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Hall of Shame--Media recriminations after VB Day.
National Review ^ | 4-10-03

Posted on 04/10/2003 5:43:53 AM PDT by SJackson

April 10, 2003, 7:45 a.m.
Hall of Shame
Media recriminations after VB Day.

By NR Staff

o many pundits, pols, and, yes, celebs, said so many wrong — and downright silly — things about the war in Iraq, prewar. We knew that back then, but now that Baghdad has effectively been liberated by the U.S.-lead Coalition, we provide a handy snapshot of what was said by some of those who should be looking down and making their apologies. Included here are Maureen Dowd, Chris Matthews, and Barry McCaffrey, the latter one of the retired-general second guessers Vice President Dick Cheney dubbed “embedded in television studios.” This list is far from all-inclusive, but a taste of the shame many should be feeling today. The Media Research Center, AndrewSullivan.Com, and Corner readers were invaluable in putting this together.

R. W. Apple
“Bush Peril: Shifting Sand and Fickle Opinion”
New York Times, March 30, 2003

“With every passing day, it is more evident that the allies made two gross military misjudgments in concluding that coalition forces could safely bypass Basra and Nasiriya and that Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq would rise up against Saddam Hussein.”

With every passing day, it is more evident that the failure to obtain permission from Turkey for American troops to cross its territory and open a northern front constituted a diplomatic debacle. With every passing day, it is more evident that the allies made two gross military misjudgments in concluding that coalition forces could safely bypass Basra and Nasiriya and that Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq would rise up against Saddam Hussein. Already, the commander of American ground forces in the war zone has conceded that the war that they are fighting is not the one they and their officers had foreseen. 'Shock and awe' neither shocked nor awed.

 

Peter Arnett
Iraqi TV, March 30

“The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance.”

It is clear that within the United States there is growing challenge to President Bush about the conduct of the war and also opposition to the war. So our reports about civilian casualties here, about the resistance of the Iraqi forces...help those who oppose the war . . .

The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another war plan.

Clearly, the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces. And I personally do not understand how that happened, because I've been here many times and in my commentaries on television I would tell the Americans about the determination of the Iraqi forces....But me, and others who felt the same way, were not listened to by the Bush administration.

 

Eric Alterman
Can We Talk?
The Nation, April 3, 2003

“Is Wolfowitz really so ignorant of history as to believe the Iraqis would welcome us as 'their hoped-for liberators'?”

To make matters worse, many of these Jewish hard-liners — "Likudniks" in the current parlance — appear, at least from a distance, to be behaving in accordance with traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes. Much to the delight of genuine anti-Semites of the left and right, the idea of a new war to remove Saddam was partially conceived at the behest of Likud politician Benjamin Netanyahu in a document written expressly for him by Perle, Feith and others in 1996. Some, like Perle, apparently see the influence they wield as an opportunity to get rich. What's more, many of these same Jews joined Rumsfeld and Cheney in underselling the difficulty of the war, in what may have been a ruse designed to embroil America in a broad military conflagration that would help smite Israel's enemies. Did Perle, for instance, genuinely believe "support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder"? Is Wolfowitz really so ignorant of history as to believe the Iraqis would welcome us as "their hoped-for liberators"?


Maureen Dowd
“Back Off, Syria And Iran!”
New York Times
, March 30, 2003

“In cranking up their war plan with expurgated intelligence, the hawks left the ground troops exposed and insufficiently briefed on the fedayeen. Ideology should not shape facts when lives are at stake.”

Retired generals were even more critical of the Rumsfeld doctrine of underwhelming force. The defense chief is so enamored of technology and air power that he overrode the risk of pitting 130,000-strong American ground forces — the vast majority of the front-line troops have never fired at a live enemy before — against 350,000 Iraqi fighters, who have kept their aim sharp on their own people.

The incoherence of the battle plan — which some retired generals say is three infantry divisions short — has made the guts and stamina and ingenuity of American forces even more remarkable. . . .

