The Lady Speaks

Iraq – circling the drain

In March, when Laura Ingraham had the nerve to say this:

Laura Ingraham on NBC's Today, March 21: "To do a show from Iraq means to talk to the Iraqi military, to go out with the Iraqi military, to actually have a conversation with the people instead of reporting from hotel balconies about the latest IEDs going off."

she was rightly taken to task by Lara Logan:

Kurtz: "What do you make of that comment about reporting from hotel balconies?"

Logan: "Well, I think it's outrageous. I mean, Laura Ingraham should come to Iraq and not be talking about what journalists are doing from the comfort of her studio in the United States, the comfort and the safety.

I mean, I don't know any journalist that wants to just sit in a hotel room in Iraq. Does anybody understand that for us we used to be able to drive to Ramadi, we used to drive to Falluja, we used to drive to Najaf. We could travel all over this country without having to fly in military helicopters. That's the only way we can move around here. So, it's when the military can accommodate us, if the military can accommodate us, then we can go out and see.

"I have been out with Iraqi security forces over and over again. And you know what? When Bob Woodruff was out with Iraqi security forces and he was injured, the first thing that people were asking was, oh, was he being responsible by placing himself in this position with Iraqi forces? And they started to question his responsibility and integrity as a journalist.

I mean, we just can't win. I think it's an outrage to point the finger at journalists and say that this is our fault. I really do. And I think it shows an abject lack of respect for any journalist that's prepared to come to this country and risk their life. And that's not just me. That's the crews, that's all the people that make up our teams here."

and Keith Olbermann:

A note about Laura Ingraham's comments: I've known her for a long time. I'll in fact give you the caveat that I've known her socially. But that hotel balcony crack was unforgivable. It was unforgivable to the memory of David Bloom, it was unforgivable in the consideration of Bob Woodruff and Doug Voigt, it was unforgivable in the light of what happened to Michael Kelly and what happened to Michael Weiskopf. It was unforgivable with Jill Carroll still a hostage in Iraq. It's not only unforgivable, it was desperate and it was stupid.

(Crooks and Liars has the videos here and here.)

Laura Ingraham's remarks were especially inflammatory considering they occured some seven weeks after ABC's Primetime News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt, were standing in the hatch of an Iraqi Army vehicle. and were injured when a roadside bomb exploded near them.

Despite this, journalists were still criticized for not reporting the good news of Iraq, even as bombs continued to explode and bodies piled up.

And now, it's happened again.

On Memorial Day two CBS journalists, cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan, were added to the rolls of those killed while reporting on Iraq after a car bomb exploded. Correspondent Kimberly Dozier is in critical condition at Landstuhl Regional Medical Hospital at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

From CBS News.com:

The three journalists – embedded with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division – were doing a Memorial Day story about what life is like for the troops in Baghdad when an explosives-packed car nearby suddenly blew up.

Dozier, Douglas and Brolan had been riding in an armored humvee but at the time of the blast – in the Karada section of Baghdad – they were outside on the street, accompanying troops who had stopped to inspect a checkpoint manned by the Iraqi Army. They were wearing helmets, flak jackets and protective eyeglasses when the bomb went off.

Douglas, 48, and Brolan, 42, died at the scene of the explosion, which also killed a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi interpreter and wounded six U.S. soldiers.

Kimberly Dozier, 39, was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad a mile away from the scene, where she underwent two surgeries for injuries from the bombing and was stabilized enough to be able to make the trip early Tuesday to Germany.

Palmer reports that at one point Dozier's pulse stopped.

"She didn't have a heartbeat. She was as sick as you get," a doctor told Palmer.

From left to right: Kimberly Dozier, Paul Douglas, James Brolan

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May 30, 2006 Posted by | Iraq, Media, US Military, War | 1 Comment

Terror is an emotion

President Bush stood once again at Arlington, mouthing the now-familiar platitudes we've heard repeated over the past three-plus years. Mr. Bush's disconnection from reality has never seemed so obvious.

Wearing his rose-tinted shades, Mr. Bush sent young men and women into harm's way without proper planning, without vital equipment and protection, and without clear objectives. And he has done so without noting the cost.

Since the beginning of the "Global War on Terror" he has not once stood on the tarmac of Dover AFB to receive our returning dead, and he has attended precisely zero funerals of those who died on his watch as "Commander-in-Chief".

He and the Republican-controlled Congress have under-funded the Veterans Administration and slashed veterans' benefits even as more than 16,000 wounded men and women returned with a variety of devastating physical and emotional injuries.

During his time in office, Mr. Bush has alienated many of our country's allies and damaged the reputation of American goodness, generosity, and respect for law above all. By invading Iraq, Mr. Bush created a new breeding ground for terrorists and lost focus on Afghanistan – a known state sponsor of terrorism – allowing Osama Bin Laden to remain on the loose nearly five years after the Sept. 11th attacks.

Mr. Bush, in speeches in front of screened audiences of supporters, has continued to tell us, more or less, "Be afraid. Be very afraid." His standard excuse is “the terrorists” when called on for gutting the Constitutional protections that generations of Americans died to preserve.

From Pachacutec at FireDogLake:

There is no "War on Terror."

There is, however, a "war" on the U. S. Constitution.

After September 11, 2001, we’ve learned that we can take a punch and move on. We’ve faced far worse threats to our national survival in our history – the Civil War, the War of 1812, World War II to name a few – but we never abandoned our Constitution. Until now.

Terror is an emotion. Emotions are part of human nature and cannot be eradicated. A "War on Terror" is therefore a war on humanity. The Bush administration has exploited the fear and shock of a nation in the wake of a surprising and dramatic act of violence to whip national fear and paranoia into a constant boil. Why?

The evidence suggests the whole point has been to seize power and steal money. We are witnessing a creeping coup in the United States […]

[snip]

Today is Memorial Day. Today we remember countless patriots who died and fought for those freedoms our president tells us we must abandon. . . in the name of "freedom."

If there were really a "War on Terror," an emotion, Wes Craven would be hiring a lawyer: he scares people. The "War on Terror" is a sham. You know what changed after September 11th? We, the people of the United States, forgot how strong we are. We gave in to fear, when the only thing we should have feared was fear itself. Osama bin Laden wants you to be afraid. So does George Bush.

Using "We were attacked" as his theme, Mr. Bush has, in essence, told us the following: Questioning policy is unpatriotic. Questioning the constantly changing reasons for the war in Iraq is unpatriotic. Questioning the use of torture is unpatriotic. Questioning the right of the administration to spy on Americans in hopes of finding a connection to terrorists is unpatriotic. Believing that the Constitution should be the supreme law of the land is unpatriotic.

But those days are over. More and more Americans are standing up to question this crony-laden, incompetent administration. More and more Americans are remembering the words of another wartime President, who told us, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

More from Pach: [emphasis mine]

I know I’m not alone when I say, I’m an American and I’m not afraid. I know I’m going to die. I accept that I’m going to die, no problem. What I do not accept and will not accept is the notion that I must live as a slave to fear for the purposes of craven, cowardly men who, in their time, pissed the bed rather than fight an actual war, later to become powerful and use that power to line their pockets with my tax dollars. Give me liberty or give me death. Take your "terror" and shove it.

Far and wide, you will begin to hear the refrain of average Americans taking their country back:

Mr. Bush, I am an American. And I am not afraid.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Bush, Cheney, Congress, Constitution, Culture of Corruption, First Amendment, Government, Iraq, Politics, Protest, US Military, War, White House | Leave a comment