The Rural Patriot

September 23, 2006

Kuhl Says His Constituents Don’t Understand

Filed under: Iraq War,Randy Kuhl — ellicatt @ 8:59 pm

The link below is the Buffalo News’ recap the the Kuhl/Cheney account.  Little was to be learned about the event from this article that hadn’t already been covered from the Rochester area reports.  What is missing from that article is the mention of any protest activities.

However, this post is about the following passages from that article:

Kuhl, a freshman locked in a competitive race against Democrat Eric Massa, is one of the dozens of House Republicans for whom Cheney has campaigned this year. And he couldn’t agree more with the vice president’s assessment that combating terrorists around the world stands as the top issue of this campaign.

A flow of bad news from the war zone needs to be countered by a frank discussion of reality, he said.

They don’t necessarily understand the full importance of our presence there,” he said of his Finger Lakes and Southern Tier constituents.   (my emphasis)

Perhaps Mr. Kuhl was reminiscing about his summer trip to Iraq:

“Once you get through the apprehension, it really isn’t bad.  You can almost forget you’re in a war zone,” he says.  … “It’s life as usual.”

Well, here are today’s accounts of “frank discussions of reality – life as usual” on September 23, 2006:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

It’s the glimmers of hope that make the realities in Iraq so heartbreaking. Residents of Ur say that with the Strykers around, sectarian murders have all but disappeared. …  But the Iraqis and Americans know that such sanity won’t last. …

Despite isolated success stories, there is a palpable sense that things are getting worse in Iraq. A U.N. report says a record 6,600 Iraqis were killed in the past two months amid the lawlessness. Major General William Caldwell told reporters last week that six weeks into the battle for Baghdad there was an upward “spike in execution-style murders” in the city. … In an acknowledgement of the problem, General John Abizaid last week reversed hints of a drawdown by the end of the year, saying U.S. troops will stay around the current 140,000 in Iraq until next spring.

… A growing number of analysts in Washington, including some conservative supporters of the Bush Administration, have called for a substantial increase in U.S. troop levels to stop Iraq’s slide into civil war. But expanding the total U.S. force in Iraq remains unlikely — military officials interviewed by TIME say that the U.S. command remains reluctant to make a major manpower boost. To some, that reluctance is indicative of the leadership’s broader failure to heed complaints about U.S. troop strength that have been voiced by officers in Iraq for more then three years.

… “This is a slow-grind war.” And it’s becoming harder to know just what it will take to win it.  (Washington-based military analyst/retired Army officer Andrew Krepinevich)

A U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in northern Baghdad, and two other American soldiers were killed and three injured when a bomb exploded near their patrol outside Hawija, 150 miles north of the capital, the U.S. command said.

A Danish soldier was also reported killed and eight wounded in a roadside bombing in southern Iraq. He was the fourth Danish soldier to die in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein’s regime more than three years ago.

Sep 23, 2006 (AP) — BAGHDAD, Iraq A bomb claimed by a little-known Sunni Arab extremist group killed at least 37 Shiites and wounded another 40 in Baghdad on Saturday as they stocked up fuel for Ramadan, just days after the U.S. military warned sectarian violence would surge during the Islamic holy month.

The Sadr City bombing occurred as a large crowd gathered behind a kerosene truck as families sought to stock up on fuel for Ramadan, during which people gather just after sunset for a communal meal to break a daylong abstention from food and water, police said.

Dhiyaa Ali, a 24 year-old college student, said he heard the explosion from his nearby home and ran to the street to help people. He said bodies and blood were everywhere.

BASRA, Sept 23 (Reuters) – A U.S. contractor working for the American consulate in Iraq’s second biggest city, Basra, was killed by a rocket that struck the main British compound in the city overnight, U.S. and British officials said

FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Sept 23;  “Sept 23 (Reuters) – Following are security incidents and other developments in Iraq reported on Saturday, as of 1930 GMT.”  Areas include:  HAWIJA, BAGHDAD, BAIJI, BASRA, NAJAF, MAHMUDIYA, NEAR KIRKUK, RASHAD, and MUQDADIYA.

WASHINGTON — U.S. military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan now match those of 9/11, the most devastating terrorist attack in America’s history and the trigger for what came next. Add casualties from chasing terrorists elsewhere in the world, and the total has passed the Sept. 11 figure.

The latest milestone for a country at war came Friday without commemoration. It came without the precision of knowing who was the 2,973rd man or woman of arms to die in conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. The terrorist attacks killed 2,973 victims in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

The civilian toll in Iraq hit record highs in the summer, with 6,599 violent deaths reported in July and August alone, the U.N. reported this week.

The bodies of five apparent victims of death squads were turned in Saturday to the morgue in Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Hundreds of bodies have turned up around Baghdad in recent weeks. Most were men who had been tortured and shot, hallmarks of death squads.

Attackers severely damaged a Sunni mosque in western Baghdad before noon Friday, and the resulting blaze set fire to eight nearby homes and a bakery, a U.S. military official said. The attack was condemned by Sunni leaders throughout the city.

Gunmen attacked homes in the area before the blast, and then after the bombing they fired on Iraqi army troops that responded to calls for help, the official added.

“We condemn and regret such acts where the followers of the one religion are killing each other,” said  Ayad al-Obeidi, an official in the Sunni Endowment, which is in charge of all Sunni mosques across Iraq.

“The occupation forces have brought chaos and violence to this country and they bear responsibility for what is happening.”

A new report on human-rights violations in Iraq documents how devastatingly easy it is to die here — and how increasingly difficult it is to live.

The human-rights report, prepared by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, said a breakdown of law and order threatens the fabric of life.

Militias, death squads, organized crime and people who are “taking the law into their own hands” are filling the vacuum left by a central government incapable of providing stability. The report documented how perilous everyday life is in Iraq for lawyers, journalists, police recruits, travelers and street vendors.

Women are particularly vulnerable. Strict Islamic groups limit women’s freedom of movement outside their homes and restrict their access to health care and education. In addition, there are reports of women facing threats and death when they’re accused of damaging the honor of their families by having sex outside marriage or leaving home without permission. In northern Iraq, for instance, burning was listed as the cause of death for half of the 112 women killed in Irbil and two-thirds of the 163 killed in Sulaimaniyah in the first six months of 2006.

HOW MUCH MORE “REALITY” DO YOU WANT FOR ONE DAY’S WORTH OF NEWS COVERAGE?

Don’t tell me that I don’t understand.  I have a tremendous level of “understanding”.    I’ve experienced having someone dear to me serve in our nation’s military in different areas of Iraq, including the Sadr City area.  Do you have this personal experience?  I’ve been following the details of this “attempt to bring democracy to Iraq” before the first bomb was dropped on Baghdad; I watch C-Span Congressional coverage; I make it a point to learn of veterans’ issues.  I am proud of all of our military members and I have supported them in not only verbal, but also materialistic ways. 

Your quoted remark in the Buffalo News article was offensive and patronizing.  You are telling me that my viewpoint is invalid and that I’m ignorant in having this viewpoint.  I’m betting that I am not the only one in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier areas that feels this way.

“Staying the course” isn’t working; not for us and not for the Iraqis.  So what’s the plan?  What is it that “I don’t understand”?  What do you have to offer as an explanation?   Will you explain this to the Iraqis, too?

MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators marched Saturday against the presence of British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on the eve of the governing Labour party’s annual gathering.

I guess the people in Manchester, England  “don’t understand”, either.

(Am I offended?  You bet I am.)

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