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The News We (CNN) Kept To Ourselves [must read]
The New York Times ^ | 04/11/03 | EASON JORDAN

Posted on 04/10/2003 9:16:06 PM PDT by Pokey78

ATLANTA — Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

For example, in the mid-1990's one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government's ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency's Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk.

Working for a foreign news organization provided Iraqi citizens no protection. The secret police terrorized Iraqis working for international press services who were courageous enough to try to provide accurate reporting. Some vanished, never to be heard from again. Others disappeared and then surfaced later with whispered tales of being hauled off and tortured in unimaginable ways. Obviously, other news organizations were in the same bind we were when it came to reporting on their own workers.

We also had to worry that our reporting might endanger Iraqis not on our payroll. I knew that CNN could not report that Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan. If we had gone with the story, I was sure he would have responded by killing the Iraqi translator who was the only other participant in the meeting. After all, secret police thugs brutalized even senior officials of the Information Ministry, just to keep them in line (one such official has long been missing all his fingernails).

Still, I felt I had a moral obligation to warn Jordan's monarch, and I did so the next day. King Hussein dismissed the threat as a madman's rant. A few months later Uday lured the brothers-in-law back to Baghdad; they were soon killed.

I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam Hussein was a maniac who had to be removed. One Foreign Ministry officer told me of a colleague who, finding out his brother had been executed by the regime, was forced, as a test of loyalty, to write a letter of congratulations on the act to Saddam Hussein. An aide to Uday once told me why he had no front teeth: henchmen had ripped them out with pliers and told him never to wear dentures, so he would always remember the price to be paid for upsetting his boss. Again, we could not broadcast anything these men said to us.

Last December, when I told Information Minister Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf that we intended to send reporters to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, he warned me they would "suffer the severest possible consequences." CNN went ahead, and in March, Kurdish officials presented us with evidence that they had thwarted an armed attack on our quarters in Erbil. This included videotaped confessions of two men identifying themselves as Iraqi intelligence agents who said their bosses in Baghdad told them the hotel actually housed C.I.A. and Israeli agents. The Kurds offered to let us interview the suspects on camera, but we refused, for fear of endangering our staff in Baghdad.

Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for "crimes," one of which included speaking with CNN on the phone. They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family's home.

I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely.

Eason Jordan is chief news executive at CNN.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 4thestate5thcolumn; biasmeanslayoffs; blameamericafirst; cablenewsnetwork; ccrm; censorship; chickennoodlenews; clintonnewsnetwork; cnn; cnnajoke; cnnbloodonhands; cnncoconspirator; cnndeception; cnndictators; cnnkeptquiet; cnnknew; cnnlied; cnnlies; coverup; deathsquads; easonjordan; enemedia; genevaconvention; hateamericafirst; iraq; iraqhistory; iraqifreedom; lamestreammedia; leakbeforediscovery; liars; liberalbias; liberalmedia; mediabias; neverforget; reportersuberotrture; rush; saddam; secretpolice; selfcensorship; torture; trysellingthetruth; uday; war; warcrime; warcrimes; wedontreportthat
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1 posted on 04/10/2003 9:16:06 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
Whaaaaaaaaaa- sniff, sniff
2 posted on 04/10/2003 9:18:32 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: All

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3 posted on 04/10/2003 9:20:11 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Pokey78
I knew it was BS when he said they were accused of being CIA. KGB yes, CIA no way in hell.
4 posted on 04/10/2003 9:20:16 PM PDT by SCHROLL
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To: Pokey78
I wonder if Judy Woodruff knows all this.

Or cares.
5 posted on 04/10/2003 9:20:19 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: Pokey78
I accuse CNN of being complicit in the torture of these people by cooperating with Iraqi authorities just so they could get a camera into Iraq.

It is too late too come clean. They are as guilty as the regime if they knew this was happening and still prostrated themselves just to get a story.

6 posted on 04/10/2003 9:21:16 PM PDT by Henk
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To: Pokey78
"Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff."

Bull! I believe these stories were withheld because CNN feared Iraq would have them removed from the country. Whatever the case, I hope that CNN has a severe case of the guilts right now because they were effectively allowing this regime to continue unreported.