….But in pursuit of what they call a "moral" foreign policy, they stretched and obscured the truth. First, they hyped C.I.A. intelligence to fit their contention that Saddam and Al Qaeda were linked. Then they sent Colin Powell out with hyped evidence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Then, when they were drawing up the battle plan, they soft-pedaled C.I.A. and Pentagon intelligence warnings that U.S. troops would face significant resistance from Saddam's guerrilla fighters.

In cranking up their war plan with expurgated intelligence, the hawks left the ground troops exposed and insufficiently briefed on the fedayeen. Ideology should not shape facts when lives are at stake.

Asked about General Wallace's remarks, Donald Rumsfeld shrugged them off, noting that anyone who read Amnesty International reports should have known the Iraqis were barbarians.

Rummy was too busy shaking his fist at Syria and Iran to worry about the shortage of troops in Iraq.

As one administration official marveled: "Hasn't the guy bitten off enough this week?"



Nicholas D. Kristof
“The Stones of Baghdad”
New York Times, October 4, 2002

“[I]f President Bush thinks our invasion and occupation will go smoothly because Iraqis will welcome us, then [he] is deluding himself.”

From their perch in Washington, President Bush and his advisers seem to have convinced themselves that an invasion will proceed easily because many Iraqis will dance in the streets to welcome American troops. That looks like a potentially catastrophic misreading of Iraq.

Consider Dahlia Abdulrahim and Intidhar Abdulrahim, two young women I met at an English-language used-book shop in Baghdad. Dahlia reads romance novels, while Intidhar favors Thomas Hardy. So will they be cheering the American troops rolling through Baghdad?

"I will throw stones at them," Dahlia said.

"Maybe I will throw knives," Intidhar said brightly.

Those two women are broadly representative of Iraqis I spoke to. If American military strategy assumes popular support from Iraqis facilitating an invasion and occupation, the White House is making an error that could haunt us for years.

After scores of interviews with ordinary people from Mosul in the north to Basra in the south, I've reached two conclusions:

1. Iraqis dislike and distrust Saddam Hussein, particularly outside the Sunni heartland, and many Iraqis will be delighted to see him gone.

2. Iraqis hate the United States government even more than they hate Saddam, and they are even more distrustful of America's intentions than Saddam's.

"America is a new colonial power that wants to dominate," warns Rahim Majid, a farmer from Karbala.

"Americans are not coming to help us, but for our oil," frets Naseem Jawad, a merchant in Najaf….

….while I found few people willing to fight for Saddam, I encountered plenty of nationalists willing to defend Iraq against Yankee invaders. And while ordinary Iraqis were very friendly toward me, they were enraged at the U.S. after 11 years of economic sanctions….

….So if Saddam thinks the average Iraqi is going to miss him, he's deluding himself. But if President Bush thinks our invasion and occupation will go smoothly because Iraqis will welcome us, then he too is deluding himself.



Chris Matthews
“To Iraq and Ruin”
August 25, 2002, the San Francisco Chronicle

“This invasion of Iraq, if it goes off, will join the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Desert One, Beirut and Somalia in the history of military catastrophe.”

The American people are not committed to a U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Cheney's staff is. Rumsfeld's deputies are. The White House speech-writing office is. The guys they're working under are.

But what about the families of those who will do the fighting? What about the country that will have to suffer the casualties that are the wreckage of every war?

A Washington Post/ABC poll found 57 percent of us back a ground attack on Baghdad but that's if there are no significant casualties. Faced with that prospect, 51 percent oppose it.

Is this a strong base from which to launch a pre-emptive attack on a country on the other side of the world? To send several hundred thousand U.S. service people on a mission to take over a country, remove its political leadership from power and install one of our choosing?

It's time to recall the Powell doctrine of the 1980s and recall the names that gave it resonance: Vietnam and Beirut.

With memories of those misconceived missions fresh and painful, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and his chief military assistant, Gen. Colin Powell, drafted new criteria for overseas military involvement.

War should be a last resort, undertaken only with precise political and military goals and clear support from the American public and the Congress. There must be a clear exit strategy, and a will to deploy overwhelming force.

