As Jon Stewart would say "X-tree, X-tree, read all about it, Iraq takes control of the military in Iraq, X-tree, X-tree!"
Today, first on NPR and then in the New York Times I was greeted with this news.
Iraq Takes Military Reins From Coalition
Wow, I thought for about 1/10th of a second, then I realized, because I've been paying attention, that this must be an election-time scam. So, I dug, which most listeners and readers won't and which most right-wing organizations will not give their sheeple the opportunity to do.
The lesson in spin after the break.
Okay, step one. Make an important sounding announcement.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Coalition forces handed over control of Iraq's armed forces command to the government Thursday, a move that U.S. officials have hailed as a crucial milestone on the country's difficult road to independence.
Wow, that's great. It's also about as far as most Americans will read or hear before they turn the page or tune to another station. So, they will be left with that nugget of information - Iraq running military in Iraq, good news.
Follow this with an important-sounding quote for those who might be able to read two whole paragraphs before turning the page.
''From today forward, the Iraqi military responsibilities will be increasingly conceived and led by Iraqis,'' said Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, at a ceremony.
Handing over control of the country's security to Iraqi forces is vital to any eventual drawdown of U.S. forces here. After disbanding the remaining Iraqi army following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, coalition forces have been training the new Iraqi military.
Okay, now the tricky part. See, in order NOT to be called biased, you have to actually give out some facts. However, never fear, you have hidden them deep in the article where no one will ever read them, unless they are over-educated liberals who aren't on your side anywho.
Now, the chain of command flows directly from the prime minister in his role as Iraqi commander in chief, through his Defense Ministry to an Iraqi military headquarters. From there, the orders go to Iraqi units on the ground. Initially, this would apply only to the 8th Iraqi Army Division, the air force and the navy.
The other nine Iraqi division remain under U.S. command, with authority gradually being transeferred. U.S. military officials said there was no specific timetable for the transition.
So, there you have it. The Iraqis are controlling the air force, navy, adn 8th Iraqi Army Division. Let's learn a little more about them, shall we.
Iraqi Air Force:
o 3 x C-130E Hercules
o 16 x UH-1H Iroquois (14 more scheduled for delivery by 2006)
o 6 x CH-2000
o 2 x SB7L-360A
o 5 x Bell 206
That is it. 33 pieces of equipment. The U.S. Army by the way "needs about 2,860 combat helicopters and 3,050 transport helicopters to fill and support the AOE force design, for a total requirement of 5,910. "
* Five Predator Class patrol boats
* five Chinese-built 27-meter gunboats
* 24 Fast Aluminium Boats
* 6 Al-Uboor class patrol boats
* 600 sailors and officers, including 200 in the Iraqi Naval Battalion (marines) who guard the platforms.
Okay, so they have a bunch of fishing boats and four college football teams to man them.
As for the 8th Iraqi Army. Okay, so that isn't the same group. In fact, it appears that we didn't even train the first group that is ready to be sent out on their own "The 8th Infantry Division have trained with the Polish Army forces as the Iraqi Army continues steady progress toward providing defense for their own country."
The 8th Iraqi Army Division is located in Diwaniyeh, which as you see on the map below is down South of Baghdad.
Nonetheless, even the southern parts of Iraq are no longer safe.
Death toll mounts to 73 as troops battle Shiite militia
BAGHDAD: Fighting between Iraqi government forces and Shiite militiamen killed 73 people in a southern city before calm was restored, the prime minister's office said yesterday. The death toll was significantly higher than the 40 people initially reported to have been killed Monday in Diwaniyah before a deal between Shiite militiamen loyal to a powerful cleric and the government ended a fierce 12-hour street battle. "The Iraqi national police and army confronted the gunmen and managed to kill 50 gunmen, but these regretful acts lead to the martyrdom of 23 Iraqi soldiers and wounding of 30 others," said an announcement. It was issued by Al-Maliki in his role as general commander of the Iraq armed forces. "Iraqi military forces managed to control the situation in Diwaniyah and restore peace to the city which witnessed regretful acts carried out by lawless elements," the announcement said.
The lesson, big headlines equals news to most Americans. Stuff the facts later in the article so folks can't claim that you are "biased". Now, go get 'em Tiger!