7 posted on 04/10/2003 9:21:35 PM PDT by CatOwner
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To: Pokey78
And those bastards at CNN dared question whether we should let the weapons inspectors end the standoff. This makes me sick.
8 posted on 04/10/2003 9:21:56 PM PDT by gunnut
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To: Pokey78
And this from CNN . . . the bastards . . . and even if you buy into CNN's rationale for not going public, how could they still attempt in every way possible to undermine our political will to crush Saddam . . . sickos and bastards . . . CNN and Saddam both . . .
9 posted on 04/10/2003 9:22:41 PM PDT by LikeLight
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To: CatOwner
CNN was complicit in this regime's power. CNN was more interested in keeping a bureau open in Baghdad than telling the truth.

That should give us all pause, when we feel forgiving towards the media whores.

10 posted on 04/10/2003 9:23:07 PM PDT by dogbyte12
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To: Pokey78
OK< Hollywood....tell me this is just ok with you. That we should look the other way. That this is someone else's problem...go ahead susan siranwrap...timmy boobins, you tell me that this is fine, you gutless wonders.
11 posted on 04/10/2003 9:23:17 PM PDT by Jewels1091
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To: Henk
I hardly know what to make of this; I couldn't begin to express what I'm feeling right now.
12 posted on 04/10/2003 9:23:59 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: Pokey78
So why is CNN relieving themselves of a long kept secret to the NYTimes? Why not report it on CNN, LIVE?
13 posted on 04/10/2003 9:24:21 PM PDT by TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
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To: Pokey78
By failing to tell any of these stories CNN possibly could have contributed to the Hussein regime enduring and those abuses continuing.

Those stories coming from CNN would likely have had a major impact on the anti-war crowd.

Fortunately, it ended up not mattering.

They should have withdrawn totally from Iraq rather than stay and keep their mouths shut.

It's an interesting debate in journalistic ethics. I see Jordan's point, but I disagree with it.
14 posted on 04/10/2003 9:24:30 PM PDT by John H K
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To: Carolina; 1Mike; 3catsanadog; ~Kim4VRWC's~; A CA Guy; A Citizen Reporter; abner; Aeronaut; ...
Do not FAIL to read this article.
15 posted on 04/10/2003 9:24:37 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: dogbyte12
I hate to say this, but turn on CNN right now. You won't believe your eyes.
16 posted on 04/10/2003 9:25:50 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: Howlin
The Saddam regime corrupted, maimed, or killed everything it touched--from abstract truth, to flesh and blood, to everything in between.

Yet another reason to rejoice in the toppling of Saddam.

17 posted on 04/10/2003 9:27:26 PM PDT by Kevin Curry
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To: Pokey78
I guess to some of these a--holes, the story is more impt. than a life!

For some reason, CNN is more of an appeaser and has aided and abetted for much too long!

If my cameraman and my employees were dying and being tortured, THAT is the story!! What in the hell is a more impt. story that they were working on? My God!
18 posted on 04/10/2003 9:27:43 PM PDT by whadizit
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To: Pokey78
CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk

This Dreckspass (german word), this idiot enabler of Clinton and and his ilk, this week-kneed scum does not deserve the Freedom that our Founding Fathers pledged their sacred honor for. Sacred honor - this gerbil of the demoronic debauched wouldn't know sacred honor if he were standing under Sadam's statue when it fell on him. They are willing to claim that Westmoreland gassed innocents when he didn't, but they refrain from informing on Sadam when he did.

When I watched CNN I would curse and scream and throw things at the screen. Now I will just turn it off, and sit in stunned silence with the knowledge of that the blood of millions is on their hands - and on the hands of Ted Turner and Jane Fonda. And may God have mercy on their souls.

19 posted on 04/10/2003 9:28:40 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: Howlin
Is that what I think it is, surrendering Iraqi soldiers?
20 posted on 04/10/2003 9:29:41 PM PDT by alnick
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To: Kevin Curry
I am really struggling with my feelings about the reporters in Iraq who were NOT embedded.

I have this vision of them being "hotel jockeys," letting everybody else do the work.

Plus, I just found out that they had to pay CASH -- by the day -- just so they could report and attend the press briefings.

Why don't they COME CLEAN with that stuff? It's clearly making them unreliable reporters.

I am waiting to see what happens when the embeds get back and they can tell the truth.
21 posted on 04/10/2003 9:30:06 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: Pokey78
Yeah, real brave when saving their own sorry a$$es.

I'm sure he'd have sat and watched million of Jews thrown into ovens.

Some objectivity!
22 posted on 04/10/2003 9:30:46 PM PDT by Fledermaus (Victory in Iraq!)
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To: alnick
That's what they are saying.

