Grandma in Iraq

Suzanne Fournier of Alexandria, grandmother of 15, posts from Iraq. Fournier is the Public Affairs Officer for the Gulf Region Southern District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iraq.

MONDAY, APRIL 03, 2006

Saving farmland in Iraq

I’d like to tell you about another water project that is very different than any we have in the United States. I know this seems strangely different than problems facing our farming communities, but let me try to explain why this drainage system and project are very important here in Iraq. The picture above is the Euphrates River. Iraq is fortunate to have two vibrant rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The land between these rivers, known as Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, is some of the most fertile land in the Middle East. This land has sustained those who lived here for many centuries.

As you would expect, farmers use the water from these two rivers to irrigate their crops. They farm with trenches for the water to flow between the rows of vegetables like you see in this picture. The soil has a high salt content contaminating runoff with sodium in the form of calcium, potassium and sodium chlorides. After irrigating the cultivated land, this runoff water is unusable for other purposes. The historic solution is to drain irrigation runoff water through a series of canals into a drainage system and out to the Persian Gulf. If farmers reuse this water, it will eventually ruin the fertile farmland. Years ago, Iraq built a series of drainage canals to collect this water. One drainage system collects farmland runoff water from the Euphrates Valley five provinces of Babil, Najaf, Diwaniyah, Muthana and Dhi Qar and empties it into the drain that collects water from the Baghdad area. The water from these two drains flows together and moves by natural gravity downward toward the Persian Gulf. Before it gets to the Gulf, the water must cross the Euphrates River so it is piped under the Euphrates and then continues in an open drainage ditch out to the Persian Gulf.

Here is a picture of the inside of a project building located near my home away

from home in Nasiriyah. Iraq. It is called the Nasiriyah Drainage Pump Station and is the largest drainage pump system of its kind in the Middle East. It stood empty for many years, but is necessary to make this drainage system work properly. The pump station construction started in 1982 by a Brazilian firm and was on again, off again, construction for the past 24 years. The 12 pumps and 12 swinging gates were purchased in Austria. The purchasing of equipment from a variety of different foreign countries was typical of the Saddam regime and is one of challenges we face with reconstruction. Construction of this project was frquently disrupted by political upheaval, war, lack of funds, flooding and finally the collapse of the cofferdam. I am explaining this in an effort to help you understand the multiple challenges faced by Iraq even for a situation that appears as simple as a drainage system to solve the irrigation problem. The purpose of this large pumping system is to push the water under the Euphrates River instead of relying upon natural gravity because gravity isn’t working.

This picture shows you the size of the structures that will use these circular openings and accomodate the water flowing through the building. Right now this contaminated drainage water is backed up and overflowing in the Nasiriyah area raising the ground water table. This water is concentrated with salt and is destroying the regional agriculture productivity; it is seeping into the Euphrates causing downstream contamination for two-million Basrah residents and the drainage ditches are overflowing, flooding and ruining productive farmland. This pump station will help to keep 232 square miles of agriculture farmland

fertile. I know that in Iraq, you all thought pump station were only for oil, but this pump will keep one of the most fertile agricultural regions the Middle East vibrant and productive. It will keep farmers employed, feed Iraq’s people and provide another source of revenue. Iraq can produce rice, grain, dates and vegetables for a healthy agricultural economy and export commodity.

This is where the water exits the pump station and goes into the syphon and under the Euphrates, you can just barely see the Eurphrates River over the top of the dammed area. You can also see the size of this structure by the car parked in the basin area. This work at the Nasiriyah Drainage Pump Station is being done cooperatively with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Iraq Ministry of Water Resources. it is expected to take a year to complete. It isn’t an easy process or it would have been completed years ago. I won’t bore you with the technical jargon, but let me just say challenges include installing 12 pumps, 12 swinging gates and 14 support system to operate the pumps, gates and the siphon structure. Finally most of this equipment has been sitting here since the 1980’s so some is deteriorated or parts are missing. Keep in mind, all these problems are greater because the former regime drained the marshlands. Draining the marshes compounded the historic salinity problem in Southern Iraq because plant life in the marshes acted as a natural filtering effect removing much of the salt from the water. There are several theories for why Saddam drained the marshlands and experts all have their own thoughts. The most

popular theory is so he could drive his tanks across this area to attack Iran; another was that he was punishing the Shia people for rebelling against him and still another was to drive the marshland people back to Iran because refugees could hideout in the marshlands. ------------------------------------------------------------------Let me take one minute to address a question that was raised today regarding my blog. I work for the US Army Corps of Engineers, they pay my salary and I volunteered to come over here as their employee to officially represent and communicate Iraq reconstruction work completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. This blog is done on my own time, I've tried to give you a personal view of what I've observed here, the people, the land and reconstruction activities. Apparently some people are unhappy that I am communicating with you directly, because they are challenging that I haven't informed you that I am a public affairs officer and my job is to work with the news media and American public. I've explained my job with the Corps several times in my blogs. If I have misled anyone, I sincerely apologize, that was clearly not my intent. I believe the American taxpayers have a right to know how their tax dollars are being invested in Iraq and I believe my current job puts me in a unique position to provide personal observations since I have traveled the Southern provinces of Iraq for the past eight months. The Enquirer has decided to open this blog to comments from anyone who wishes to post comments. I appreciate their openess and willingness to support freedom of expression. posted by Suzanne Fournier @ 2:03 PM 86 comments

86 Comments:

At 2:11 PM, Jeff Hamilton said...

propaganda: n. the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person : ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous said...

"...gravity isn’t working." oh my, nobody could have forseen that gravity would not work. stuff happens.

At 3:35 PM, Candrian said...

Over at the Cincinnati Enquirer's online site, Cincinnati.com, there's a blog about Iraq written by military staffer whose job is to generate positive news about U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq. Grandma in Iraq is the title of the blog, written by Suzanne M. Fournier, a Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. ie, this blog is a lie.

At 3:50 PM, Emma Morrow said...

Grandma, You have an EXCEPTIONALLY good blog, incredibly interesting and more in-depth reporting than anything you get on the network news. As you might have noticed, the Bush-Haters have defecated on your blog, but I just wanted to assure you that your contributions here are well-read and well-appreciated by those of us who want to understnad what's really happening to Iraq. God Bless you, God Bless our troops and God Bless America.

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous said...

Whatever Granny! More crap spoon-fed to us by a govt that won't just tell us the truth! Why? cuz the truth hurts.

At 4:06 PM, Anonymous said...

The fact that you didn't disclose you worked for the U.S. military is sad, pathetic and unsurprising. I, for one, have grown used to our government lying to us in every conceivable way -- so why not a blog from a "Grandma in Iraq"? The fact that you try to justify it as an effort "on your own time" shows you are still trying to spin your way out of this mess. I weep for the future. "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars." General William Westmoreland

At 4:10 PM, Anonymous said...

Testifying before the senate budget committee, CONDI Rice said "large portions" of the Iraqi infrastructure had been modernized and about 227,000 (not 400,000) "quality" Iraqi troops had been trained and equipped to battle a insurgency alongside US forces. But THEN SHE ADMITTED that the process of raising an Iraqi army and police force had got off to a bumpy start. "To be fair, we made a mistake earlier. We relied on NUMBER rather than on QUALITY," she said. Military officials say that of the 227 000 trained and equipped Iraqis, fewer than 100 000 have been organized into battalions as fighting forces. The NUmber of Independently Fightinf Iraq battalions has Gone from THREE TO ZERO. yes ZERO IRAQI battalions can gight w/out us.

Rice also clashed with senator Conrad, who took issue with her assessment that the Americans had boosted the capacity for clean water for seven million Iraqis and four million had better sewage operations. Conrad cited official figures showing the percentage of Iraqis with clean drinking water had DECLINED from 50% before the war to 32% now. Those with decent sewage were down from 24% to 20%. When Rice countered that it might be the difference between delivery or capacity, Conrad shot back: "We can improve capacity, that's great. But at the end of the day, what matters to people is to get it!" RICE, VISIBLY SHAKEN< BACKED OFF and recognized that US forces had shifted the focus from large-scale reconstruction projects to more local efforts "to make certain that there is also better delivery for Iraqis". Electricity Hits Three-Year Low in Iraq 3.02.06 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060314/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_powerle ss Former Iraqi Prime Minister: Iraq Is In A Civil War "It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is…We are in a terrible civil conflict now." In 2004, Bush said it was unacceptable to question the credibility of Allawi’s assessment of Iraq: "Well, Prime Minister Allawi was here; he is the leader of that country. He’s a brave, brave man. When he came, after giving a speech to the Congress, my opponent questioned his credibility. You can’t change the dynamics on the ground if you’ve criticized the brave leader of Iraq."

If you want News about how well the Govt is doing in Iraq, listen to the govt shilld. IF you want the truth about how well the Govt is doing in Iraq, find the Congressional testimony.

At 5:27 PM, David F said...

