad.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 5, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

It'd be unfair not to also note that in before the war Baghdad always came first in the power queue, with outlying provinces only getting the spare watt.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 5, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Every eyewitness accout of Baghdad portrays it as a troubled but steadily developing city.

Every journalist too cowardly to leave his hotel room repeats al jazeera/democrat talking points, and talks about how horrible things are.

Which are you going to believe?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 5, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

He was probably viewing the expansive Green Zone.

Posted by: luci on June 5, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Denny-boy must be hanging with Shmo-mentum these days...

The progress in Iraq is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite south remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad on the East, Tikrit to the North, and Ramadi to the West, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here too, there is progress.

There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraq hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing.

Joe Shmo, 11/29/2005

Posted by: adios on June 5, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Riverbend, noted blogger from Baghdad, has long been talking about the lack of electricity, hence her inability to post very much. According to her previous accounts, electricity is often only available in the wee hours of the morning, not during any time of day the rest of us would consider the optimum for such things as watching TV, doing the laundry, etc.

Posted by: Emily on June 5, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Every Con too cowardly to leave his mother's basement tells us how great things are going in Iraq. Right, American "Chicken" Hawk?


NEW YORK (AP) -- A car bomb exploded near a CBS News crew covering American troops in Iraq on Memorial Day, killing a cameraman and a soundman and seriously injuring the correspondent, the network said.

Veteran cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed, said Kelli Edwards, a CBS News spokeswoman. Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was in critical condition at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad after undergoing surgery. CBS News did not release any additional information about her injuries, but said doctors were cautiously optimistic about her prognosis

Posted by: Mario on June 5, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Is this the parody American Hawk or the real thing? I can't tell anymore.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 5, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Much safer to stay in your hotel room, eh Mario? Or, even better, stay in your red state and let Sean Hannity tell you that "Every eyewitness accout of Baghdad portrays it as a troubled but steadily developing city."

Ignorance always seems safer, which is why the weak flee to it.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 5, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK


"Is this the parody American Hawk or the real thing?"

He doesn't know either.

Posted by: i on June 5, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Is this the parody American Hawk or the real thing?

It's the real American Hawk, as interpreted by McAsshole in the style of tbroz, after Fake-Fake-Fake(Fake) Al. Consult your souvenir program for details.

Posted by: adios on June 5, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK


The lights were a result of people who earlier had tested their light switch and finding themselves still in darkness forgot to flip the switch to off.

So when the lights blinked on momentarily in honor of Ho-Hum Hastert's heavenly descent, all those switches already flipped to on did their thing.

Posted by: t on June 5, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

What is Hastert comparing it to? When's the last time he was in Iraq? Maybe he was sleeping on the plane and his eyes had not yet adjusted...he did arrive at 4am, after all.

Whatever the explanation, and it's likely to be trivial and meaningless, you have to wonder about people like Hastert who somehow really think that this observation amounts to any kind of an insight.

Posted by: Gillette on June 5, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Who knew Motel 6 was in charge of Baghdad's electricity?

Posted by: David W. on June 5, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK


Iraq's water supply, electrical capacity and oil production are functioning below prewar standards according to Stuart Bowen, Jr., the inspector general for reconstruction, in a quarterly report to Congress. 1/31/06


what's the latest?

csmonitor - 5/1/06

Meanwhile, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released a major report that showed while some reconstruction projects had been successful, the US had failed in its effort to protect and rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure, and that corruption in Iraq had become like "another insurgency."

The Washington Times reports that Special Inspector General Stuart Bowen's report shows that the plan to train troops to protect Iraq's oil infrastructure is "a failure."

The report said the Bush administration and Iraq government poured $147 million into trying to create an Iraqi Oil Protection Force of 14,400 and an Iraqi Electric Power Security Service of 6,000 guards. But today, the electric security service no longer exists, and the oil force has shown only sporadic success.

Reuters reports that SIGIR investigators say the "corruption in the oil and gas industry continues unchecked and could have devastating effects" on the country's attempts at stabilization.


USA Today reports that Bowen notes that teams working on reconstruction projects have been able to accomplish more in the past few months because of improved security, and that completed projects have had positive results. But there are many cases where projects are not finished, or almost no work has been done, despite the allocation of millions of dollars to the projects.

The Guardian reports that in one case, a US contractor hired to build 150 health care centers in Iraq almost three years ago had only finished six, "in spite of 75 percent of the $186 million allocated for the project being spent."

