CENTCOM is one of the five geographically-defined unified commands within the Department of Defense. With responsibility for 27 countries including Iraq, CENTCOM is commanded by Gen. John Abizaid.
Perusing CENTCOM's weekly online newsletter today, I noticed a tab labelled "What Extremists Say." I clicked on it, hoping to catch up on the latest pronouncements by Keith Olbermann, George Soros, perhaps Michael Moore.
But no, it turns out that CENTCOM had another kind of extremist in mind, folks like the al-Fajr Information Center, who have put out their first issue of a new magazine “Technical Mujahid,” electronically distributed to password-protected jihadist forums. No word if MoveOn.org has taken out any advertising space.
Ever wonder what makes Keith Olbermann such a fine journalist? Well, according to the former sportscaster, it’s the fact that he doesn’t "make the facts up" like Rush Limbaugh does.
PBS host Jim Lehrer trumpeted his objectivity in a more creative way. Using a food analogy, the anchor deemed himself the "flavor of neutrality." (Just a thought, but where do the liberal flavors originate? Ben and Jerry's?)
Perhaps longing for the "good old days," NBC News chose no less an authoritative source than Matt Lauer to announce that the situation in Iraq is a civil war. Maybe NBC is attempting to recreate the famous "Cronkite moment"?
Interestingly, this same network that is so eager to declare a civil war, has, at times, been hesitant to label Hezbollah a terrorist group.
It may surprise conservatives, but CNN reporter Bob Franken alleged on Thursday’s "American Morning" that Democrats are eager to label Iraq a civil war in order to undercut U.S. support for remaining in the country. Considering the cable network’s cheerleading for the Democratic Party in the recently completed midterm elections, this plainspoken statement must have been unintentional. Franken’s comment came in the midst of an otherwise typical CNN report. The segment highlighted how all respectable individuals and organizations call the conflict a civil war, so why can’t President Bush? Remarking on the popularity of the civil war terminology, Franken offered an explanation for the Democrats embrace of the phrase:
Bob Franken: "But many experts say that designating this a civil war will undermine U.S. support even more, which might explain why so many Democrats are jumping on the bandwagon."
The media’s fascination and love affair with Jimmy Carter apparently have no limits. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewed the ex-president on Tuesday’s "Situation Room" and cited his knowledge and experience of dealing with Iran:
Wolf Blitzer: "You know a lot about Iran. You spent the last 444 days of your presidency focusing in on the American hostages."
Jimmy Carter: "I remember that."
Blitzer: "I know. I remember it very well. I think everyone who was alive remembers it, as well. This is a regime -- basically, the same people who were in charge then, who took over for the shah, are still in charge right now, led by a supreme ayatollah, who has been meeting today with Talabani, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met yesterday with Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq."
Blitzer may remember the event, but it’s unclear if he recalls the botched Carter rescue attempts, including one that left eight U.S. servicemen dead. If he did recollect the event, the CNN anchor certainly didn’t bring the subject up.
On November 27, 2006, the media stepped up their demands for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq by officially naming the incursion a civil war. While questioning their motives, Americans must also be extremely concerned with how quickly these same voices will demand our military be sent back in a humanitarian effort to halt the inevitable post-retreat genocide.
Amid all the seemingly principled antiwar discussions that have transpired the past several years, one issue has been shamelessly and immorally absent: if American troops leave Iraq too soon, one of the largest mass-murders of innocent people in history might ensue.
While liberals like Marty Kaplan of the Huffington Post have hailed NBC's boasting usage of "civil war" as the end of "the neo-Stalinist era of American political discourse," some might ask if NBC hasn't been gingerly with other politically sensitive terms. (How about "partial-birth abortion"? Can you imagine Matt Lauer announcing: "After a weekend of discussion, we have decided that since the baby is partially born before it is aborted..." No?) NBC also sometimes fails to describe terrorists as terrorists. On July 18 of this year, Brent Baker captured this problem in the CyberAlert:
NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked on Monday's NBC Nightly News: "What is Hezbollah and what is its end game?" Mitchell first answered that "experts say to prove it can damage Israel in ways Arab countries couldn't." But then she proceeded to refer to "Hezbollah's charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah," also describing him as "a Shiite populist" who she relayed, over video of kids, "provides social services where Lebanon's weak new government cannot." Mitchell refrained from labeling Hezbollah as "terrorist" -- or mentioning how its real "end game" is the destruction of Israel -- going no further than to say it "operates militias."