I'm not sure why "Anonymous" has chosen this as his forum, but I do note that, from the beginning of this blog to the end, you've always identified your employer. I'm happy that you have written this blog. I doubt that "Anonymous" has anything to contribute, but I'm sure that he hasn't anything but empty rhetoric and unsustainable statistics to offer. Thanks to all who are doing the great work over there, not in spite of the under-reporting and blogger attacks, but even moreso because of it! :) Hope you have a great trip home soon, too.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous said...

The Enquirer has decided to open this blog to comments from anyone who wishes to post comments. ...which the paper only did because today bloggers got wind of this PR flak project and called bull**** to editors at the paper. (The Enquirer's political blog has always allowed anonymous postings.)

Congratulate the Enquirer's newfound openness all you want, but be honest and state that they only did it after scrutiny and criticism from outside. While we're taking about openness, Ms. Fournier, please state online who at the Enquirer hired you to run this blog and when, and to whom at the paper do you report? We look forward to your prompt and thorough reply.

At 5:44 PM, Dr. Joe said...

Suzanne, I have read your weblog for several months and I have very much appreciated that you volunteered to go to Iraq and that you have shared your own observations. You have contributed a lot to my understanding of the situation in Iraq, which is very complex. I'm grateful that you have told us what you saw in ways anyone can understand. God bless you and God bless America.

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous said...

While we're taking about openness, Ms. Fournier, please state online who at the Enquirer hired you to run this blog and when, and to whom at the paper do you report? We look forward to your prompt and thorough reply. Ditto.

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous said...

Okay, Granny in Iraq, out with it. Who are you really. Anonymous number one vants to know, and he has vays to make you talk, ja? I have read your blog, and knew you worked in the Army as a civilian, and enjoyed your descriptions of Iraq, the people and especially the kids. You put yourself in harm,s way, away from home and family to help people in need. Anonymous number one does not believe anyone could do that, so you must be part of a vast conspiracy to blind the American public, Ja? Please ignore him, or her. They are sarcastic, angry, hateful little people (and judging from the tone of his or her blog, very self important) and all they want to do is tear down. You are helping to build up. Keep up the good work, we are behind you. Signed; Anonymous number two.

At 6:45 PM, Anonymous said...

The sad part is I'm not very surprised to learn that the Pentagon is planting propaganda in our newspapers.

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous said...

I think it's sad this country has come down to an "us vs. them" mentality and if you're not on the "right side" or express views similar to yours

(i.e. whichever political way you lean), then you are wrong, a liar, etc. Truly, truly sad. I'm glad we live in a country which allows freedom of expression, I just which we'd use that right more wisely.

At 10:19 PM, furtail said...

I only raised the issue that Grandma works for the Army as a public affairs person because, although I do believe Grandma can bring her own observations to the table, I would doubt that anything "controversial" or "negative" from the military's point of view would be allowed. I've read three posts so far; they all seem to be quite rosy and wonderful. I've met many people who've traveled to Iraq and not a single person has described Iraq the way Grandma has. That is why I suspected that the blog wasn't very genuinely her own thoughts (I suspect that if she's an intelligent, articulate, thoughtful human being, then not every post would be so "rosy", it just defies logic). The posts rather remind me when I was in high school, and I would read editorials in Pravda during Soviet times. Yes, propaganda. I would like to know if Grandma talks to ordinary Shia (70 % of whom want the US to leave). What do they think of the US activities? Do you get to go to their homes?

At 10:34 PM, furtail said...

I just noticed that the tagline on your blog states that you are a public affairs officer. That tagline was NOT present until I posted a question yesterday and apparently some other people called the Enquirer editor about your status. Is this correct? Why the disclosure now? It seems really strange...

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous said...

What's the matter, Ms. Fournier? Can't you answer for yourself? I thought you were rough and tough regular Army? When are you going to tell us who at the Enquirer hired you? Or are you just going to hide behind the cover of these Bush flaks?

At 11:27 PM, Lauria said...

I do not doubt that some progress has been made in restoring Iraq's infrastructure, but from documented reports to Congress, I must conclude not nearly enough has been done, and none of us should forget that the rebuilding would not be necessary, had we avoided invading a sovereign nation under false pretenses. Yes, Granny's posts are too overtly rosy to be logical. It is a war zone, after all, where good news is the exception rather than the rule. I'm not surprised that this blog was produced, written and directed by someone in our government, because it isn't the first time this

administration has used the media to further its propaganda. Radio hosts, newspaper reporters, tv newscasts, and even a fake reporter in the White House pressroom have been utilized to further Bush's agenda.

At 1:36 AM, Paul said...

Mrs. Fournier, I look forward to reading your blog every weekend. There was never any confusion as to what your job was in Iraq and why you were making posts to your blog. Don't worry about a few who only like to defame something that is useful and enlightening to others. I'm sure a lot of the readers enjoy your postings, I know I do. Thanks for all the information and good stories.

At 3:00 AM, Anonymous said...

I wonder what Paul finds enlightening in Grandma's blogs. It is a big contradiction to say that lies are enlightening. A public relations person is hired to make their employeer or his cause or both look good. They are image sellers. Hello people! Aren't you curious about the real progress being made in Iraq. After all our young men and our tax dollars are being used in Iraq everyday.

At 5:00 AM, Fred Bieling said...

So many Anonymous commentors here.... Who is who?

At 7:45 AM, Anonymous said...

This is a great blog because it offers a personal, real-life view of things. I've read it many times and I don't fault the author at all for anything. She's clearly indicated what her affiliation and role is. however, cincinnati.com should have made her military affiliation more obvious. I'm no pro-Bush, anti-Bush or anything. I just appreciate the fact that this person is donating her time so that people like me can get more information we can't get anywhere else. I especially like the photos and would like to see more of them. The first posts about the schools she visited are still very fresh in my mind and that must have been a year or more ago. I really appreciate what Grandma is doing and I think we should thank her, and probably do something for her when she gets back.

At 7:54 AM, Jon Greenbaum said...

I don't get it. You expect us to believe you that you write this on your own time? You're kidding, right? I don't even believe that you are a Grandma. The Bush administration has lost all credibility with the American people and it is because of weak attempts at propaganda like your blog. Bush and Cheney lied about why they invaded Iraq (did you

see Bush evade Helen Thomas' question? He kept talking about 9/11 and Afghanistan which kind of proved her point) and they've covered it up by spending millions on propaganda. That propaganda was planted in the Iraq media. But big surprise! Now they are planting propaganda in the domestic media. It's great that some Americans want to help the Iraqi people who have suffered under years of sanctions that the U.S. pushed through the UN. According to the World Health Organization the sanctions meant that Iraq wasn't able to address the infrastructure damage we inflicted in the Gulf War. The WHO points out that a half a million children died as a result of those sanctions. Later studies identifiy that number at more like only a quarter of a million children. OK, U.S. foreign policy only killed a quarter of a million children. Your job is to twist that reality to blame the problems on Saddam Hussein and put lipstick on a the U.S. foreign policy. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died for lies and ideology. The Bush neocons wanted a free market utopia in Iraq. Reality intervened. Now, despite the attempts of the U.S. Army corps to fix stuff, the reality is that the U.S. presence in Iraq is causing chaos, not preventing it. The unemployed Iraqi youth in the brigades are not stupid. They know what Bush and Bremer tried to do and they are pissed off and willing to die to expel us. If we don't hand the country over to a multinational peacekeeping force the country will continue to slide into the fire. You can deceive yourself all you want that you are a good American just trying to help the poor people of Iraq, but the reality is that you are a tool of the Bush administration's attempt to rob the Iraqi people of their nation and resources. I don't believe in good and evil but if there was such a thing you'd have to ask yourself which side you are on. Come home. We need you here. You aren't helping anybody over there. You are the bandaid applied to the side of the hornets nest that we have just wacked and continue to meddle in.

At 9:21 AM, Jon Garfunkel said...

There's nothing wrong with an Army public affairs officer writing a "blog" from Iraq. The question is whether the Cincinatti Enquirer wants to abrogate itself from the business of reporting. It would have far greater journalistic value if you were to use this forum with Ms. Fournier to have a moderated Q&A interaction. A "blog" is the cheap way out, and you know it.

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous said...

Ms. Fournier, We're still waiting to hear who at the Enquirer hired you and to whom you report. There's nothing confidential about that information. We await your reply.

At 11:00 AM, Shawna H. said...

Mrs. FournierI know for a fact you are an upstanding, honest person. And definetly a real grandma. Thank you for serving your country as you do. It has greatly upset me to see all the negativity about what you are doing to help others. Those that do not believe that their is "rosiness" over in Iraq, get off your high and mighty horses, and self-centeredness and come to reality. The media sure as heck has not once depicted Iraq as the civialin DOD and military personell see it. The media only shows the negative side of things. Try doing the job we do daily. We fight to protect you so shut the hell up. Mrs. Fournier please don't let the ignorence of several bloggers affect you. You are doing a terrific job. I myself am very proud of you and say to you and my fellow soldiers: THANK YOU FOR A JOB WELL DONE!!!!!!!!! "HOOAH!! It's an Army thing you wouldn't understand"

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous said...