The Washington Times story also noted that Bowen's report scolded the US-led multinational force for not co-operating in the investigation of the attempt to train Iraqis soldiers to protect oil. "The lack of records and equipment accountability raised significant concerns about possible fraud, waste and abuse ... by US and Iraqi officials," the report says. A fraud investigation is now under way.

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 5, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

From the Brookings Institution link, page 31:

Hours of electricity, prewar:

Baghdad, 16-24.
Nation-wide, 4-8

3,958 MW

Hours of electricity, April 2006:

Baghdad, 4
Nation-wide, 11

April production: 3,600 MW (was 4,000 in March)

Posted by: data on June 5, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! That's not fair to American Chicken-hawk! The 101st Fighting Keyboardists, of which he is the Grand Poo-Bah, have been bravely foregoing the use of the letter 'Q'. You see, every 'Q' saved is an extra electron for those brave Iraqis to use in fighting the dead-enders...

Posted by: Snoopy on June 5, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

American (Chicken)Hawk,

Please walk down the road to the Baghdad Airport alone, without escort of any kind. May you enjoy the flowers being thrown at you.

Posted by: Robert on June 5, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

A large amount of Iraq's electricity is provided by personal gasoline generators or neighborhood entrepeneurs. I have no idea how much, how to find out, and honestly, whether or not I approve.
Distributed decentralized energy production and distribution is the way I want America to go.

Posted by: bob mcmanus on June 5, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Every journalist too cowardly to leave his hotel room repeats al jazeera/democrat talking points, and talks about how horrible things are.Which are you going to believe?Posted by: American Hawk on June 5, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Who am I to believe? A journalist in a war zone talking to a variety of people directly affected, or a Chickenhawk 101st Fighting Keyboardist repeating Rush Limbaugh talking points from his mother's basement?

The day you chickenhawks can honestly cite your own experiences in a war zone, you will have my attention when you want to talk about the cowardice of others. Until that unlikely day happens, you are the worst of hypocrits -- urging the death of individuals and the destruction of families while you risk nothing in the sanctity of your smug little bubble.

Posted by: jcricket on June 5, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Under Hitler, trains ran on time.


Under Saddam, power generators ran almost 24 hours a day.

What's liberals' point again?

I thought they were against fascists.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 5, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

People do have generators in Bagdad. Why, though, would you be running the things at 4:00am? And using them to light the outside of your house? Oh, so that you can discourage crooks and insurgents.

"Steadily improving." Well, it's been "steadily improving" for three years and hasn't gotten to the security and economic activity levels of early 2003. We've steadily improved to a government for which corruption is the only universally shared value. People who claim to have witnessed "steady improvement" seem to have done so from the middle of a heavily-armored convoy of sporting nervous gunners bearing automatic weapons and fearfully speeding through intersections and over civilian automobiles and between 15-meter blase walls. I'm not sure how much more "steady improvement" the United States can afford.

Posted by: Brian C.B. on June 5, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

AH: Every journalist too cowardly to leave his hotel room repeats al jazeera/democrat talking points, and talks about how horrible things are.

Really now AH, where are you getting this line about cowardly journalists? We've lost more journalists and reporting crews after three years in Iraq than we did after ten years in Viet Nam. By what objective (i.e. factual) measure are you concluding that the war correspondents are "cowardly?"

Just wonderin'.

Posted by: cyntax on June 5, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah. I caught the story last week in The Washington Post about the Voice of America's Bagdhad reporter. She decided that, after her translator was threatened, then killed, that maybe moving to Cairo would be better, if not for her career, then for her continued existence. Who runs the VOA? It's an executive agency of the United States government. Bagdhad is too dangerous for George W. Bush's reporter.

Posted by: Brian C.B. on June 5, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Every eyewitness accout of Baghdad portrays it as a troubled but steadily developing city.

Every journalist too cowardly to leave his hotel room repeats al jazeera/democrat talking points, and talks about how horrible things are.

Which are you going to believe?"

Not to pile on this moron, but the eyewitness account I read paint Baghdad as something less than "steadily developing," unless you mean steadily developling into utter chaos.

I believe Kimberly Dozier and Bob Woodruff, for starters.

BTW, your smears at this point are not only dishonest, but they are morally reprehensible. You would rather believe Sean Hannity, safe in his studio in New York, than the seventy plus journalists who have died covering this war, you have proven yourself a despicable piece of shit. You disgust anyone who actually believes in the values you lay false claim to.