Powell condemned the ambiguous mission objectives that led to the 1983 Lebanon fiasco that cost us the lives of so many young Marines:

"When the political objective is important, clearly defined and understood, when the risks are acceptable, and when the use of force can be effectively combined with diplomatic and economic policies, then clear and unambiguous objectives must be given to armed forces," Powell wrote in his autobiography. "When we use force we should not be equivocal; we should win and win decisively."

So we drop tens of thousands of airborne troops into Baghdad. We look for Saddam Hussein. We wear gas masks to protect us from whatever chemical and biological weapons the Iraqi leader has stockpiled for just this occasion. A threatened Israel mobilizes for war.

All this against the backdrop of an Arab and Islamic world in riot. In Cairo, President Hosni Mubarak must tighten his grip, igniting even more opposition. Jordan's King Abdullah joins his country's Palestinian majority in condemning the attack. The Saudi Arabian royals are silent. The Muslims and anti-war elements of Europe take to the boulevards.

Then comes the messy part.

Our troops in Baghdad morph into a nervous constabulary force. Their mission: guard streets, shoot snipers, arrest the suspicious, keep order, find the Hussein loyalists, round up the members of his ruling party, root out plots, battle the terrorists.

For how long?

How long were we in Beirut before that "peacekeeping" mission ended with a barracks being blown sky-high by a suicide bomber? How long were we in Saigon?

This invasion of Iraq, if it goes off, will join the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Desert One, Beirut and Somalia in the history of military catastrophe.

What will set it apart, distinguishing it for all time, is the immense — and transparent — political stupidity.

A mission to attack one isolated enemy will end up isolating us. A mission justified by the fight with terrorism will give birth to millions of terrorist-supporting haters. In every cafe from Manila to Casablanca, just whom do you think they will be rooting for? Just whom will their kids be killing themselves for?



Barry McCaffrey
BBC’s Newsnight, as reported by Reuters, March 24, 2003

“[W]e could take, bluntly, a couple to 3,000 casualties.”

Retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, commander of the 24th Infantry Division 12 years ago, said the U.S.-led force faced "a very dicey two to three day battle" as it pushes north toward the Iraqi capital.

"We ought to be able to do it (take Baghdad)," he told the Newsnight Program on Britain's BBC Television late on Monday.

"In the process if they (the Iraqis) actually fight, and that's one of the assumptions, clearly it's going to be brutal, dangerous work and we could take, bluntly, a couple to 3,000 casualties," said McCaffrey who became one of the most senior ranking members of the U.S. military following the 1991 war.

"So if they (the Americans and British) are unwilling to face up to that, we may have a difficult time of it taking down Baghdad and Tikrit up to the north west."

McCaffrey said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had misjudged the nature of the conflict. Asked if Rumsfeld made a mistake by not sending more troops to start the offensive, McCaffrey replied: "Yes, sure. I think everybody told him that."

"I think he thought these were U.S. generals with their feet planted in World War II that didn't understand the new way of warfare," he added.

U.S. forces have advanced more than 200 miles into Iraqi territory since the start of the war and are beginning to confront an elite division of the Republican Guards deployed to defend the capital.

"So it ought to be a very dicey two to three day battle out there." McCaffrey said of the confrontation with the Republican Guards.

He said his personal view was that the invading troops would "take them (the Iraqis) apart."

"But we've never done something like this with this modest a force at such a distance from its bases," he warned.

 

Robert Wright
The War and the Peace
April 1, 2003, Slate

“. . . the Pentagon's failure to send enough troops to take Baghdad fairly quickly could complicate the postwar occupation . . . ”

As the war drags on, any stifled sympathy for the American invasion will tend to evaporate. As more civilians die and more Iraqis see their "resistance" hailed across the Arab world as a watershed in the struggle against Western imperialism, the traditionally despised Saddam could gain appreciable support among his people. So, the Pentagon's failure to send enough troops to take Baghdad fairly quickly could complicate the postwar occupation, to say nothing of the war itself.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: alterman; arnett; barrymccaffrey; chrismatthews; dowd; ericalterman; kristof; liberalmedia; maureendowd; mccaffrey; nicholaskristof; peterarnett; robertwright; rwapple; wright

1 posted on 04/10/2003 5:43:53 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Yesterday was the worst day since the creation of Israel
for Arabs, Islamic terrorists, the New York Times, the Boston Globe
and many terrorist-loving Democrats.