We fight to protect you so shut the hell up. Wrong. You fight to protect us so we won't have to shut the hell up like the dictatorships that we're not supposed to be like. It's called the Bill of Rights. Like it or not, the Consitution says anyone, including you, has the right

to criticize our government. If you don't understand that, it's unclear what you're defending.

At 11:33 AM, Shawna H said...

To those that do not understand the US Government and Military: 1) Mrs. Fournier is not part of the military. She is a civlian working WITH the military to help others. 2) Try going to a recruiting office and ask and see just how many "rights" we that chose to serve our country give up so that you can rest at night. So you can have your freedom of speech and expression and all you other freedoms. 3) You know its interesting how so many are "defaming" this blog. All its about is helping the farmland over in Iraq so that the people can survive and live. Not all Iraqies are bad. To Mrs. Fournier and all those that serve our country whether AD, ARG, IRR etc KEEP IT UP YOU ARE ALL AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 11:34 AM, Emma Morrow said...

And Democrats wonder why the American Public doesn't think they are patriotic...

You only need to read the comments on this blog to understand how deeply Hatred has perverted the Left.

At 11:36 AM, skipsailing said...

It doesn't really take much courage to post snitty anonymous comments on a blog. doing that isn't "truth to power" it's abject poverty of spirit. the true bigots and haters in America today are to be found on the left side of the political spectrum. Scanning through the comments here I am appalled at the lack of good manners, the poor language skills and the unwillingness of so many to tolerate another POV. We are lectured by left continually about tolerance, yet they show no tolerance themselves. We are supposed to accept all sorts of insults to our culture in the name of "progess" while those who make these demands behave like the semi literate boors they really are. Reading The posting by Grandma in Iraq lead to quite an insight. The issue with which she is contending is similar to the issue facing farmers in the Southwest. Arizona for example faces the fact that as the water they need comes from further away it's cost rises and its quality diminishes. If you smarmy unkempt lefties can get over yourselves long enough to actually do some research, may I suggest that you look up the history of the Salton Sea? Agricultural tailwater from surrounding high volume

farms is killing this accidentally created body of water. Another interesting insight provided by Grandma in Iraq is that Sadam's government went about its business in a very haphazard manner. While the pumping station itself is no doubt quite necessary the bizarre collection of hardware from all sorts of diverse suppliers showed that baksheesh not common sense drove the aquisition process under Saddam. the left, of course, cannot recognize that Saddam ravaged Iraq for his own personal gain. to do so would be tantamount to admitting that the US is doing a masterful job of recovering from thirty years of depredation. Just the story of the Marsh Arabs alone, so completely ignored by the left and their lackies in MSM, should tell anyone exactly what kind of person Saddam was. I don't see this as propaganda at all. Those who term it such are simply thoughtless bigots. And thanks to our current educational system, thoughtless bigots are a dime a dozen in America today. Thank you Grandma, for your service to our country. Please remember: nihil illegitimata non carborundum.

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous said...

Grandma, I think your blog is excellent and found the information provided to be very insightful and educational. My only qualm would be that it should have been delivered in a more transparent manner. I think the

disclosure currently at the top of the blog should have been there from the beginning. That being said I think your message is important to be conveyed and deserves a forum. I just wish the Enquirer would have been a bit more clear about your job description.

At 12:24 PM, Bob Sanderson said...

I think that it is great that "Grandma" posts her views and that they are consistent with her employer the US Government and fit in nicely with her PR job.They should be prefaced and clearly marked with her role and employer in Iraq. Plesase get your message out honestly and let people weight it given the right information. The Cinci Enquirer should know better. and by all means: God Bless you, God Bless our troops , God Bless America and God Bless the Cinci Enquirer.

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous said...

i've read your blog before, and didn't know you were a public affairs officer, but did think that your postings were a little too well-crafted to be simply a casual blog. it all makes more sense now.

At 12:25 PM, Bob Sanderson said...

I think that it is great that "Grandma" posts her views and that they are consistent with her employer the US Government and fit in nicely with her PR job.They should be prefaced and clearly marked with her role and employer in Iraq. Plesase get your message out honestly and let people weight it given the right information. The Cinci Enquirer should know better. and by all means: God Bless you, God Bless our troops , God Bless America and God Bless the Cinci Enquirer.

At 12:34 PM, Marleen L. Samuelson said...

Transparency is the key to honest communication. I think the Cincy Enquire needs to explain how it came, by stealth, encourage a public affairs officer to extend her role by blogging. I'm sure I just couldn't start promoting my ideas with them as say Mom or Auntie which I am.

At 12:39 PM, Chyndra said...

I don't understand why Grandma needs cover to tell the story she is telling. If it is solely public works, we as Amaericana need to hear how all the hundreds millions of our Tax dollars are being spent and what results we are getting with our nation building activities in Iraq.

At 12:48 PM, skipsailing said...

Marleen, you make no sense at all. yet your comments are pretty typical here. let's face it, if you didn't know the provenance of the author you would either accept or reject her blog based on your own understanding of the situation. but once you determined that the author has a relationship with the American government and it's dreaded military you instantly assume that nothing the author writes is to be trusted. Sneering cynicism is hardly an effective substitute for honest inquiry. You seem to prefer the former and not the latter. How sad for you and all the other whining ankle biting watergate wannabes that are spewing their venom here. shame on you.

At 12:52 PM, skipsailing said...

Here's a perfect example of the kind of thoughtless bigotry the left now uses in the place of honest debate. Candrian's very words: "Grandma in Iraq is the title of the blog, written by Suzanne M. Fournier, a Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. ie, this blog is a lie." This is you, american left, in all your glory. Candrian simply calls the author a liar based on absolutely no facts at all. the left has sunk to the lowest level of discourse, simple name calling. School yard bullies have more ability than this. How sad that there are so many nasty, angry cowards out there who's sole act of "courage" is to post a bigoted comment on a website. How pathetic

At 12:54 PM, Chyndra said...

...and by all means please let us know how you came to blog here and who at the Enquire supports your blog cause I'd like to blog a few ideas. My son is in Iraq for his second tour of duty with the Marines. He has some candid things he'd like to share here about the security situation and what we need to do to begin to win the Iraqis over to our way of thinking and doing things. We already have them voting! God Bless the Marines

At 1:45 PM, seguin said...

JEEBUS! Who put out the Troll Feed? Hey, whiny jackasses - you don't like it, then LEAVE AND QUIT CLUTTERING UP THE COMMENTS SECTION! Somebody might have something useful to say!

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous said...

This post is directed toward user 'skipsailing' regarding his or her earlier post. I will attempt to analyze the most important parts. "I am appalled at ... the unwillingness of so many to tolerate another POV." What is the other POV that is not being tolerated? Is it the view that it's acceptable for the Enquirer to withhold the *extremely relevant* affiliation/job of the author? There's nothing wrong with being intolerant of this occurrence. "We are lectured by left continually about tolerance, yet they show no tolerance themselves." Yes, progressives *are* not tolerant of misleading "news" because a well-informed populace is critical to democracy. Are you against democracy?

"We are supposed to accept all sorts of insults to our culture..." If your culture is one of propaganda and government control of the people (rather than by and for the people) toward the ends of very few, then yes, this culture will be insulted. "If you smarmy unkempt lefties can get over yourselves..." I thought you said the true bigots and haters are to be found on the *left* side of the political spectrum and that you were appalled at the lack of good manners? I guess you changed your mind. "...long enough to actually do some research, may I suggest that you look up the history of the Salton Sea?" Nobody has written that every fact in this blog is a lie. What a stupid half-argument you just almost made. "The left, of course, cannot recognize that Saddam ravaged Iraq for his own personal gain. to do so would be tantamount to admitting that the US is doing a masterful job of recovering from thirty years of depredation." So that makes it ok that the Bush administration cherry-picked reports to show that there were weapons when there was insufficient evidence to make that determination. It really is black and white with you people. Saddam was "bad," so, no matter what this administration has done (even though they planned to take over Iraq well before the presidency, and then fit the "facts" to the policy), it must be purely "good." It has been the lack of scrutiny of our officials and the cowering to vague fear and bigotry on the part of people like you that allowed all this to happen. And yes, many are not tolerant of what you have done. "[This damning evidence] should tell anyone exactly what kind of person

Saddam was." No one refutes the "kind of person" he was -- don't you see how manipulated you've been that you think that this is a major point of contention. No wonder you hate the left, you've been tricked into thinking that they deny such points as these. This truth may be hard to deal with, but don't come crying to me - blame the rightwing/media/Bush gang that feed each other while they take from you (assuming your net worth is below a certain threshold or you can’t be “paid” by the implementation of your own religious doctrine as law). "Thank you Grandma, for your service to our country." Ah, finally we agree. - Mike L. ny923atYahoo.com ps. You criticized anonymous postings, however, you are almost equally as anonymous as your username is not tied to any personally identifiable information.