Posted by: brewmn on June 5, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

American ChickenHawk doesn't use objective measures. You see, he's creating his *own* reality...in his mother's basement.

Posted by: Snoopy on June 5, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Latest Yahoo Headline:
Gunmen seize at least 50 at Iraq bus stops

The occupying force is responsible for the stability and saftey of the occupied country.
That's international humanitarian law.

Violations of which:

The Conventions and their Protocols call for measures to be taken to prevent (or put an end to) what are known as "grave breaches"; those responsible for breaches must be punished.

I suspect that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice will be tried in abstentia....

Posted by: koreyel on June 5, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

For a Republican, one ambiguous personal anecdote is worth tons of clear statistics. So if Hastert saw a bunch of lights one the one time his transport circled the city (to avoid SAMs), then it must mean we can disregard any of the above-quoted data about electricity production.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 5, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, you're saying there's a non-parody American Hawk?

Posted by: KCinDC on June 5, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Why do liberals take delight in emphasizing things, large and small, that reflect negatively on America's efforts in Iraq? An honest debate about what to do in Iraq is fine, but why relish in the real or exagerate problems?

Posted by: brian on June 5, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hastert was actually flying over Istanbul rather than Baghdad ala Kaloogian. These fucking Republicans need a geography lesson before they launch more wars.

Posted by: ckelly on June 5, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Gawd, if they could just get regular power at 4 pm.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on June 5, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Why do liberals take delight in emphasizing things, large and small, that reflect negatively on America's efforts in Iraq.

Truth hurts don't it my fine feathered conservative friends. If we were not there none of this would be happening. And that one school we rebuilt would not have been blown up in the first place.

Posted by: Neo on June 5, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Who am I to believe? A journalist in a war zone talking to a variety of people directly affected, or a Chickenhawk 101st Fighting Keyboardist repeating Rush Limbaugh talking points from his mother's basement?

Michael Yon

Phil Carter and his minions

Bill Roggio and others

Trevor and pals

LTC Murphy, who is embedded with an Iraqi Army unit in the MTT role

Sgt Pete

Links to lots of others through the Mudville Gazette.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 5, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

I would prefer the advocates for war also be the casualties.

Posted by: Hostile on June 5, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

You guys just don't get it. By stating that "every" actual eyewitness has said that things are great in Iraq, while "every" MSM journalist is too chicken to actually leave their hotel rooms, I make huge generalizations too sweeping to ever actually be proven or disproven, and thus I am able to avoid ever having my statements exposed conclusively for what they are, which is slapped-together bullshit. You'll never take me alive, liberals!

Posted by: American Hawk's stand-in on June 5, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

In Apr. 2006, residents in Baghdad received an average of four hours of electricity per day, compared to pre-war levels of 16-24 hours per day.

And compared with pre-1990-war levels of 24 hours a day.

Posted by: anandine on June 5, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Under Hitler, trains ran on time.

Under Mussolini, dumbass. Under Hitler were millions of fascists like yourself, moaning with ashamed pleasure.

Posted by: shortstop on June 5, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

brian: Why do liberals take delight in emphasizing things, large and small, that reflect negatively on America's efforts in Iraq?

I take no delight in it whatsoever. But to claim that journalists are just phoning it in because someon doesn't like what they're saying strikes me as disingenuous at best, and at worst dismissive of the sacrifices they've made. And before anyone asks yes, I've gone after people who make similarly short-sighted and unfair comments about the US military (i.e. Haditha means all soldiers are bad).

Posted by: cyntax on June 5, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

i'm sure the rest of the country is very sad that power is no longer routinely rerouted to baghdad at their expnse.

Posted by: b on June 5, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike ~

Good links - thank you. A few of them reminded me very much of the poignant letters written by Civil War soldiers in the field (remember the PBS special?). I don't know exactly why. Maybe, it's the natural drama of stark honesty. In any case, these people certainly are not telling me how the war is going -- from their mother's basement.

Posted by: jcricket on June 5, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Haditha means all US citizens are bad.

Posted by: Hostile on June 5, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Such cowards, they were afraid of the overwhelming force Iraq, a country they say couldn't even master electricity, might bring to bear on their country.

Posted by: derek on June 5, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Are we really supposed to be impressed by these surprise visits where some schmoe drops into Baghdad unannounced in the middle of the night, takes an armored convoy to the Green Zone, and bugs out as soon as they can to assure us everything's A-OK?