Former President Jimmy Carter appeared on Tuesday’s "Early Show" to promote his book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Co-host Harry Smith gushed over Carter, calling him someone who has "built housing across the United States and across the world as well, and has continued to promote world peace." Smith even proceeded to seek Carter’s foreign policy counsel on the war, inquiring "is there a way out of Iraq?" Yet, Smith failed to mention Carter’s foreign policy failures such as the Iran hostage crisis when soliciting Carter’s advice.
As noted yesterday, President Carter’s book places the blame for the Israel/Palestine conflict, and by extension the conflict with Israel and other Middle Eastern or Persian countries, squarely on Israel. However, Smith didn’t challenge the former President on his conclusion. What about nations, whose stated goal is to eliminate the "Zionist" state, don’t they bear any blame? Or how about terror organizations who send children to blow themselves up in order to murder innocent Israelis in the process? Aren’t they equally responsible for this conflict? Yet, again, these are topics not pursued by Harry Smith. Perhaps Smith chose not to challenge President Carter’s premise because Carter’s publisher, Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS, but, nonetheless, Smith shirked his journalistic responsibility by not asking the tough questions.
I already linked to Flopping Aces, read his bust of the AP here. Given that, or even aside from it, should this, (registration required) via the AP, be in the main Iraq story in the Chicago Tribune today?
Separately, police and witnesses said U.S. soldiers shot and killed 11 civilians and wounded five on Sunday night in the Baghdad suburb of Husseiniya.
"We were sitting inside our house when the Americans showed up and started firing at homes. They killed many people and burned some houses," said one of the witnesses, a man with bandages on his head who was being treated at Imam Ali Hospital in the Shiite slum of Sadr City. The police and witnesses spoke with Associated Press Television News on condition of anonymity to protect their own security.
Reading the Globe's Nov 18th piece about vice President Cheney, one can palpably feel their fingers being crossed, their wishes being cast into the wishing well, that Cheney is on the outs with this supposed "big demotion" the paper sees for his immediate future.
In short, will Rumsfeld's abrupt dismissal finally diminish Cheney's unprecedented dominance of Bush? Or did the always cunning vice president read the writing on the wall and decide that it was time for his good friend Rumsfeld to go?
And typically, as with every story about the VP, one quotient missing in the analysis is the president himself, prosaically fitting into the the Cheney-as-puppetmaster story line the MSM has created for him. (Though, now they want to cast James Baker in Cheney's puppeteering shoes)
They even want us to believe that Cheney somehow strong-armed Bush into the Iraq policy and the War on Terror as if 9/11 never occurred.
On Friday’s "American Morning," anchor Miles O’Brien characterized a group of kidnaped contractors, which included four Americans, as "mercenaries." The program, which airs on CNN, a network that has been severely criticized for airing terrorist footage of American soldiers being murdered, featured a segment on the activities and tasks of military contractors. Introducing reporter Ali Velshi, O’Brien said this:
Miles O'Brien: "In southern Iraq, more now on the search for four American security contractors, one Austrian, feared kidnaped. It happened in Nasiriyah where Iraqi troops have taken control of security, but there's reason to believe the contractors were stopped at a checkpoint manned by insurgents masquerading as the authorities. 'American Morning's Ali Velshi is here to give us some perspective. The big picture, you know, we call them contractors. In another era, we would call them mercenaries."
Ali Velshi: "That's right, they are paid armed forces. There are different kind of contractors in, in Iraq right now."
Now that the Democrats have picked their Majority Leader in the House the outcome gives us (and her) the first hint that Speaker Pelosi is not the powerhouse she thought she was. Her man, Murtha, lost in a landslide: 149 to 86... a thumpin' to say the least.