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous said...

It seems very odd and unethical that a newspaper's online division would allow US Army Corp of Engineer PR person to blog out comments which by any standard are only promotional for the current US administration's use of our military. Hey, Cincinnati Enquirer - at best you've mislead your regional and

national readers. At worst, you've become a mouthpiece for the biggest military boondoggle in US history. Too bad, huh. Jim Oakland

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous said...

Mike L. -- you're my hero. And shame on the Cinci Enq. for failing to disclose "Grandma"'s true background.

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous said...

Here's where to get information about what's really going on from people who don't have the option of leaving when the sh*t really hits the fan: http://www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

At 3:24 PM, skipsailing said...

nothing like an angry liberal to demonstrate the physical manifestations of an excess of hubris. chyndra, best of luck to your Marine. You must be quite proud. It takes real parenting skill to raise a child with the courage and fortitude to join the marines. Now as to anonymous comments: here's the big difference. I leave a trail. My screen name is applied to every posting I make here and elsewhere while anonymous could be anybody and is often quite a few people. so there is no way to track comments for consistency of thought. Frankly I'm pleased that the debate has shifted from this fine blogger to my comments. The lady who writes the blog has important things to do. More important than fending off the swarm of angry harpies posting here as "anonymous". If I have offended anyone's delicate sensibilities that's just too bad. Whiners. you guys couldn't lift chyndra's son's rucksack. the best you can do is express righteous indignation in the comments section of what is actually a very interesting blog. Oh and based on seguin's oh so pithy insight one can assume that a troll is anybody that disagrees with the left's recieved wisdom. did I get that right Seguin?

At 4:02 PM, SUPERIOR AMERICAN said...

Grandma! Grandma! Cookies! I want Cookies! And hugs and hot chocolate! Please?!Please?!Please?! You should be called Superior Grandma. Don't worry what the naysayers say. You gotta have faith. I mean thats all we Bush People have anyway.

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous said...

Yes, skipsailing, you do leave a trail. And with luck, a couple biohazard suits, a hose, and disinfectant, it can be taken care of.

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous said...

http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,89811,00.html "CENTCOM Eyes Blogs to Shape Opinion InsideDefense.com NewsStand | Jason Sherman | March 03, 2006 In a bid to find new ways to influence public opinion about U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a small media affairs team in Tampa has burrowed into the mushrooming cyber world of blogs and persuaded hundreds of Web sites -- which then link to thousands of other sites -to post content prepared by military public affairs officials.

Since last July, the Florida-based U.S. Central Command's public affairs staff -- in an effort recently praised by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for its innovation -- has been initiating contact with editors of Web sites that cover operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, offering the same news releases and stories written by military officials that are made available to journalists affiliated with traditional media outlets." More at the above link.

At 5:17 PM, skipsailing said...

don't you just wish those pesky military types would just stop trying to win?

At 5:31 PM, Morris Coleman said...

Unfortunately, this forum has become a left vs. right battleground and lost all of its meaning, even as I am typing this, more meaning is being lost (for the simple fact that I am adding to such a superfluous thing as commentary on a blog). But here is the dichotomy of it all, we need to hear both sides. Everyone is free to speak their mind and is free not to listen to the other side. You can be a puppet of the left or the right, but it seems there is little objectivity here. Those who make the paranoid attacks against the government are in fact the very thing they despise. They have chosen, as they are protected to choose, to only listen to one side. This blog (and others like it: CENTCOM) is simply another avenue to get information. If you want to get a more rounded view you should look at multiple sources. Besides, it is a blog and

should be taken with a grain of salt. It is also on the Internet, so full of information, misinformation and billions upon billions of pages of nonsense, check your sources and find out if they are credible (with that in mind, a higher percentage of Americans trust the military than the media, honestly, I can't give you numbers or the exact facts, but I've seen it and it's disproportionate, of course, it all depends on who's doing the polling, but maybe we should look at multiple sources to find the middle ground, especially when it comes to world affairs). And if you want to look further into it, look at the fact that there is more news out there than Iraq or Bush or, here's the shocker, America; try BBC or BBC World, or Al Jazeera, their lack of being American gives a better look at the stories that are covered and there is less bias and more newsworthiness. Now, there is a smart quip for every single comment here (and I'm sure a few even within my comments), but there's no sense in being witty to anyone that will listen, but not hear, that has already passed judgement, someone who is as worthy an opponent in an argument as a wall. This is red comments talking to red and blue to blue because the high emotion has made sides, with or against, in this silly blog commentary forum social disection where no one is actually absorbing because the frivolous thoughts are meaningless (the blog on the other hand has much meaning no matter who wrote it because it has sparked a dialogue of sorts, not a very good dialogue, but maybe once all the emotions are out we can get to the point, maybe then we can really learn from one another). If someone argues with themselves in the woods and no one is around, do they make a sound, or better yet, is there an argument? All this anger stems from some place, and it's not about being lied to or feeling misguided, that is misplaced, probably by the same people that supported the war until they were convinced they were misguided and have done a complete 180 because of the betrayal, and instead of supporting parts, they want to get as far away as possible and set themselves apart as a staunch anti-war activist (much like a homophobic homosexual). Betrayal leads to severe rivalries, even if one is wrong, just to prove the point that the other was wrong too, expelling countless energy (possibly a new green way to produce power for this country) to contradict everything the other says, even when the former makes

sense. A running theme is that of the mistrust of government. Question government, but lacking any trust shows apathy toward a system for change that will not change, though it will, (why try to change it when it's all against me and it won't do any good anyways?) A system of victims. Another key issue of this blog commentary is the hopping on the bandwagon without knowing the issue, but a part that is picked; therefore, taken out of context. Fundamentalists use this tactic all the time to make a point where none really exists by simply choosing what will further thier cause (they too, like to use emotion in their arguments). Another group of folks got half the story and made the rest up as suits their cause. To bash left or right is insulting; to lump people as one within that group is insulting; to defame the character of someone, without any basis, who is stating their opinion shows there is really no argument to be made; using emotion is a false argument (unfortunately it works). Once you get to name calling, you've lost me. Once you lump everyone, you've become intolerant. And not everyone on this forum is doing that, but many are overwhelmingly negative. My analysis of the questions here is much like my analysis of the news from US sources - we are asking the wrong questions because we hop on a bandwagon of false truths (yes, I said false truths because too often do we take one source and make that our rally cry when, now here's something to remember, the first report is generally always wrong). I urge everyone who has written a response to go back and actually read what they have written, and if they are objective, they will see 90 percent has been written emotionally, which is good for TV, but not good to base facts on (facts that I see, but I don't believe from either side). I'm not going to quote any statistics or cleverly point out all the errors in again, 90 percent of all postings, or take quotes from Webster's Dictionary because define one word for me that I can't tear apart with another, and I'll show you someone who's right (not conservative, but correct). As for the infamous "they" and the right to keep anonymous, understand "they" is simply you or an extension of you and the very attack, attacks your own character because the government is made up of you, and therefore you are lying to yourself, and therefore you are full of self hate (seems extreme and full of fallacy, but did I mention to go back and read what you originally

wrote; you is the term for all in this forum if you hadn't gotten that by now). And to add to the paranoia of many, you have the right to be anonymous, but the accused also has the right to face their accuser; besides, there's no need to be anonymous because if the government is really watching then think about how you posted your comments and then realize you were using a computer and then realize that they are watching you so I wouldn't make any international phone calls, because they will get to you some way (possibly by planting people where you work, your neighbors or through the very newspaper you read, which will fill your head with more rumors than the magazine rack at the grocery store checkout). The issue I truly see is not really about this blog at all, but about the distrust of the administration (an inherent problem in most arguments is lumping the administration and government into a single entity, which would be like saying since in a republic the people make up the government, then everyone is part of the same administration and we are no longer able to dissent for fear of the government watching, which by they are, but they are much sneakier by planting people, just like the movies). There is a distinction between the elected administration and its appointees and the millions of people who work for the government and work for you the people, who swear allegiance to uphold the constitution (this is much more than any have done or be honored to do). Oh, I believe I missed the point (as many others have as well). The point is why there wasn’t full disclosure and the answer to that is actually quite simple - that in today’s age of blogs, information and misinformation readily available on the Internet (and the obvious media and PC savvy people out there know this) no one thought to use a simple search engine to find a little more about the person they are attacking before making allegations. Google it, it really works. Narrow down, use common sense. There is no argument because in all reality, people only feel duped because they were too lazy to do any of their own research if they were questioning the phantom person who was placed by the Pentagon to get into your newspapers and take over your brain making you become one with the administration, nonsense. I don’t see the difference from average everyday person writing a blog about their life and the average everyday person who writes a blog about their life (and works for a

government agency). It may be viewed as a conflict, but it’s not posing as hard news and shouldn’t replace hard news because after all, it is a blog. Besides, it is still about their experience and no one can say it’s not when they aren’t that person – half empty, half full. No one can speak for me when I can speak for myself. I guess many of us feel paralyzed to solve any real problems from a grass roots level or even in our own personal lives and that’s why we blog or read blogs or attack blogs because we feel like we can change something if enough people will rise up against a faceless adversary that is ourselves. Left and right is the new religion and we are taking sides praying to the Almighty Donkey or Elephant. We'll never be free from our politics; therefore, this forum is a senseless battle that has lost all meaning. Even as I write this, its meaning was lost.