They are walking south, away from N. Iraq; a lot of them are from South Iraq.

They said that their "commanders" took their ID.

Hmmm.
23 posted on 04/10/2003 9:31:10 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: Howlin
I hate to say this, but turn on CNN right now. You won't believe your eyes.

Can you elighten us cube-bound? (Don't have aTV at home either.)

24 posted on 04/10/2003 9:31:33 PM PDT by clamboat
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To: Howlin
When Jihad Johnny comes marching home ?...
25 posted on 04/10/2003 9:31:59 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Plus de fromage, s'il vous plait...)
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To: Pokey78
OK, well, I'll post this again:

I posted this on the Command Post blog:

This pretty much gives the lie to the "brave journalists in Baghdad to bring the world the truth" claim. In fact, CNN now admits that A) they have routinely suppressed the hideous truth about the Baghdad regime precisely because there were CNN people in Iraq, and B) their presence routinely got Iraqis tortured and killed.

One wonders why they were willing to risk Iraqi lives and prostitute themselves to Saddam's regime just to be able to say, "We have people in Baghdad."

I wish I could believe they would engage in some soul-searching about this, but their arrogance and self-righteousness is such that I cannot imagine it happening.

American journalism is a cesspool.

26 posted on 04/10/2003 9:32:33 PM PDT by The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
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To: Pokey78
Rush said stories like this would come out as soon as the war was over. This fascist regime was worse than the Nazis, the KGB, and the IRS combined. It's no wonder that the Iraqis cheered when the bombs started falling.
27 posted on 04/10/2003 9:32:45 PM PDT by Maurice Tift
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To: whadizit
I guess to some of these a--holes, the story is more impt. than a life!

But if they did tell some of the stories the fear was that more lives would be lost. If Saddam could control our media in this way - with fear - imagine what he did to his own people. I don't know what to think about this although I'm glad that the author finally is telling his story...lets see if the network as a whole will do this now.

28 posted on 04/10/2003 9:33:06 PM PDT by Born in a Rage
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To: Howlin
This is just the coward's way out. With Saddam gone, CNN should have been cheering on our troops, our president, and telling these stories every hour, on the the hour, for the last two weeks; at least. This story, appearing in the N.Y. Simes, means little and helps no one.
29 posted on 04/10/2003 9:33:15 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: Howlin
When getting the story and staying in Baghdad comes BEFORE people's lives.....it's time to re-evaluate what's important. Too little too late for this coward......
30 posted on 04/10/2003 9:33:44 PM PDT by BossLady (Satan & Saddam sittin in a tree........K.I.S.S.I.N.G......)
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To: Howlin
I am waiting to see what happens when the embeds get back and they can tell the truth.

There will be many long magazine articles and even books written by the embeds. I am very much looking forward to it.

31 posted on 04/10/2003 9:33:46 PM PDT by Kevin Curry
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To: Kevin Curry
I'm convinced the embeds could have been the most brillant stroke of this war; I believe they had the proverbial "attitude adjustment" toward the military and it's going to come out in their reporting.
32 posted on 04/10/2003 9:35:03 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: Howlin
"I couldn't being to express what I'm feeling right now."

Ditto! CNN has the blood of innocent Iraqi's on their hands!! I am so furious I would SPIT on any CNN employee right now if I could.

Willing to let a cameraman be tortured just to get a story WHICH WAS NOT NEARLY AS IMPT AS THE STORY RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES!!! JUST DAMN!!
33 posted on 04/10/2003 9:35:18 PM PDT by whadizit
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To: Pokey78
Re: Post 13


34 posted on 04/10/2003 9:37:10 PM PDT by TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
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To: BossLady
"...comes BEFORE people's lives...."

I felt the same way about the reporters at the Palestine Hotel!! They had minders limiting what they could report so WHAT IN THE HELL GOOD WAS THAT??!!
35 posted on 04/10/2003 9:37:11 PM PDT by whadizit
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To: Pokey78; Jim Robinson
This article should be tatooed on the forhead of every liberal democrat and journalist in the United States - and in Germany and France - so that we can know what quisling hypocritical cowards these folks are. The truth! These weak imbeciles can't handle the truth. The truth is that they were weighed and measured and found wanting and there is not a fire in Hell hot enough to burn out that blight on the world.
36 posted on 04/10/2003 9:37:55 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: Pokey78
Uday, told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan.