In my last report on how the MSM covered this little inter Dem fight I pointed out that they were ignoring how distant were the two positions on pulling out of Iraq that is held by the erstwhile candidates for Majority Leader.
I noted how they refused to portray Murtha's position as "extreme", even as he supports pulling out of Iraq immediately to Hoyer's, who does not. I noted that the MSM did not waste much breath contrasting Murtha's position with the far less volatile position held by Hoyer.
It seems strangely inconsistent that the MSM ignored the Iraq war issue in their stories since they made the entire recent election all about Iraq and how it is a mess and that our soldiers should come home. Yet, a guy who does not want an immediate pull out defeated Murtha and this fact went uncommented upon.
Early on in the recent Israel/Lebanon war, there was a photograph published by both U.S. News and World Report and Time Magazine, which according to captions published with the picture was of a burning Israeli jet, shot down by Hezbullah missiles. The blogosphere was quicktodisputethepicturein question, and the widely-circulated story was that the photograph was actually that of a tire dump.
Well, it seems that the photographer responsible for taking the photograph, Bruno Stevens, has finally sounded off on Lightstalkers (the professional photographer's forum), explaining the photograph and telling the true story of how things ended up the way they did. He also notes that the site was not a tire dump, but was rather an old Lebanese Army base that had either been hit by an Israeli jet, or by a misfired Hezbullah rocket (both possibilites he appears to have recounted in his original captions). The key point that Bruno makes is that, while he sent in a fairly balanced caption to accompany the photograph, the wire services rewrote the caption completely, changing the pertinent facts surrounding the story. Where have we heard that before?
Bruno's story is available in full at Lightstalkers, and I recommend checking it out, even though it is mostly written as a response to someone who has been alleging that he was somehow covering up a civilian massacre or other indiscriminate act by the Israeli Air Force.
"Washington Post" reporter Sally Quinn appeared on Monday’s "American Morning," ready to psychoanalyze President Bush in the wake of last week’s midterm defeat. Quinn discussed the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the hiring of Robert Gates as a replacement, and how President Bush is secretly "relieved" over the drubbing the GOP received. Now, either Ms. Quinn has become a psychological expert on why Bush is hiring former advisors to his father, or she’s just another member of the media who wants to be a part of important inner-circle decisions:
Quinn: "But I just have a feeling that it was clear to the father that the son -- clearly, he made Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense -- that the son did not want his father's advice on a lot of these things....I felt the other day watching Bush that he was almost relieved in a way about losing the House and the Senate. I know that sounds weird, but it was as though, ‘Okay, now I really have permission. I can take my father's advice.’ And, also, that it's not all on him anymore. It's not all on the Republicans. The Democrats are going to have to take a lot of the responsibility now."
O’Brien: "It's nice to, nice to share a little blame, isn't it, in some cases? And in this case, perhaps share some blame with his father. I wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. Did -- was -- did he have to have that election in order to prompt this?"
But MacFarquhar, who went to elementary school in Libya and was once the Times' bureau chief in Cairo, disposes of the controversy in two sentences and frames it as Ellison being "attacked on religious grounds."
During election night coverage, CNN’s Paula Zahn and Bill Schneider exuded giddiness over what Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee’s defeat meant. Schneider marveled that voters liked Chafee, but "they didn’t vote for him!" Zahn wondered if Chafee’s defeat could be seen as a "mandate for change." A transcript follows:
CNN’s Jack Cafferty, who recently called Donald Rumsfeld a war criminal, chose Election Day to accuse the President of going to war in Iraq for oil and of condoning torture. He also wondered if George Bush was "elected at all." A transcript of the November 7 "Cafferty File" segment is below:
Wolf Blitzer: "Jack Cafferty is here with ‘The Cafferty File.’ Jack?"
Jack Cafferty: "Thank you, Wolf. However today’s election turns out, it’s a safe bet it’s going to be a good long while before anyone successfully pedals a neo-conservative agenda to the American electorate again. George Bush was elected twice by the thinnest of margins, if, in fact, he was elected at all.