2 posted on 04/10/2003 5:47:12 AM PDT by Diogenesis (If you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.)
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To: All

God Bless This Great Country!


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3 posted on 04/10/2003 5:49:12 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: SJackson
In fairness to Chris, he has admitted he was wrong.
4 posted on 04/10/2003 5:51:59 AM PDT by GraniteStateConservative (Putting government in charge of morality is like putting pedophiles in charge of children.)
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To: SJackson
“This invasion of Iraq, if it goes off, will join the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Desert One, Beirut and Somalia in the history of military catastrophe.”

Very interesting Chris Matthews quote. The presidents involved in those debacles were: Democrat, Democrat, Democrat, Republican, Democrat. Think about it Chris.

5 posted on 04/10/2003 5:56:11 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: SJackson
The REAL hall of shame are all those so-called anti-war protestors (actually, just Bush-hating, property destroying, anarchists and union thugs). They didn't want Saddam removed and it follows then that they would want him still in power to maim, rape, torture, and murder Iraqis. A = they didn't want him removed; B = they wanted to maintain status quo; C = they hate Iraqis. It's a simple equation for those Leftists: A + B = C.

BTW, where is MurryMom these days - a true hater of Iraqis?

6 posted on 04/10/2003 5:58:08 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: SJackson
BUMP...
7 posted on 04/10/2003 6:05:23 AM PDT by tubebender (?)
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To: GraniteStateConservative
In fairness to Chris, he has admitted he was wrong.

Which is something we know Eric "TRUTH!" Alterman will never do. It will be interesting to see if McCaffrey does, though I'll be surprised.

8 posted on 04/10/2003 6:07:39 AM PDT by Timesink
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To: SJackson
Bump--must read!!
9 posted on 04/10/2003 6:08:21 AM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: anniegetyourgun
MurryMom hasn't posted since March 24.
10 posted on 04/10/2003 6:09:37 AM PDT by Timesink
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To: SJackson
From the Andrew Sullivan web site, the Von Hoffman Award nominees:

VON HOFFMAN AWARD I: Conventional Wisdom Watch, by Newsweek. A down-arrow for Dick Cheney: "Tells 'Meet the Press' just before war, 'We will be greeted as liberators.' An arrogant blunder for the ages." Nope, Newsweek. Yours was the "arrogant blunder for the ages." And on April 7!

VON HOFFMAN AWARD II: "In Baghdad the coalition forces confront a city apparently determined on resistance. They should remember Napoleon in Moscow, Hitler in Stalingrad, the Americans in Mogadishu and the Russians at Grozny. Hostile cities have ways of making life ghastly for aggressors. They are not like countryside. They seldom capitulate, least of all when their backs are to the wall. It took two years after the American withdrawal from Vietnam for Saigon to fall to the Vietcong. Kabul was ceded to the warlords only when the Taleban drove out of town. In the desert, armies fight armies. In cities, armies fight cities. The Iraqis were not stupid. They listened to Western strategists musing about how a desert battle would be a pushover. Things would get 'difficult' only if Saddam played the cad and drew the Americans into Baghdad. Why should he do otherwise?" - Simon Jenkins, the Times of London, in an article called - yes! - "Baghdad Will Be Near Impossible to Conquer," March 28.

VON HOFFMAN AWARD III: "[Al-Jazeera has shown] the resistance and anger of the Iraqi population, dismissed by Western propaganda as a sullen bunch waiting to throw flowers at Clint Eastwood lookalikes ... The idea that Iraq's population would have welcomed American forces entering the country after a terrifying aerial bombardment was always utterly implausible ... One can only wince at the way weak-minded policy hacks in the Pentagon and White House have spun out the 'ideas' of Lewis and Ajami into the scenario for a quick romp in a friendly Iraq ... pity the Iraqi civilians who must still suffer a great deal more before they are finally 'liberated'." - Edward Said, London Review of Books, April 17.