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous said...

Wow dude, try to use paragraphs. It makes for an easier read, not that anyone on the planet is going to read your entire post. But I would have gotten further if you had used paragraphs.

At 7:51 PM, Anonymous said...

Here is a report from a real Iraqi over at riverbend: I don’t think anyone imagined three years ago that things could be quite this bad today. The last few weeks have been ridden with tension. I’m

so tired of it all- we’re all tired. Three years and the electricity is worse than ever. The security situation has gone from bad to worse. The country feels like it’s on the brink of chaos once more- but a pre-planned, pre-fabricated chaos being led by religious militias and zealots. School, college and work have been on again, off again affairs. It seems for every two days of work/school, there are five days of sitting at home waiting for the situation to improve. Right now college and school are on hold because the “arba3eeniya” or the “40th Day” is coming upmore black and green flags, mobs of men in black and latmiyas. We were told the children should try going back to school next Wednesday. I say “try” because prior to the much-awaited parliamentary meeting a couple of days ago, schools were out. After the Samarra mosque bombing, schools were out. The children have been at home this year more than they’ve been in school.

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous said...

Skip honey, come home.

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous said...

Editor & Publisher, the leading journal covering the newspaper industry just reported about this blog. From the article: (Enquirer assistant managing editor Chris) Graves declined to say why

the blog had been started or how Fournier had been recruited for the position, noting it had started under her predecessor, Dave Heller, who is now with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Calls to Heller, Enquirer Editor Tom Callinan and James Jackson, the paper's vice president/online, were not immediately returned. E&P also e-mailed Fournier in Iraq, but has yet to receive a response.

At 9:23 PM, Chyndra said...

I am sad to hear much of the discussion here because all I do is worry about my son. He is a career soldier and didn't think twice about going back. That said, his feeling is that this war is off the track. He feels the soldiers are doing a great job but that the war is being lost by the people in the pay grades above his that designed the strategy and tactics for the war. He thinks in the past six months there has been a great change in how the population in his area (SHiite) views the troops. They are going on patrol alot less and feel like we are giving up the territory to militias. This all makes me more worried and I think that should also be blogged somewhere.

At 10:36 PM, smintheus said...

If you were to read British, or German, newspapers from 1915, you'd find similar propaganda telling you, dear reader, that all is going well with the Nation's great crusade to make the world safe for us. On the streets, you would also hear denunciations of anybody who was thought to be insufficiently patriotic...that is to say, who was not absurdly enthusiastic about the government's policies. This blog is out and out war propaganda of the classic sort. There are two outrages here. One, that the Enquirer would not make a serious effort to warn readers that the blogger is a government flack. The second and bigger outrage is that they would allow a government flack to use their site in the first place, with or without transparency. Reporting ought to be the business of reporters. If the newspaper wishes to give space to non-professionals, then oughtn't they be giving equal prominence to an informed critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policies? I'm a well-known critic, have written extensively on line about the unfolding fiasco that is the Iraq war (check out this website for some fun documents that you won't see being discussed here at this blog). I also live in Cincinnati. I'd be happy to provide a little balance to the Enquirer's blog palette. Who hired you anyway, Grandma in Iraq? A lot of people have asked, including the good folks at Editor & Publisher, but not a peep from you or the newspaper. Perhaps everybody recognizes what a PR disaster this is turning into?

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous said...

The only thing I can say is she has more guts than all these other babies crying about things. If you think she is lying -- go over there and see for yourself -- otherwise shut up. If you think she is lying -- ask all the other Western journalist that are giving you the "unbiased" news how many days they have been out of their cozy hotel rooms in the past month. Not many -- they are too lazy to get the real news.

At 12:05 AM, SUPERIORAMERICAN said...

Superior argument Anon.

At 12:37 AM, D said...

BS propaganda. This blog is a lie!

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous said...

To user 'skipsailing': You posted recently but did not address my post above which is critical of many of your earlier claims. Please take a look and share your thoughts with us. Thank you.

It's the other one that's signed: -Mike L. ny923atYahoo.com

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous said...

The Cincinnati Beacon just published this open letter to Enquirer editor Tom Callinan asking for answers to who hired Ms. Fournier and to whom does she report.

At 10:23 AM, skipsailing said...

Mike, if you want to debate with me, think up a screen name or start a blog. It can't be that hard. One can divide people into two groups, the people who are doing something and the people who aren't. here we have an interesting blog produced by someone who is doing something. At the end of her day this lady will have worked to accomplish something of value. and the harpies who post here? What will they have accomplished at the end of the day? what is the finished product that these righteously

indignant twits can point to with pride? Years ago, in my callow youth, Paul Simon wrote a song about folks like the harpies here. Here's the snippet that comes to mind when I read some of the nastier comments posted on this blog: "And we speak of things that matter with words that must be said can analysis be worthwhile is the theatre really dead?" and blah, blah, blah. The world needs people who are actually focused on getting something done. Sadly they bear the burden of those who would rather just talk. I'm looking forward to another insightful post from our gracious hostess.

At 11:07 AM, skipsailing said...

Let me respond to smintheus. Well I don't know about the newspapers of 1915, but I do know a bit about the next big war that followed 1915. Was there dissent, of course there was. there are a few stark contrasts though: first, patriotism wasn't such a bad thing back then. America has always had her detractors but within the country itself people were proud to call themselves American. I'm proud to be an American now. That doesn't mean that I blindly follow President bush and heartily approve of everything he does.

Hardly, bush is no where near as conservative as I and thus I find some of his ideas to be distasteful. but, you know Smintheus, we are in a war and it's important that we win. so I keep my criticisms of the war effort to myself because that is IMHO the patriotic thing to do. Many folks, most notably those one the left side of the poltical spectrum, find old fashioned patriotism to be, well, old fashioned. What these folks ignore is that the fact that most americans truly do love thier country. further, out of respect for the brave men and women actually fighting in these far away wars, we should mind the caution "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". If you support the troops, then you should mind your manners. Your pseudo outrage at the blog here is laughable. Oh my, you're outraged! but why? Again, many on the left side of politics have adopted a sneering cynicism. This intolerant thoughtless response to everything that isn't "approved" results in the kinds of bigotry we see in smintheus' post. Here's an example: "reporting ought to be the business of reporters...". Oh really? and what sacramental blessings have been conferred upon these magical beings you call 'reporters'? How did these 'reporters' achieve such an exalted state that they, and only they, have the god given right to 'report'? Stuff and nonsense smintheus. If you don't trust the contents of this blog, don't bleeping read it. Take your righteously indignant self elsewhere but spare us your pseudo intellectual musing. And why is the newspaper that supports this blog under any obligation to "give equal prominence" to anybody? Is there some little known

amendment to the constitution that mandates this? I suppose that if the Enquirer really needed to published the disconnected musings of angry pompous gas bag they would need look no further than smintheus. he is, as he says "a well known critic" who lives in cincinnati. And I'm sure that the shot at the spot light so rudely stolen by a grandmother doing an interesting job in Iraq would be most welcome by this guy. But smintheus does make a point: the gracious author of this blog was HIRED. That is, somebody is paying her to do something other than bloviate on some comments section. It is easy to imagine that this is truly smintheus' issue here. Grandma's getting paid to write and smintheus is eating his heart out.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous said...

skip == righteously indignant sneering disconnected smarmy unkempt angry pompous gas bag, true bigot, pseudo intellectual, harpie, hater and semi literate boor no where near as conservative as I giving intolerant thoughtless responses to everything that isn't "approved". You don't have anything nice to say. You don't support the troops. Shut up skip.

At 2:18 PM, transparent Joe said...

Editor of the Cinci Enquirer apologized for not being upfront with the information regarding Grandma's PR position and employer. This was the key deception and he admitted it! He refused to say how it happened and who was responsible. A sad affair for a great paper.

At 3:07 PM, smintheus said...

Skipsailing, I can't see an ounce of sense in anything you say. I point you to propaganda of WWI, which you can't be bothered to investigate, and you confuse it with WWII. The Iraq War, like WWI, but arguably unlike WWII, is a war of choice. Indeed, both Iraq and WWI were sold to the public by whipping up largely baseless fears, by making stuff up; and then the wars dragged on, for years, without any obvious progress and no plan to change strategy so as to achieve military success. In both cases, governments sought to maintain public support for their failed policies by means of aggressive propaganda campaigns. These included demonizing those who dare to speak up. And here you have the nerve to float some of those very elements of propaganda ('If you can't support the gov., then shut up.') Why do you suppose patriots speak out against governmental incompetence and wrong-doing? In the hopes of improving things, of holding the government accountable? Or merely to annoy you personally? As for my criticisms directed against the newspaper for its failure to be transparent, how could anybody defend it? It has itself admitted to a

failure of transparency. Interesting psychological profile you've created for me. Small probelems though: I already do have a job. Oh, and my blogging already has gotten as much publicity as any publicity-hound could want. But carry on.