A few weeks ago on the Right Angle TV show I host, my guest was Barry Strauss, the brilliant professor of history and the classics at Cornell University. Our conversation focused on his recent book, "The Trojan War", which one reviewer has described as so authoritative "it may well preempt future historians from ever trying to improve on it."
Toward the end of the show I invited Prof. Strauss to comment on whether he saw any parallels between the fall of Greek and Roman civilizations and the situation in the West today. While eschewing sweeping generalizations, the professor did observe that one sign of a civilization in decline is its disinclination to believe in itself coupled with a loss of will to fight for its survival.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty chose the day before the election to morph into a complete Daily-Kos/left wing clone. He slammed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as "an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal." The comments, made in reference to an editorial in the ‘Military Times’ newspapers, came during the 4pm hour of Monday’s "Situation Room." A transcript of the November 6 segment, which began at 4:11pm with Cafferty reading from the editorial, is below:
Jack Cafferty: "‘The time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard, bruising truth. Donald Rumsfeld must go.’ That is a quote from an editorial in this week’s ‘Military Times’ newspapers. The independent publications owned by Gannett, include ‘The Army Times,’ ‘The Navy Times,’ ‘Air Force Times,’ and ‘Marine Corps Times.’ The piece goes on to say, quote, ‘Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the Secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.’ They didn’t even mention that he’s also an obnoxious jerk and a war criminal.
During the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," CNN’s Jack Cafferty summarized an international poll that showed many Europeans think President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than North Korea. He solemnly intoned that the results show "just how low the United States image has sunk." After reading the survey, Cafferty asked his audience this question:
Jack Cafferty: "...What does it mean when our closest allies think that President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than either North Korea or Iran?"
"Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer had an answer:
Blitzer: "It means we got a serious problem internationally."
With less then a week before Election Day, members of the mainstream media are doing everything they can to elect Democrats. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has stepped up his fevered attacks, referring to President Bush as both "stupid" and a liar. Later on in the week, he included Media Research Center President Brent Bozell in the November 2 "Worst Person in the World" segment.
Speaking of cable networks, an analysis of the CNN "Broken Government" special shows that Lynne Cheney was right in denouncing it as nothing more then left-wing Daily Kos-style propaganda.
Over on CBS, "The Evening News" featured a laudatory segment on "trend setting" California. Not so coincidentally, all the trends were liberal. On the subject of morning bias, "Today’s" David Gregory turned over a segment to Michael J. Fox and his promotion of Democratic candidates.
Completing the network trilogy, ABC’s "Good Morning America" talked to a group of "real-life actual voters"in a Ohio diner. Oddly enough, none of these hungry citizens seemed to like Republicans very much. Perhaps this was a Democratic diner.
CNN has already made it crystal clear that the cable network is taking sides in the midterm election. Political reporter Bill Schneider reinforced that view with a report on Wednesday’s "American Morning" that sounded like something straight out of Democratic talking points. During the segment, he offered occasional asides that "spoke" for the voters. Here’s one example:
Bill Schneider: "When Americans concluded the Vietnam war was unwinnable, they turned against it. When they began to see Iraq as a civil war between rival Islamic sects, their frustration mounted. Why should that be our war? Six months ago 44 percent of Americans felt the United States would never accomplish its mission in Iraq. Now, a majority feel that way. The administration's response? Turn the question on the Democrats. What's their alternative?"
During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Lynne Cheney turned the tables on the cable network and bluntly asked if Blitzer wanted the U.S. to win in Iraq:
Lynne Cheney: "Right, But what is CNN doing running terrorist tape of terrorist shooting Americans? I mean, I thought Duncan Hunter asked you a very good question and you didn’t answer it. Do you want us to win?"
Wolf Blitzer: "The answer, of course, is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There’s no doubt about it. You think we want terrorists to win?"