VON HOFFMAN AWARD IV: "It looked grimly like that scene in A Bridge Too Far, Richard Attenborough's epic on the Arnhem disaster, in which a British officer walks slowly up the great span with an umbrella in his hand to see if he can detect the Germans on the other side. But I knew the Americans were on the other side of this bridge and drove past it at great speed. Which provided a remarkable revelation. While American fighter-bombers criss-crossed the sky, while the ground shook to the sound of exploding ordnance, while the American tanks now stood above the Tigris, vast areas of Baghdad – astonishing when you consider the American claim to be "in the heart" of the city – remain under Saddam Hussein's control." - Robert Fisk, the Independent, April 9, i.e. the day of liberation.

VON HOFFMAN AWARD V: "The huge psychological victory for the coalition produced by the arrival of US tanks in front of the media centre in Baghdad has not finished off the regime, even though this coup came so soon after their shock arrival at the international airport. A compilation of the military detail in reports from journalists in Baghdad and an ear for the changing spin from Centcom gives a less victorious picture of the battle for the Iraqi capital than is shown in the media. For example, for three hours on Saturday Centcom said the US was in Baghdad to stay, not on a raid. Then, after some armoured vehicles had been damaged and some troops killed and injured, it became a raid as the troops withdrew. The selective and censored TV coverage obscures a military reality that has been neither as successful nor as difficult as it has seemed. Now, reports of total victory may be premature." - Dan Plesch, the Guardian, April 9, the day of liberation.

VON HOFFMAN AWARD VI: "As the war drags on, any stifled sympathy for the American invasion will tend to evaporate. As more civilians die and more Iraqis see their "resistance" hailed across the Arab world as a watershed in the struggle against Western imperialism, the traditionally despised Saddam could gain appreciable support among his people. So, the Pentagon's failure to send enough troops to take Baghdad fairly quickly could complicate the postwar occupation, to say nothing of the war itself." - Robert Wright, Slate, April 1.

VON HOFFMAN AWARD VII: "Is Wolfowitz really so ignorant of history as to believe the Iraqis would welcome us as 'their hoped-for liberators'?" - Eric Alterman, The Nation.

P.S.This award (for awful wartime predictions) is still wide open. Send me your late entries, with a URL address to verify. There's more accounting to do.

Nominations are still open.....

11 posted on 04/10/2003 6:09:50 AM PDT by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Republicam)
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To: Timesink
Perhaps she's too busy picking the crow from her teeth....
12 posted on 04/10/2003 6:12:24 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: SJackson

V for Victory       bump

V_for_Victory

13 posted on 04/10/2003 6:17:05 AM PDT by GirlShortstop
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some jackass named peter koopman in the san fran chronicle has an article in todays paper that says the iraqis in 'freedom square' went silent after the US flag went up. I emailed him to let him know some of us have an invention called TV in our homes and saw and heard the cheers. frickin' lefties are upset.
14 posted on 04/10/2003 6:19:48 AM PDT by KneelBeforeZod (Deus Lo Volt!)
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To: KneelBeforeZod
"I emailed him to let him know some of us have an invention called TV in our homes and saw and heard the cheers."

So many of the lefties in the media are still operating on the old paradigm that if they don't report it, you'll never find out about it. They still think they are the gatekeepers. Long after the gate has been smashed.

Michael

15 posted on 04/10/2003 6:26:42 AM PDT by Wright is right! (Have a profitable day!)
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To: KneelBeforeZod
And for people who did not have the opportunity to view that incredible moment, they will take him at his word. This is how history is rewritten. Thank you for emailing him.
16 posted on 04/10/2003 6:31:45 AM PDT by ican'tbelieveit
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To: Wright is right!; ican'tbelieveit
from last weeks SF Bay Guardian


17 posted on 04/10/2003 6:33:38 AM PDT by KneelBeforeZod (Deus Lo Volt!)
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To: SJackson
"Maybe I will throw knives," Intidhar said brightly.