If Coach Hastert had announced his trip in advance, arrived in the day time, and took a regular limo around Baghdad and down the road to Mosul, maybe then I'd be impressed. Assuming he lived, natch.

Mussolini didn't make the trains run on time.

Posted by: croatoan on June 5, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Lights are bad for our helicopters. I'm guessing we can turn them on and off at will for tactical or PR purposes.

Posted by: B on June 5, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

snoopy
American ChickenHawk doesn't use objective measures. You see, he's creating his *own* reality...in his mother's basement.

Snoopy, it's not American Hawk's fault that you weren't breastfed as a baby (or adult, I assume), and now hate mothers and their basements.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 5, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

So the juice is back on in Baghdad, some of the time.

The upside is that air conditioners, refrigerators and operating room equipment will work for short periods during the day.

The downside is that they can wire prisoners' testicles at Abu Ghraib again.

I'll bet Hastert doesn't visit Abu Ghraib.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on June 5, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mussolini didn't make the trains run on time.

Damn straight he didn't. But the popular expression refers to him, not to Hitler.

Posted by: shortstop on June 5, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

From the link by croatoan:

"One of the best ways to gain the support of the people you want to lead is to do something of benefit to them. Failing that, the next best thing is to convince them that you have done something of benefit to them, even though you really haven't. So it was with Benito Mussolini and the Italian railway system."

So it is with GW Bush and his war on Iraq that is killing thousands of Iraqi citizens, killing our sons and daughters, syphoning our treasury, and building world consensus that the US's claims of moral and democratic values is a laughable fabrication. Too bad for Bush that as more time goes on, more Americans are unconvinced of this "benefit".

Posted by: jcricket on June 5, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I know it was tangental to the topic, but it was right there in front of me. What's a cricket supposed to do?

Posted by: jcricket on June 5, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hastert made a "surprise" visit at the "request of the presidunce" and the "lights were on" - SURPRISE SURPRISE!

Posted by: x on June 5, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

And not only that, the lights are on in the greenhouses where they're growing roses whose petals are used to shower on American troops!

Posted by: Irony Man on June 5, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously, the bomb explosions and crackle of small arms fire muffler the low hum of thousands of private generators.

Posted by: snark on June 5, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Every eyewitness accout of Baghdad portrays it as a troubled but steadily developing city.

How much of an "eyewtiness" account do you think Hastert got ?

Does Condi leave the Green Zone when she visits ?

How about Rumsfailed ?

When's Dubya's "eyewtiness" account scheduled ?


Posted by: Stephen on June 5, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

This just proves Hastert is a dim bulb.

Posted by: Vincent on June 5, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

This just proves Hastert is a dim bulb.

no, his foolish actions in the william jefferson scandal prove that he is a dim bulb. like anyone around here needed any proof.

Posted by: Brian on June 5, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Arriving at 4 am, Hastert said he was impressed with the number of lights he saw."

Hmmmm... So the Republican Speaker arrives to the appearances of progress and stability, at the quietest, most peaceful time of day, to a Baghdad lit up like O'Hare Field when every other source complains of the lack of electric power???
---> Sounds about right. During the aftermath from Katrina last fall, our government (incapable of getting anything else right in that international embarrassment) put together a photo-op in which our dear leader was filmed speaking in a well-lit New Orleans neighborhood after dark. After he left, the generators were turned off, loaded up, and the area returned to darkness.
You gotta hand it to them. They're not lacking in chutzpah, and the willingness to expend a pile of money and a large investment of time by the military (think aircraft carrier and "mission accomplished"). They don't produce results in any area of substance, but these guys really know how to stage a video shoot.

Posted by: shystr on June 5, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

What is his definition of "lights"?

Posted by: parrot on June 5, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

All you guys who are so certain that Bush is terrible ought to read Barone's column comparing Bush favorably to Truman and making the point that Truman's low job approval ratings (lower than Bush) mean nothing now.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/06/bush_knows_his_history.html

Posted by: brian on June 5, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Can you imagine? You're on your second rotation in Iraq ... haven't seen you wife or kids for months ... been away from your regular job so long you don't know if you can ever go back ... every day IED's are killing your comrades who do STILL do not have up-armored Humvees and appropriate body armor --- there is no end in sight as a bunch of religious fanatics foment civil war around you. Just when you think it can't get any worse, a fucking load like Dennis Hastert rolls off the plane and you have to go down there for a mandatory photo op with the bloated fat-ass. Christ!