At 4:22 PM, skipsailing said...

One learns so much about a person by examining closely the words that are chosen. Here's a good example. My interlocutor uses the word "sold" when discussing the run up to the war. For a person who is trying (vainly it seems) to prop up your creds I'm surprised that you'd chose a word like that. the war wasn't "sold" to me. I did'nt "buy" it like some bill of goods from the DLC. The Iraq excursion always made sense to me from a strategic, tactical and logistic POV. It was the right move in what will be a long war. YOU may have chosen to see no progress in Iraq but I see enormous advances there. I remain highly optimistic about the ultimate outcome of this war and I find the vitriol level in postings such as yours to be inversely proportional to your expectations concerning your own predictions. In short, the more the evidence contradicts your prophecies the more

angry your posts will become. Further, comparing "the great war" to iraq is just a not so clever way to say quagmire without invoking viet Nam. Not even a nice try. I don't see the government doing anything other than attempting to offset the MSM's myopia on the war. The legacy media has gotten the war in Iraq wrong and they are starting to realize that. The response to the west virgina question should have sent the boys in board rooms scurrying. They've clearly lost their audience. The American military has long employed a variety of means to get thier message out, this blog is simply a modernization of the kinds of public affairs activities our military has always used. that this is suddenly offensive to you speaks more to your thin skin and lack of historical insight than to any nefarious plot by the people in the pentagon. You see boogie men everywhere it seems. and then you misquote me: I was speaking directly to a support of the troops. many on the american left have tried the "I support the troops but not the mission" BS. If that applies to you, I am merely suggesting a way you can support the troops. Stop giving aid and comfort to our enemies. how hard is that to understand? The only hope the killers and thugs in the middle east have is that fools in america will some how pull off another viet nam. so all this blather simply gives them hope. And hope is among the things our enemy must be denied. Can you understand that? Let me say it a different way: It's not about your rights, its about your responsibilities. An adult understands this. If

your words make the situation worse for our soldiers in Iraq then don't say them. OK? As a matter of fact I do take unfounded whining personally. I have a huge stake in the outcome in iraq, and so do you. do you imagine that if we lose there it will be bad for bush and bush alone? Are you really that self centered? do you feel lucky? Are you expecting that the next terrorist attack in america will somehow spare iraq war critics while mowing down "neo cons" and others who disagree with your POV? Really? Because if we lose in Iraq, America will face a long tough hammering as our enemies seek to consolidate their gains. Again, if you really knew any history, you would know that. and what obligation does the newspaper actually have to "be transparent"? It isn't a government agency, it's a private enterprise. Ever wonder how much of the news that actually winds up in print is based on press releases? Are newspapers typically advising their readers that stories are in fact based on the work of PR "flacks"? simply put, the anger here isn't about anything other than the typical righteous indignation of American left. That IBM or Progressive Insurance would have a PR department that employs "flacks" that produce Press releases and attempts to "spin" stories doesn't get your undies in a bunch, but let someone from the Army corps of engineers talk about good deeds done by Americans in Iraq and whammo, instant Ire. Who are you trying to kid? Me or youself? Defend it? from what? Some poster who has arrogated to himself the role of judge and jury? Yes, it is an interesting psychological profile. All your "self touting"

reminds me of Richard Nixon. You say you are a well respected blogger, Nixon said he wasn't a crook. Got a dog named checkers perhaps?

At 4:27 PM, ihadnothingtodowiththis said...

I couldn't agree with Morris Coleman any more than I already do.

At 6:17 PM, smintheus said...

Skipsailing, The Iraq war wasn't sold? Oddly, that's exactly the terminology Andrew Card used in the summer of 2002, about not rolling out a new product in August. Don't like the comparison to WWI? Perhaps because it doesn't help you to maintain that over-confidence that things are going spiffingly in this war. The whole civil war unfolding, of course, is making it harder and harder to maintain that fiction however, isn't it? MSM don't know what's really going on in Iraq? Like Tom Lasseter for Knight Ridder, who unlike you is actually out and about talking to Americans and Iraqis. The rest of what you say, such as accusations of aid and comfort to the enemy, is just abusive. So Ann Coulter.

At 1:13 PM, skipsailing said...

It wasn't sold to me. My point is quite straightforward. Your use of words, those with a pejorative connotation did not go unnoticed by this reader. ah, the current anti war boogie man: civil War. No definition, no metrics, no evidence. There's a civil war because the anti war crowd wants one. yeah, right. the anti war crowd NEEDS a civil war, because otherwise there would be little or nothing to whine about, and you guys can't have that, no can you? another point that just seems wasted on the bigoted left (yes, that means you pal). When that question was asked at the president's press conference in west virginia the crowd errupted. CNN sensing the shift immediately panicked and did a "show" with guys in Iraq Vs Guys in the states. Hugh Hewitt and Michael Yon disagreed with the apologists from the MSM. Most notably that lover of the enemy Michael Ware. The MSM is simply not looking good right now, and neither are their clients: people such as yourself. too many egregious errors, too much reliance on the old tricks without any recognition that the rules have changed, a complete inability to grasp the fact that Americans are walking away from them in droves. One of the very nicest things about the internet is the ability to select our information sources. You read whom you chose and I do likewise.

here's my list: ITM, Michael Yon, Captain's quarters, NRO, The Belmont Club, the fourth rail, the mudville gazette (which is how I found this marvelous blog), the middle east form, MEMRI and the strategy page. that's plenty enough to give me a glimpse of what's going on. I feel quite well informed, thank you very much. and by virtue of these sites I have the opportunity to interact with both iraqis and soldiers. Please note: no Juan Cole, no Daily KOS, no DU. You get your info from your sources and I have mine.

Juan cole's savage attacks on Stephen vincent destroyed any pretense to credibility the putative professor might have had. To level an attack so wrong and vitriolic that the grieving widow felt compelled to respond is simply beyond the pale. the man is to shunned, put to the hiss of honorable men everywhere. conspicuous in its absence is any rebuttal to my contention that PR operations are common place in America. Are you willing to concede, sir, that you simply over reacted because of the nature of this blog's fine author's employment? It certainly seems that way to me. You compare me to Ann coulter and I will take that as a compliment. I don't watch TV so I don't know how she comes across there. I don't read popular political books because I'm more interested in history right now, so the only exposure I've had to her writing is the occassional magazine article. She's acerbic, witty and conservative. And she's well paid.

Once again, sir, are you dining on your own heart?

At 5:34 PM, mintmilano said...

"I believe the American taxpayers have a right to know how their tax dollars are being invested in Iraq and I believe my current job puts me in a unique position to provide personal observations since I have traveled the Southern provinces of Iraq for the past eight months." The problem is that you are still being evasive about the connection between these two things. The way our tax dollars are being invested... is in paying you to put up this one sided fake journalism. You have repeatedly represented the fact that you are a paid spokesperson and the fact that you write this blog as if they were unrelated things. You say it is on your own time, but it is also clearly within the scope of what you say your job is. Are you or are you not specifically paid for doing this by the military ? In your official duties, is this blog represented as part of your job ? Does it appear on your resume, performance reviews, and is it known to your superiors ? Let's get down to brass tacks here. Everybody with any sense of reality knows that Iraq is in a terrible state now. Your "work" is essentially an attempt to give reinforcement of a small group of people on one extreme of the political sphere that have decided they prefer to believe lies over the truth. Now, I have no illusions that I am going to change those peoples' minds; they do not have what it takes to admit they were wrong about this war in the first place, which is why they seek out your "work". Cincinnati is full of people like that, which is why you are

associated with a backwater rag like the Enquirer instead of a real paper (well, your lack of journalism credentials and ethics might have something to do with it too). I believe taxpayers have a right to know that I am NOT being paid to call you out.

At 6:38 PM, skipsailing said...

