McCAIN DIDN'T BRING THE STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS TO BAGHDAD. INSTEAD HE BROUGHT A VERY NOT STRAIGHT LINDSEY GRAHAM, LOTS OF TROOPS-- & A BIG PACK O LIES
Most people I know look at McCain's pathetic propaganda/shopping trip to Baghdad last weekend-- gushy, swishy Mini-Me (R-SC) in tow-- as an absolute disgrace. He pointlessly endangered the lives of hundreds of American servicemen to prove... what exactly? That if you're accompanied by 100 armed troops with armored vehicles and 2 Apache attack helicopters overhead you can go to a part of Baghdad for an hour that has been swept clear of rebels-- and buy some cheap rugs from desperate merchants? I wonder how much this crass stunt cost the American taxpayer.
And today both the New York Times and the Associated Press are carrying stories about what a frace the whole effort was. According to the AP report, several bombings have rocked the Shorja market in recent months including one in February that killed 139 people. McCain thought it would make a good backdrop to convince American TV viewers that everything in Baghdad was hunky-dory. "But Karim Abdullah, a 37-year-old textile merchant in the Shorja market, said the congressmen were kept under tight security and accompanied by dozens of U.S. troops. 'They were laughing and talking to people as if there was nothing going on in this country or at least they were pretending that they were tourists and were visiting the city's old market and buying souvenir,' he said. 'To achieve this, they sealed off the area, put themselves in flak jackets and walked in the middle of tens of armed American soldiers.'... Jaafar Moussa Thamir, a 42-year-old who sells electrical appliances at Shorja, said the delegation greeted some fellow vendors with Arabic phrases but he was not impressed. 'They were just making fun of us and paid this visit just for their own interests,' he said. 'Do they think that when they come and speak few Arabic words in a very bad manner it will make us love them? This country and its society have been destroyed because of them and I hope that they realized that during this visit.'"
One official, "who accompanied the congressman on the market visit but spoke on condition of anonymity while discussing security arrangements, said Iraqis were not kept from approaching the dignitaries. Access to the market was closed to vehicles as part of a daily ban during business hours to prevent car bombs. He said sharpshooters were likely on nearby roofs and two Apache attack helicopters flew overhead, but said that was not unusual for visiting dignitaries. The official said the congressmen had flown from the Green Zone in helicopters to a forward operating base in Baghdad, then traveled in Humvees to the market."
The Times spoke with another Iraqi merchant who was just as unimpresed with McCain's and Graham's bullshit publicity stunt.
“What are they talking about?” Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said Monday. “The security procedures were abnormal!”
The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit.
“They paralyzed the market when they came,” Mr. Faiyad said during an interview in his shop on Monday. “This was only for the media.”...
At a news conference shortly after their outing, Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, and his three Congressional colleagues described Shorja as a safe, bustling place full of hopeful and warmly welcoming Iraqis — “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime,” offered Representative Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican who was a member of the delegation.
Yes, Senator McCain, sounds like a lovely stroll in a safe neighborhood to me. What happened to the "straight talk express?" Did you leave that at the Church of Jerry Falwell?