.......

A few months later Uday lured the brothers-in-law back to Baghdad; they were soon killed.

This jerk is complicit in a murder. I think these brothers-in-law were the ones who were talking about what Iraq was doing, and Uday, with CNN's prior knowledge, murdered them.

The First Amendment might give lots of protection for free speech. But it's not a license for murder.

I was discusted with CNN before. Now I'm beyond.

37 posted on 04/10/2003 9:38:59 PM PDT by narby (Whack that Wacky I-wracki)
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To: Pokey78
The writer seems to be saying that CNN was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Either report the truth and get coworkers tortured and killed, or ignore the truth and become a mouthpiece for Saddam Hussein. What about the other option? Admit that CNN couldn't operate freely in Iraq and pull out. By staying, CNN put more and more people under Saddam's thumb and became an Iraqi state-supported propaganda outlet.
38 posted on 04/10/2003 9:39:01 PM PDT by Toskrin
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To: Howlin
Howlin, I am not sure what to write in response to this..
39 posted on 04/10/2003 9:40:05 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
I wish I could believe they would engage in some soul-searching about this

What soul? Really, what?

40 posted on 04/10/2003 9:40:21 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: Henk
I accuse CNN of being complicit in the torture of these people by cooperating with Iraqi authorities just so they could get a camera into Iraq.

How do you spell mea culpa?

41 posted on 04/10/2003 9:40:30 PM PDT by InterceptPoint
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To: LiteKeeper
I thought my opinion of CNN couldn't get any worse. I simply cannot find the words to express my anger.
42 posted on 04/10/2003 9:40:42 PM PDT by pubmom (Evil thrives when good men do nothing.)
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To: Howlin
A sudden shift in coverage tonight? I guess CNN's polling results came in today.

It is one thing to keep secrets to protect lives. It is quite another to manipulate what stories are presented and how they are presented in order to delay and undercut attempts at liberating Iraq.

Perhaps this reporter is genuine. That just means that someone else at CNN decided to step into the shoes of Walter Duranty, to look the other way for the good of "The Movement".
43 posted on 04/10/2003 9:40:45 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Kevin Curry
"There will be many long magazine articles and even books written by the embeds. I am very much looking forward to it."

I wonder if the news organizations that sent these reporters to be embedded with the troops own the "rights" to these stories? Maybe the embeds had to sign an agreement saying that they weren't to publish any story without the editor's consent. Sort of like when you create a new product that becomes patented, but the company that employed you gets to keep the patent.

44 posted on 04/10/2003 9:40:51 PM PDT by CatOwner
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To: Howlin
"We also had to worry that our reporting might endanger Iraqis not on our payroll. I knew that CNN could not report that Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan. "

Why didn't he tell our govt about this?

45 posted on 04/10/2003 9:41:19 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: The Hon. Galahad Threepwood
Great, great post. You summed it all up perfectly!
46 posted on 04/10/2003 9:42:13 PM PDT by NYCVirago
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~
No kidding. We're OUR people debriefing him, too?
47 posted on 04/10/2003 9:42:15 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: whadizit
Well, exactly....like any one of these journalists were gonna get the 'golden goose egg' of stories there with minders and the g'ment trailing them everywhere. Why bother! If they were there to see the city fall....well....that seems legit.

The CNN people though knew about this for years and just went happily along with the situation.....GRRRRRRRRRR.....

48 posted on 04/10/2003 9:42:38 PM PDT by BossLady (Satan & Saddam sittin in a tree........K.I.S.S.I.N.G......)
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To: CatOwner
I sure hope not. If they keep personal diaries, they should have the freedom to write what they're experiencing..On the other hand..maybe cnn does own their thoughts.
49 posted on 04/10/2003 9:42:43 PM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: gunnut
"I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me."

gunnut, you said it. I feel like the Arab guy who said "no one believes Al Jazeera now". These media people should have been beating the drum for this war a long time ago.

what's with them. really, is a proper reception at a cocktail party on the Upper West Side worth all this?

"A man's reach must exceed his grasp/ Or what's a heaven for?" Robert Browning.

Great Post, original poster, if I hadn't checked the link myself I wouldn't have believed it to be true. Expecting to hear this dicussed tomorrow, which is today.

I love the 24 hour b*llsh*t dubbunking cycle!

50 posted on 04/10/2003 9:42:48 PM PDT by jocon307
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