Yes, let's get down to brass tacks. Starting with this unfounded generalization: " Everybody with any sense of reality knows that Iraq is in a terrible state now." Really? is that so? How do you measure this sir? Against what objective standard? What is really interesting is the subtle bigotry contained with the sentence. Basically this guy says that if one disagrees well, then one simply has no sense of reality. Now that's the writing style of a person with a truly open mind. right? this next quote is even more entertaining: "Your "work" is essentially an attempt to give reinforcement of a small group of people on one extreme of the political sphere that have decided they prefer to believe lies over the truth." if indeed this small group of people did as you suggest, why would they need reinforcement? According to folks like you they've already "drank

the koolaid" so Grandma's work here is done, no? and of course there's more of that oh so subtle bigotry. This time the underlying assumption is that anyone who admires or respects the work of this blog's author is simply incapable of telling fact from fiction. yes once again we see the open mindedness of this poster on display. so in two sentences we have this: Only fools would disagree with mintmilano (good cookie BTW) and those fools are fools because they cannot, as only people like mintmilano can, discern the truth. yes, its truly amazing how arrogant some folks can be. And look how well that arrogance has done at the ballot box. John Kerry used mintmilano's techniques everyday. And it worked oh so well. yeah, right. it's good that you have no illusions about changing people's minds because it will take far more that what you have on offer to do so. although you might try by listening to those who disagree with you, instead of simply offending them. or is giving offense a critical part of your style? Further, you might try reading a few milblogs. You know, blogs written by men and women doing what you lack the courage to do: fight in iraq. Should you deign to do this you'll find that many, many members of our fine military spend their off duty hours sharing their thoughts, their actions, their fears and their hopes. Unlike you, they do something important with their lives. so does grandma here. comparing her to you, well, I'd take grandma anyday. She's smart, articulate and brave. and all you are is angry and boorish.

pity, that. I could go on. for example let me point out that I have more than enough courage to admit that I was RIGHT about Iraq, from the get go. Oh and one final thing. I have pointed out elsewhere that "journalism ethics" is an oxymoron. We've watched the media self destruct over the past couple of years and its a process that won't be stopped by pandering to the likes of you. The entire field of journalism is under assault right now and well it should be. Examples of poor performance, agenda driven reporting, smear campaigns and out right lies are everywhere to be seen. If journalism as a trade wishes to regain whatever credibility it once had, the current effort in Iraq offers a valuable opportunity. the media in america is at a cross roads. they must recognize new technologies and audiences and they must rid themselves of the ghosts of all those anklebiting watergate wannabees that have traded true morality for a shot at a pulitzer.

At 7:20 PM, mintmilano said...

skipsailing, you've got nothin', which is why you are now trying to turn this whole thread into a personal pissing match. Degrading this conversation helps you because you don't like the direction it's going. However, that's not your choice to make, tempting as it is to point out some of the numerous examples of hypocrisy in your most recent post alone.

You're the one that is, apparently, saying everything in Iraq is peachykeen. This is at odds with the basic fact that many thousands of people have died violent deaths before their time and continue to do so every day (because people like you bought Bush's story and thought a war would be a great idea). Are you actually denying this ? "The entire field of journalism is under assault right now and well it should be. Examples of poor performance, agenda driven reporting, smear campaigns and out right lies are everywhere to be seen." I have to say, you got that right.

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous said...

THE WAR IS A LIE AND YOU KNOW IT The Plame Game What Murray Waas’s big scoop may really tell us about Bush’s pre-war deceptions. By Greg Sargent Web Exclusive: 04.04.06

Murray Waas’s latest scoop -- in which he broke new ground with a detailed account of the Bush administration’s deceptions about Iraq -has won plenty of plaudits already. But its true larger significance is still crying out to be explained. To do this we need to step back and look at his revelation in the context of the ongoing investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame. If you do, you can see that what once were a bunch of disparate subplots -- the pre-war duplicity, the 2004 election, the Libby indictment, the

continuing investigation into Karl Rove -- suddenly can be woven together into one grand narrative that makes coherent sense in a way that much of this story didn’t before. And the resulting storyline is not a pretty one. Waas's story -- presuming it’s right, and his track record has thus far been admirable -- suggests a plausible motive for both “Scooter” Libby and Karl Rove to have misled the grand jury about Plame. Their motive for doing this has hitherto been rather difficult to explain. Why, many have asked, would Libby and Rove have lied and risked perjury charges about a transgression that may not have been illegal in the first place? Waas’s story suggests a possible answer. The story begins as follows: Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush’s 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews. Hadley was particularly concerned that the public might learn of a classified one-page summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, specifically written for Bush in October 2002. The summary said that although “most agencies judge” that the aluminum tubes were “related to a uranium enrichment effort,” the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's intelligence branch “believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons.” Three months after receiving that assessment, the president stated without qualification in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein

recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase highstrength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.” There are several things we can take from this. The first is that, according to Waas, since October 2002 there has existed a smoking-gun that proved Bush had been told that some intelligence officials thought the tubes were for conventional weapons, not nukes -- well before he repeated the tale in his 2003 speech. The administration did acknowledge under fire six months after the speech that one chunk of evidence of Saddam’s nuke ambitions -- the alleged procurement of uranium effort -- was wrong. But Bush's advisers largely defused that controversy by insulating the president from it. Meanwhile, the administration leaned heavily on the tubes story, which was central to its rationale for war. It's already known that some administration officials had pre-invasion doubts about the tubes, and that Bush more or less was told about those doubts. But Waas’s discovery, presuming he's right, is a big step forward. It constitutes concrete proof of those doubts -- and concrete proof of the extent to which Bush had been informed of these doubts before the invasion. That leads to the second, equally important point. Waas also reports that Rove thought as early as the summer of 2003 that the document was radioactive enough to potentially destroy Bush's re-election chances. Waas adds that Bush advisers thought that if doubts about the tubes came out, it would be much harder to shield Bush from criticism for them than it was for the uranium tale -- because there apparently existed hard evidence that the president had been told of those doubts. Now fast forward to early 2004. That’s when Libby testified before the Plame grand jury. Patrick Fitzgerald’s indictment alleges that Libby lied about how and when he learned Plame’s identity and disclosed information about her to reporters. Rove, too, misled the grand jury by failing to mention a conversation with a reporter about Plame. (Rove subsequently disclosed it, but only after a discovered e-mail jogged his

memory. Libby has pled innocent, and Rove wasn’t indicted, though he reportedly remains under investigation). That’s where matters stand now. Now let’s try to fit these pieces together. The thing about the Plame investigation that never quite seemed to make sense was this: Why would Libby or Rove deliberately mislead the grand jury, risking perjury charges when it wasn’t clear the leak was a crime? Thanks to Waas, for the first time, we may now know for a fact that Rove and other Bush advisers viewed the truth about the run-up to war as something that could destroy his re-election prospects. It is entirely plausible that Bush advisers calculated that if it came out that they’d outed Plame, Congress would have been forced by the resulting firestorm to run a far more aggressive investigation of Bush’s pre-war deceptions – and possibly uncover the smoking gun Waas reports on, among other things. Remember, Libby and Rove testified in early 2004, during the heat of a presidential campaign which Rove himself had apparently concluded was at risk if existing hard evidence of Bush’s deceptions surfaced. So it seems plausible that Libby and Rove sought to minimize the chance of the aggressive congressional oversight that might have resulted if it became known that they’d outed Plame. In short, misleading the grand jury about Plame may simply have been a key piece of a broader effort to get past the election before the truth about the run-up to the war surfaced to sink his campaign. That interpretation is consistent with what was going on at the time. The Senate Intelligence Committee, headed by Bush ally Pat Roberts, was investigating pre-war intelligence -- and as would subsequently be learned, managed to sidestep the central question of how the White House used that information to build the case for war, a maneuver that made it clear that Roberts was trying to postpone that line of inquiry

until after the election. What’s more, the White House was throughout refusing to release presidential daily briefs that may have revealed what Bush knew and when. Meanwhile, other things suggested that the White House was doing everything possible to prevent an aggressive effort by the press to unearth what now looks to be solid evidence of the White House’s prewar duplicity. As Josh Marshall put it in a post about the Waas story: We saw this and the cover-up it spawned firsthand. While I and reporters from CBS were working on this story through 2004, it was clear that folks on the Hill would agree to talk and then suddenly unagree when they got the call from the White House. The White House worked doggedly at almost every turn to get the story killed or delayed beyond the election, which they of course did. The cover-up on this one is deep. Really deep. And much of it has yet to be uncovered. The history of recent presidential deception tells us that the small, initial cover-ups, ones which at first appear to make little sense, are frequently motivated by a desire to prevent other, larger damaging revelations from surfacing. If Waas is right, it seems plausible that the whole sordid saga unfolded this way: White House officials, including Bush himself, withheld critical information it had about doubts over supposed evidence of Saddam's nuke ambitions in order to better make the case for war. Then they subsequently discovered that hard evidence existed of that duplicity. Then, anxious that this evidence might surface before the 2004 reelection, they engaged in a relentless campaign to cover up what really happened during the Iraq run-up and to prevent an aggressive congressional investigation until after the election. They relied on Pat Roberts to run a pseudo-investigation; they withheld the daily briefs; they leaned on Hill allies not to talk to the press. And they obscured their role in the outing of Plame to prevent an outcry that would have certainly forced Congress and the press to probe far more aggressively than they did. And they succeeded: If Congress and the press had been

more aggressive -- and this may be the real significance of Waas's story -- it's perfectly possible that John Kerry would now be president. If that’s how it happened, then it may be only a matter of time before the whole story comes tumbling out. Waas has reported that there’s a piece of paper out there that proves Bush deceived the nation during the run-up to the war. The nation’s premiere investigative reporters, one would think, would very much like to see that piece of paper for themselves. And if there’s one thing recent history tells us, it’s that the small, short-term cover-ups never do succeed in preventing the larger story from coming to light. That larger story is still waiting to be told in all its gristly detail – and, eventually, reporters other than Murray Waas will get around to telling it. Update: Above, "the alleged procurement of uranium" was changed to "the alleged procurement of uranium effort." Greg Sargent, a contributing editor for New York magazine, writes biweekly for The American Prospect Online. He can be reached at greg_sargent@newyorkmag.com. © 2006 by The American Prospect, Inc.