Posted by: Pat on June 5, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Even Mogadishu looks reasonable from 10,000 feet.

Hastert is an idiot.

Posted by: a_retrogrouch on June 5, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Did Denny find a WalMart in Iraq with enough Preparation H for his 'roids, or did he bring along a case or two from home?

Posted by: Fred Flintrock on June 5, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Who could fail to be dazzled by 1000 points of light?

Posted by: The Fool on June 5, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

The amount of vitriol in here makes the discussion stink.

The thing to remember is that the failure bunnies are going to lose no matter what happens, because they are stuck in glass half full mode. Of course, they would like to drag everyone else down with them...

I don't think I'm going to have much to say to these people when I get back. They're already lost.

Posted by: Trevor on June 6, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

The test of reliability of an electric system is how well it performs in peak periods, not 4 am. What happens at 4 pm on a hot day would be much more informative.

Posted by: rw on June 6, 2006 at 4:05 AM | PERMALINK

On CNN.com this morning, Jamie McIntyre has an article citing inside Marine sources saying the recent killing by Marines of a man in Hamdiniya was intentional and that the circumstances that made the man look like an insurgent were staged.

"Investigators have concluded the unarmed man, identified by Knight Ridder as Hashim Ibrahim Awad, was dragged from his house and shot by U.S. Marines, who then placed the shovel and AK-47 next to his body to make it appear he was an insurgent, the official told CNN."

So now we have U.S. Marine death squads. This is why John Murtha wants the U.S. out of Iraq -- America has lost what slim claim it had to "moral standing."

Will Hastert investigate this? Or does this tragedy get left for the "failure bunnies" to resolve, which as adults we must do?

Posted by: pj in jesusland on June 6, 2006 at 6:18 AM | PERMALINK

Pat
Can you imagine? You're on your second rotation in Iraq ... haven't seen you wife or kids for months ... been away from your regular job so long you don't know if you can ever go back ...

Did you know that pretty much everyone over in Iraq either has been there before and had a chance to get out, knowing they would be deployed to Iraq again, and didn't, or they volunteered to come into the military after Iraq started, knowing full well what things were like.

They don't need your pity, just your support.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 6, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

articles/2006/06/bush_knows_his_history.html

"Bush knows his history?" Har. Yeah, I don't doubt that. Too bad he doesn't bother himself with anyone else's....

Posted by: Irony Man on June 6, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Hastert caught Baghdad on a good day?

In other news, the Empress Catherine the Great was quite impressed with the villages Count Potemkin showed her.....

Posted by: Stefan on June 6, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

They don't need your pity, just your support.

Wanting to protect soldiers from mandatory, only-for-show photo ops with the Bush lapdog speaker of the House is support.

Posted by: shortstop on June 6, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: Did you know that pretty much everyone over in Iraq either has been there before and had a chance to get out, knowing they would be deployed to Iraq again, and didn't, or they volunteered to come into the military after Iraq started, knowing full well what things were like.

They don't need your pity, just your support.

Yep, it's true that at the brigade level, people are re-uping. But from my experience and as Joe Galloway points out here, most of that would seem to be out of the desire to not leave their fellow soldiers in the lurch:

"...if not so lucky they just take them off to combat and let em sink or swim. this is not healthy. this is not an army on the way up but one on the way to a disaster. we need more and smarter soldiers. not more Cat IVs. so far it is the willingness of these young men and women to serve, and to deploy multiple times, and to work grueling and dangerous 18 hour days 7 days a week that is the glue holding things together."

And how long can that go on? Overall retention is down, and the Army is lowering enlistment standards. For the officer corps, every major in a critical MOS who stayed made Lt. Col because the Army is short on majors to promote.

Which really makes me wonder, at this point, what qualifies as supporting the troops? Up until a few weeks ago I was in the "we broke it, we gotta fix it" camp, but now I'm starting to think that's no good either.

Posted by: cyntax on June 6, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Every eyewitness accout of Baghdad portrays it as a troubled but steadily developing city.

This statement is such an appalling lie that its clear that American Chickenhawk is a deluded fool, without the intellect that god gave an amoeba.

There are about a dozen Iraqi bloggers in Baghdad. NONE have portrated Baghdad as a "steadily developing" city. THey portray it as a horror of attacks, car bombs, ethnic attacks, militias. SOme are planning to leave Iraq. Even Iraq the Model, the most pro-American of the bloggers, is somewhat negative and talks of leaving.

Posted by: erg on June 6, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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