Make a note: Don't bring a knife to a tank battle.

18 posted on 04/10/2003 6:36:43 AM PDT by dinasour
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To: anniegetyourgun
Do these people have dictionaries for their speak?
19 posted on 04/10/2003 6:43:35 AM PDT by freekitty
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To: anniegetyourgun
they wanted to maintain status quo

In diplomat-speak, maintaining the status quo is called "stability." After 9/11, we cannot tolerate the "status quo" in foreign affairs.

20 posted on 04/10/2003 1:00:16 PM PDT by My2Cents ("Well....there you go again.")
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To: ClearCase_guy
Prissy Chrissy is still pining away in sorrow that 9/11 didn't happen on Clinton's watch and Bubba missed his "chance at greatness."

(Defcon Delta Barf Alert....)

21 posted on 04/10/2003 1:04:20 PM PDT by RooRoobird14 (It's purple Koolaid time for the "Blame America First " crowd!!!)
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To: SJackson
This list is too short. I heard Arthur Kent, one-time "somebody", on Larry King just this past Saturday night, and he had the gall to lecture Winston Churchill (THE Winston Churchill's grandson, who in his own right is a writer, historian, and a former member of Parliment) that securing the peace in Iraq would be difficult without French and Russian cooperation because "France and Russia are more popular in Iraq than the United States." I emailed Larry and said that France and Russia were certainly more popular among the ruling elite (read: "Saddam regime") of Iraq, but as for the Iraqi people, who really knows what they think, since no one has been able to ask them in over 25 years. After viewing the scenes from central Baghdad yesterday, I'd like to see Arthur Kent make that statement again in the heart of Baghdad. The "Iraqi Street" seems to have refuted him.


22 posted on 04/10/2003 1:09:05 PM PDT by My2Cents ("Well....there you go again.")
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To: SJackson
Barry McCaffrey comes across particularly clueless in this all-star parade of cluelessness.

And he wants to run for president.

23 posted on 04/10/2003 1:10:09 PM PDT by dead
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To: My2Cents
Amen.
24 posted on 04/10/2003 1:17:20 PM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: SJackson; Liz; Howlin; Mudboy Slim; ALOHA RONNIE
Bump...
25 posted on 04/10/2003 5:04:45 PM PDT by Libloather
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To: Libloather; Joy Angela; Ragtime Cowgirl; conservogirl
...After our Heroic U.S. 7th Cavalry entered Iraq...

...Anti-U.S. Internationalist and...

...Friend of HILLARY RODHAM...

...WALTER CRONKITE...

...tried to get us to not believe..

...the Heroism we were all witnessing on our TV's with our own Eyes...

...by dismissing it as "Entertainment."


...This TV Propagandist has always been against Freedom and...

.."THAT's the way it really is, WALTER"
26 posted on 04/10/2003 7:39:01 PM PDT by ALOHA RONNIE (Vet-Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.LZXRAY.com ..,)
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To: All

Katie Couric: 'Hopefully' Saddam Made it to Syria

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/890152/posts



27 posted on 04/10/2003 8:23:02 PM PDT by Joy Angela
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To: SJackson
To all of those who thought the rats and the media, or actually they are one in the same, would be embarrassed for their anti Bush war remarks, they aren't. I understand they have decided this war is going so well because it is Bill Clinton's military that Bush used! Go figure.
28 posted on 04/10/2003 8:26:54 PM PDT by ladyinred
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To: All
SO SOON??

Do a search at http://google.com for "Hillary Clinton"
and note what sponser-ad pops-up on the right side of the page!

And it's a link for Democrats, no less!

"Hillary For President" Bumper Stickers
http://www.victorystore.com/gifts/democrat/democrat.htm



(What do they know that we don't know!?)

29 posted on 04/10/2003 9:26:57 PM PDT by Joy Angela
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