A senior American intelligence official said Monday that the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah had been training members of the Mahdi Army, the Iraqi Shiite militia led by Moktada al-Sadr.
The article's entitled "Hezbollah Said to Help Shiite Army in Iraq," the government is pushing war with Iran, the paper is the New York Times and the co-writer is Michael R. Gordon. There's nothing to justify running with the claim, there's not story here, not even a he-said/she-said. Just pure stenography that can't be verified. So the big question? Is Judy Miller back?
Oh, they never needed to depend on Miller, they had Dexy. Where there is crap, there is Dexy. Today he teams up with one of Judy's partners-in-crime to give readers a highly varnished look at what certain elements in government want them to see.
The failure to address Dexy (failure of media critics) means he's may end far more damaging than he already has been. But hey, rumors said he dug some good ditches in Falluja back in November of 2004.
Meanwhile the Bobble Head Pundit files another fan bulletin on gal pal Condi Rice, "Bush Asking Arab Friends for Iraq Help." Amidst explaining that Condi and Bully Boy are on a mission to shore up Arab support for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki from Sunni Arabs in the Middle East, Bobble Head gets off this howler: "Ms. Rice has argued in favor of stepping up work on the Israeli-Palestinian front, and several times this fall she has seemed to be on the verge of a major peace initiative, only to be overtaken by other crises." Rice on the verge? Condi who stood by all but cheering when the Israeli government went into whack job mode all summer? Bobble Head appears to be using the same journalistic 'judgement' that she uses when she makes a 'conservative' choice of what ear rings to wear on camera.
Outside the secretarial pool, in the real world, David Swanson takes a look at war resisters within the military in "Be All That You Can Be: Leave the Army" (Op-Ed News):
Lt. Ehren Watada, the first U.S. military commissioned officer to publicly refuse to fight in Iraq, has said that he will not obey an illegal order. He faces court martial on February 4, 2007, for obeying the law. Sgt. Camilo Mejia was one of the first Iraq War vets to publicly refuse to return to Iraq -- for which he served 9 months in prison. Mejia objected to the war as based on lies and to the murdering and torturing of civilians that he witnessed. Sgt. Kevin Benderman is serving a 15-month sentence for the crime of applying for conscientious objector status and refusing to serve any longer in Iraq. Marine Corps reservist Stephen Funk was the first enlisted man to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq, and he spent 6 months in prison as a result. He said: "I will not obey an unjust war based on deception by our leaders."
Dan Felushko enlisted as a Marine after September 11, 2001. When ordered to Iraq he deserted, commenting: "I didn't want 'Died Deluded in Iraq' over my gravestone. I didn't see a connection between the attack on America and Saddam Hussein."
Some who have deserted and been AWOL for months or years have decided that it is their proper duty to turn themselves in and face court martial. Ricky Clousing has done this. He explains why in this video.
Agustin Aguayo has done the same and faces charges with a maximum penalty of 7 years.
In many cases, turning yourself in is not easy. Pvt. Kyle Snyder, who spent Thanksgiving helping restore houses in New Orleans with Iraq Veterans Against the War, is currently AWOL and says that his lawyer has tried to contact the military 75 times.
Sticking to the real world, Martha notes Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks' "Anbar Picture Grows Clearer, and Bleaker" (Washington Post):
The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province.
The Marines recently filed an updated version of that assessment that stood by its conclusions and stated that, as of mid-November, the problems in troubled Anbar province have not improved, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday. "The fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality" remain the same, the official said.
The Marines' August memo, a copy of which was shared with The Washington Post, is far bleaker than some officials suggested when they described it in late summer. The report describes Iraq's Sunni minority as "embroiled in a daily fight for survival," fearful of "pogroms" by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on al-Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital.
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