The Vice President’s wife was referring to an October 23 segment with Congressman Duncan Hunter, in which he criticized the network for airing footage of insurgents killing Americans. Mrs. Cheney, who appeared on the October 27 edition of "The Situation Room," continued her harsh analysis of CNN. "Why," she wondered, "are you running terrorist propaganda?"
With a title like "Broken Government: Power Play," one could probably assume that the upcoming CNN special won’t be very fair to President Bush. But just in case there were any doubt, reporter John King appeared on Thursday’s "American Morning" to drive home the point:
Miles O’Brien: "Twelve days to the election. We're looking at the power of the presidency. A new CNN poll out this morning, we asked some people if they think the President does in fact have too much power. And like so many issues in this country, shows a lot of division among the electorate. CNN's John King is here with a preview of what's going on tonight in our 'Broken Government' series. Good morning, John."
John King: "Good morning to you, Miles. It's a fascinating subject. Many say, post-9/11, this President has crossed, stretched, some say trampled the Constitution in his pursuit of the war on terrorism. The president says whatever it takes. Some say he has busted the balance of powers, if you will, the constitutional lines. The President, of course, says no. It's one of the issues we're exploring as we look at the 'Broken Government.' He began on a very different course, a governor with a famous name who conveyed more West Texas than Washington. Compassionate conservative was his label of choice. Kinder, gentler, his promised world view. A crisp September morning suddenly changed from gorgeous to gruesome. A few whispered words in a Florida school room, transformed a presidency and a president."
How nice of CNN to offer the caveat that President Bush does, in fact, deny stretching and trampling the Constitution.
Like many who heavily invest themselves in staying current on national and international news, I can never understand why the traditional media fails to address some serious topics. For example, why do we never hear about Israel and the Peshmerga?
The Peshmerga, for those who have not closely followed reports on Iraq, are a military force of an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 Kurdish troops. They make up the defensive structure of northern Iraq, or what some call Kurdistan. They also keep a tight security cap on the region, which is said to be the calmest area of that country.
Online publications such as the BBC News in its Newsnight e-zine wrote about these soldiers extensively on September 20, 2006, reporting “When the former Israeli special forces soldiers were sent to Iraq in 2004 they were told they would be disowned if discovered. Their role there was to train two groups of Kurdish troops.” The report went on to explain that one group of Pershmerga fighters were being trained to secure and defend the new Hawler International Airport near Erbil, while the other group was being trained for “special assignments”.
Photographer Emilio Morenatti, 37, of the Associated Press, was taken captive in the Gaza Strip this morning. No word from the captors yet, but my prayers are with Emilio and his family for his safe return!
According to the captions on the photo wires, Emilio was accosted as he was leaving his apartment for an Associated Press vehicle, and was forced into the captors' vehicle. I'll fill in with more details as they come in. Hajed Hamdan, the AP driver assigned to pick up Emilio, was confronted by the captors, who stole his phone and keys, and instructed him at gunpoint to turn away.
I DVD'ed Olbermann overnight to check just how fawning a performance he would put in with his guest Barack Obama - whom FCC regulations require me to describe as "the rising star of the Democratic party." When it came to Olbermann's sycophancy, I wasn't disappointed. After accusing Republicans of "terrorizing" Americans, the MSNBC host continued:
"proposing an alternative course for American politics, one that replaces fear with - of all things - hope, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and his new book, The Audacity of Hope."
Imagine you're a leading news magazine. You've published a major story claiming that Afghanistan is a brewing disaster in which Al-Qaeda can once again roam with impunity. So bad is the situation, say you, that for purposes of your article you've dubbed the country "Jihadistan."
Now comes the Pentagon, and in painstaking, point-by-point fashion, refutes so many of your article's assertions as to call its overall validity into question. How do you respond?
A. In a rigorous, systematic manner, you contest the Pentagon's arguments and prove that you were correct in the first place.
Remember Chris Hedges, the former Times reporter and Middle East bureau chief for the paper who got unplugged for his anti-war ranting at a Rockford College graduation ceremony in 2003?
Here was his stirring opener to the assembled graduates:
“Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves."