Both Sides Agree: Give Us More Money!

I can’t watch the 9/11 hearings anymore. Everyone testifying, and every talking head and pundit, have agreed on one thing. The bureaucrats can’t do their jobs because they don’t have enough money. And people are buying it!

This is the standard cry of every bureaucrat since the beginning of time. “We need to steal more of your money to take better care of you.” One would think that people would catch on.

76 GIs Die in Iraq Since April 1, 26 Over Weekend

This morning’s announcement by the Pentagon brought the total killed in the last twelve days to 76 US soldiers, including 26 killed in the last three days.

CNN posted this story this morning, but moved this important part of the story down to the bottom, giving new top billing to the seven Halliburton employees missing in Iraq.

Here is the key part of the story (now at the end of the posted story.

Record death toll in April
New U.S. military figures released Monday showed April to be the deadliest month ever for American soldiers engaging in hostile action in Iraq since the war began a year ago.

At least 76 American troops have died in hostile action this month in Iraq, according to the U.S. military.

More U.S. troops died in November — 81 — but 12 of those were in non-hostile incidents.

In the past three days, 26 of the 76 troops died, the military said Monday.

Those deaths include three Marines who were killed in fighting west of Baghdad on Sunday, according to the Coalition Public Information Center.

The Marines, assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, died Sunday during “security and stability operations” in Al Anbar province, CPIC said. Two of the Marines were killed in action, while the third died of his wounds later in the day, according to Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt.

“With regards to why the Marines are there, it’s because they fought for those, they bled for those and in some cases they died for those positions,” Kimmitt said. “And they don’t give up ground that easy.”

Al Anbar province includes Fallujah, the site of fierce battles between American forces and Iraqi insurgents. Top coalition officials are working to achieve a lasting cease-fire with the insurgents.

Also Sunday, two crew members of an Apache attack helicopter died when they were shot down by surface-to-air missile fire west of Baghdad International Airport, senior coalition military officials said.

Thirteen of the 23 dead American soldiers were killed Friday, the coalition said. Four servicemen died Saturday and another nine died Sunday, the U.S. military said.

The deaths bring the number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to 674 — 480 hostile and 194 non-hostile, according to the U.S. military.

President Bush spoke to reporters Sunday at Fort Hood, Texas, where he spent part of the Easter holiday visiting troops.

“I know what we’re doing in Iraq is right,” Bush said.

“It was a tough week last week, and my prayers and thoughts are with those who pay the ultimate price for our security,” the president said.

General: No More Troops to Send to Iraq

The new issue of Time magazine (April 19) features an article “What Should Bush Do?” featuring three people giving advice on Iraq.

General Barry McCaffrey says “There are no more U.S. troops to send to Iraq. That’s why we need 80,000 or more troops added to the U.S. Army. Congress is allowing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to dig in his heels and try to maintain a foreign policy based on a grossly undermanned U.S. military.”

Given the plans of the neocon-run foreign policy team at the White House, Gen. McCaffrey’s estimate of 80,000 troops needed is probably very conservative.

Gen. McCaffrey wants Rummy to activate more reserve troops, but after they run out….

Here are General McCaffrey’s comments:

When a grass fire first starts, you can jump right in the middle of it and stomp it out. But if you wait too long, it just becomes uncontrollable. We should immediately jump onto the opposition and end it, and then launch smart diplomatic moves to get NATO and the U.N. and other Arab forces involved in a bigger way.

There are no more U.S. troops to send to Iraq. That’s why we need 80,000 or more troops added to the U.S. Army. Congress is allowing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to dig in his heels and try to maintain a foreign policy based on a grossly undermanned U.S. military. The key question isn’t whether the 1st Cavalry Division is going to get run out of Baghdad—it’s not. The key question is, if you’ve got 70% of your combat battalions in the U.S. Army deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea and elsewhere, can you maintain this kind of muscular presence in that many places? The answer is no. But if we take action now to increase the size of the Army by 80,000 soldiers, we’ll be able to handle this global reach. The key would be to activate nine National Guard brigades in the next 18 months and convert them into active-duty soldiers, allowing the reservists to go back to their communities.

The transfer of political authority on June 30 is extremely premature. By that date, there will not be a sovereign government with any political legitimacy. And here’s another challenge we face: we need to put the training of Iraqi security services—the police, army, border patrol and others—solely under the control of the U.S. military instead of the Coalition Provisional Authority and give these Iraqi recruits more money. Iraq is costing us $4 billion a month, and only a tiny percent of that has gone directly to support the creation of Iraqi security forces. We should also transfer authority for security policy in Iraq from Rumsfeld to Secretary of State Colin Powell because the most important tasks are now diplomatic.

We need to invest two to 10 years in Iraq, and we’ll have a good outcome. But if we think we’re dumping this responsibility in the coming year, we’re going to end up with a mess on our hands that will severely impair our international role for the coming 20 years.

Kathy Kelly’s Prison Address

Kathy Kelly, a leader of Voices in the Wilderness, is now serving time in prison in Illinois for her activities to oppose the war in Iraq.

She would appreciate hearing from supporters and friends, including giving her the latest antiwar news. She has no Internet access, so printouts of Antiwar.com stories and front pages would no doubt be appreciated.

Kathy Kelly #04971-045
FPC Pekin
PO Box 5000
Pekin, IL 61555-5000

You may also write to her co-defendant, Rev. Jerry Zawada:
Jerome Zawada, OFM #04995-045
FPC Oxford, P.O. Box 1085
Oxford, WI, 53952

WND Seeks Friends

(submitted by Matt Kaufman)

On Tuesday, WorldNetDaily posted an Insight magazine story titled “Clarke’s Friends Say He’s Lost Credibility.” Curious to know just who these “friends” were, I went to find out: Being a journalist myself, I naturally assumed what any average reader would also assume – that a headline like that would back up its claim. The first paragraph repeated the charge, assuring us that it was speaking of “many” friends (“Many of former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke’s friends are saying his anti-Bush diatribe has cost him his credibility”), but another paragraph passed, then two, then three – and still no names. I got down to the eighth paragraph, and there was the charge again (“many of his longtime friends are saying publicly that his anti-Bush diatribe has cost him his credibility”) – but STILL no names.

By now you won’t be surprised to learn that the names never did show up – nor even did a quote from an unnamed source, much less any of the “many” “friends” who’d spoken “publicly.”

But wait, this gets better. I e-mailed WorldNetDaily to call them on their blunder (the text of my e-mail is at the bottom of this note), and apparently it made a difference. When you go to the current version of the story you’ll find one thing has changed: The headline now speaks not of “friends” but of “colleagues” – referring, presumably, to people like Condoleeza Rice, who gets plenty of space in a story that’s essentially a hit job on Clarke. (He’s described by author J. Michael Waller as, among other things, “vitriolic”). But the text of the story hasn’t otherwise changed: Both references to “friends” are still there.

What about the Insight version of the story? Alas, I didn’t think to look on their site when it was first posted; it only occurred to me today (two days later), after I noticed WND’s change. Insight‘s story runs under a less sensational headline (“Holdovers Held Up Security Strategy”) and omits the first paragraph’s reference to “friends” – but it keeps the second reference (it’s the fourth paragraph, in Insight’s copy) and also repeats the “friends” charge in a photo caption at the top of the page.

Since I didn’t see Insight‘s original, I don’t know if someone at WND told someone at Insight, leading them to scramble to change their version (hurriedly cutting out the first paragraph but sloppily neglecting to change the later reference and the photo caption) or if they had the slightly less egregious version all along, while WND took raw, unedited copy straight from Waller. I find either explanation credible; Insight’s at least a bit more professional than WND. But if any of your readers have access to the latest Insight in its print edition, perhaps they can let us know. Insight‘s Web site makes it clear this is also the print cover story, so if they cleaned up online version after posting, they probably didn’t have the chance to do the same before they went to press. Anyone out there want to check it out?

Any way you slice it, this is a classic example of war hawks so eager (desperate, even) to smear anyone who spills the beans on the Bush administration that they’ll grab any accusation and run with it, bypassing even the most rudimentary journalistic standards. But then, there’s no real reason to be surprised. WND’s top headline, as I write, is “UFO Blasts Sky Like 50,000 Spotlights.”

TEXT OF MY E-MAIL TO WND (3/30/04):

Your site carries the headline “Clarke’s Friends Say He’s Lost Credibility,” and J. Michael Waller’s story under the same headline twice repeats the charge – adding that he’s speaking not just of a few friends, but of “many” of Clarke’s “longtime” friends. There’s just one tiny problem: The story never names a single one of them – nor does it even a quote a single unnamed “friend.” I know you’re eager to discredit Clarke (and all the other former government officials who’ve criticized the Bush Administration), but didn’t anyone on your staff bother to READ the story before posting it, especially under that sensational headline? Someone really should have, if only for your own sake. As it is, it’s WND that’s just taken a blow to its credibility.

~ Matt Kaufman