At 11:38 PM, Anonymous said...

What a total crock of bs. How well things are going in Iraq. They com[are things to the way it was just before invasion and now. Why not compare it to how it was before sanctions and now? Our reconstruction attempts dont even match the way it was in Iraq

before the current invasion and occupation. I think the big problem will start when Iraqis realize the U.S. and Brits have no intentions of leaving. They went there to have permanent bases and make a colony in an OIL rich region. Iraq.

At 9:06 AM, skipsailing said...

Ah yes the irrefutable "you got nothing" defense. It works so well for spike lee in that cool commerical a few year back that you thought you'd try it here, eh? it is such a well reasoned and thoughtful response to any riposte in any debate. It's a wonder you don't find yourself saying that everyday there mintmilano. Now you wish to blame me pesonally for the violent deaths of people in Iraq. Well OK, that's fine. Do I think we need to kill people? YOu bet I do. We need to kill enough jihadis to discourage the rest, and we're just about there. let's just take one battle in Iraq, shall we? How about fallujah? Second assault. We lost more than 100 fine men. Men of a caliber far higher than you mintmilano. Men with courage and skill and pride. We lost them and our lives are diminished. but what did those guys do? Well let's see. Dear Mr Zarqawhi had proclaim fallujah to be his city. He and his loyal jihadis claimed to own the town. Well when the marines were done Zarqawhi had fled. Please note that while he continually calls for martyrdom, he seems less than willing to

become a martyr himself. Our guys had killed more than 1500 jihadis. My guess is that's probably closer to 4500, but we'll never know because so many of them are buried under the rubble of the houses they hid in. Well some jihadis got out. And they told the tale of fighting against the Marines. Lethal firepower, relentless pursuit 7/24 aggression, no time to sleep, eat or even run. Some of them attempted to escape by dressing as women, at tactic they revived just yesterday. All this blather about us generating more jihadis is uninformed BS. After fallujah Zarqawhi complained publically that he was having trouble getting recruits. The will to fight was seriously diminished That's what we must do, destroy our enemies will to fight. It's a new kind of war that blends hard fighting with hearts and minds PR campaigns with international diplomacy with black operations. but it's a war we must win if we don't want continuous 9/11's as one faction after another of radicalized Islamic facists attempt to secure their place in paradise by killing innocent Americans. Look at their tactics in Iraq. They've stooped to bombing mosques. These people will stop at nothing, they have no scruples, no morals and no discipline. While you're over here engaged in overheated whining about journalistic ethics those people over there are planning ways to kill more infidels. It's a shame that you're incapable of seeing the real enemy in this war. It isn't grandma, and it isn't me and it isn't george bush. Do really think that these people will spare the anti war crowd when they plan their next attack on the great satan? Do you really think that

a defeat for America in the GWOT will not be a defeat for you and your righteously indignant friends? YOu need to think again. You need to wake up and smell the coffee. We're in a war and you've sided with our enemy. that may make you popular with your particular crowd but it also makes you a object of derision for those of us who truly understand what's at stake here. Calling me names and sneering at me on some web log is probably the best that you can do. I respond to your type of post because America needs to engage you, our domestic enemy, just as we need to engaged our foreign enemy. Now run along back to the student union and tell your friends that you've encountered an actual war monger. It should make you oh so popular.

At 8:18 PM, dodo said...

nice blog, hi granma afaik you will have to learn to ignore the anti-bush/war/america/ that frequent the iraqi blogs, they like nothing better than to rain on any good news parade , while sitting on their fat asses pontificating about a country they know absolutely nothing about. Its nice to read positive outlooks even in a warzone, tough shit to 'Anonymous' and other posters if its not all car bombs and other atrocities.

At 11:49 AM, Anonymous said...

I dont know what is so honourable about inventing lies to attack an innocient country like Iraq. They had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. Also..they had no WMD. no proven ties to Quad either. Iraq didn't even have a plane in the sky throught the whole invasion. No radar..that was knocked out before the so called, ''war'' started. A large country like the u.s. and England beating down on a defenseless little country of 24 million, half starved from years of sanctions.

At 2:33 AM, Eagle said...

The Saddam Tapes: Another Intel Failure The documents that have been retrieved and translated -- largely by private scholars and even bloggers -- ironically show the CIA was pretty much right in its assessment of Saddam, despite being brutally criticized. To wit: Saddam had WMD before the war, likely shipped them to other countries and planned to build them again. He was a real threat. Saddam had links to al-Qaida that included: meetings in 1995 between Iraqi officials and the terrorist group; Saddam's knowing acquiescence to the formation of Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaida offshoot, in northern Iraq; and the entry of key al-Qaida operatives Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi into Iraq in 1999.

Saddam trained terrorists -- possibly even al-Qaida terrorists, though this hasn't been proven -- at a facility at Salman Pak that included a real commercial jet for hijacking practice. Russia, Germany and France helped bolster Saddam's regime and arm it, despite U.N. sanctions on Iraq on which they signed off. These are all significant facts -- and should by themselves dispel doubts Americans have about going to war with Iraq.

Iraq's WMD Secreted in Syria, Sada Says The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

Saddam's Terror Training Camps THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq.

CIA can't rule out WMD move to Syria

Russia tied to Iraq's missing arms

At 7:30 AM, Anonymous said...

Ever notice when the U.S. Govt. needs support to attack some country or try and gain public support, the phoney tapes start to appear? Supposidly from ben laden. Meanwhile the guy probally died years ago, but anything to gain support for another illegal invasion of an oil rich country.

At 11:05 AM, Anonymous said...

I very much don't think things will ever change in this world, as long as big corporations are making the decisions. Part 1. Well, what we've done -- we use many techniques, but probably the most common is that we'll go to a country that has resources that our corporations covet, like oil, and we'll arrange a huge loan to that country from an organization like the World Bank or one of its sisters, but almost all of the money goes to the U.S. corporations, not to the country itself, corporations like Bechtel and Halliburton, General Motors, General Electric, these types of organizations, and they build huge infrastructure projects in that country: power plants, highways, ports, industrial parks, things that serve the very rich and seldom even reach the poor. In fact, the poor suffer, because the loans have to be repaid, and they're huge loans, and the repayment of them means that the poor won't get education, health, and other social services, and the country is left holding a huge debt, by intention. We go back, we economic hit men, to this country and say, “Look, you owe us a lot of money. You can't repay your debts, so give us a pound of flesh. Sell our

oil companies your oil real cheap or vote with us at the next U.N. vote or send troops in support of ours to some place in the world such as Iraq.” And in that way, we've managed to build a world empire with very few people actually knowing that we've done this. The average joe and military person is just an object to help Governments to achieve there goals. $$$. and control and power over other countries.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous said...

http://www.mccullagh.org/image/d30-32/fuck-you-bush-sign.html

At 11:51 PM, Kate said...

Ma'am, Thank you so much for sharing your unique point of view with us. You write beautifully, and your descriptions make me feel like I'm standing next to you instead of thousands of miles away. I can see why your employers trust you to communicate clearly and succinctly in a very complex situation. I particulary enjoyed your description of the drainage project - I'm trained as an engineer, and I could not possibly have described it better myself, even in technical jargon to other engineers. I really appreciate the photographs you've posted. Beautiful people, beautiful land. I hope that eventual peace in one form or another will give us a chance to know them better.

Thank you for the hard work that you do, and for taking what little personal time you have to describe your days for our benefit. Understanding breeds acceptance and more understanding, and we could all use a big dose of that, now and always. Very respectfully, Kate in Cincinnati

At 3:02 PM, J Booth said...

Suzanne Some among us will not get it until too late, if at all. Rather than work toward positive change, their life's work seems to be that of tearing down others. Thank you very much for the positive work you are doing. I hope and pray what you can accomplish will in the long run outweigh the misery others continue to foster. Continue to tell it like it is and those who say "propaganda" will be seen for the fools they are. Thanks again JB

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous said...

The u.s. sure wasted no time in trying to run rough shot over other countries, once Russia was no longer a world power. It was only Russia that kept them in there place all these years. School yard bullies at there best.

At 8:25 PM, Anonymous said...

How about a blog from a real Iraqi grandma. We get enough propaganda thanks.

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