Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Outdoor Market In Indiana?

I normally don't post to this blog until Sunday, but this is just too much, especially after today's stunning attack in the Green Zone.

The more I listen to these guys concerning the war, the more confused I become. Recently a congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain went shopping in Baghdad. Now depending on who you talk to the market they visited was either like a farmers market in Indiana or a suicide bombers paradise. Call me crazy, but I am more inclined to listen to the people who live there than some guys who were there for an hour surrounded by a full company of soldiers, six attack helicopters, sharpshooters on the rooftops, & redirected traffic, and they had to wear bullet-proof vests. Here is the typical itinerary for a visit to Iraq:

"Members rarely spend more than a night in Iraq, often flying back to Kuwait or Jordan at the end of the day. The trips are heavy on meetings with American military and embassy officials, with almost no opportunities for unscripted encounters with regular Iraqis."

Ok, it's been a while since I was in Indiana and I know those farmer markets tend to get a little rowdy when haggling over prices, but at what farmers market was Rep. Mike Pence at that resembled this one in Baghdad. Is it me or has there been a real departure from reality for a lot of politicians lately? This is the problem with politicizing every issue. Instead of giving the American people the facts and letting us decide for ourselves we must wade through the reams of spin and talking points to mislead and misinform. Do these guys think we are so stupid that we cannot see through the hype? Oh wait, George W was elected twice...

Senator McCain is in the middle of his "Straight Talk" tour. After this debacle I don't think there is a whole lot of straight talk going on in that bus. The American people deserve better than this. We deserve leaders that will be truthful and willing to trust us with that truth. Do these guys not trust that we can "handle the truth"? It is time we as Americans, not red or blue but just ordinary Americans demand the truth from our politicians. The lies must stop! And it is not just the politicians it is the "talking heads" on the news programs, the spin doctors on talk radio, and all the other status quo lobbyist pretending to be "ordinary Americans" or looking out for the "middle-class".

We must demand the truth and punish those who cannot or will not provide it to us. "I can't recall" is no longer an option. As long as we pay more attention to American Idol than American democracy we will continue to get what we have been getting. The time for complacency is over. This country, this world is at a crossroads and we must (all of us) stand and be counted. Remember, no decision is still a decision.

There was a time in America when we had an adversarial press and a functioning democracy that would not allow this misinformation to take place. However, today you can't tell the journalist from the Whitehouse spokespeople. I am all for rallying behind the troops and war time patriotism, but we still live in a democracy. What makes a democracy work is that we do question authority, we do ask the tough questions, and we investigate. When was the last time we've had any real investigative work by a journalist? I can't remember either.
Here is what the Iraqi's say about the security in that market.

Told about Mr. McCain's assessment of the market, Abu Samer, a kitchenware and clothing wholesaler, scoffed: "He is just using this visit for publicity. He is just using it for himself. They'll just take a photo of him at our market and they will just show it in the United States. He will win in America and we will have nothing."

During their visit on Sunday, the Americans were buttonholed by merchants and customers who wanted to talk about how unsafe they felt and the urgent need for more security in the markets and throughout the city, witnesses said.

"They asked about our conditions, and we told them the situation was bad," said Aboud Sharif Kadhoury, 63, who peddles prayer rugs at a sidewalk stand. He said he sold a small prayer rug worth less than $1 to a member of the Congressional delegation. (The official paid $20 and told Mr. Kadhoury to keep the change, the vendor said.)

Mr. Kadhoury said he lost more than $2,000 worth of merchandise in the triple bombing in February. "I was hit in the head and back with shrapnel," he recalled.

Ali Youssef, 39, who sells glassware from a sidewalk stand down the block from Mr. Kadhoury, recalled: "Everybody complained to them. We told them we were harmed."

He and other merchants used to keep their shops open until dusk, but with the dropoff in customers as a result of the attacks, and a nightly curfew, most shop owners close their businesses in the early afternoon.

"This area here is very dangerous," continued Mr. Youssef, who lost his shop in the February attack. "They cannot secure it."

But those conversations were not reflected in the congressmen's comments at the news conference on Sunday.
Come now Senator, when does the straight talk really begin?

Senator McCain's full letter to The Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2007/04/06/AR2007040601781. html

Further evidence of how safe not only the streets of Baghdad are, but also the vaulted Green Zone.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP -Iraq.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

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