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Embedded TIME Reporter: Bush Lied In Speech Yesterday About Iraqi Security Forces

By Judd Legum on December 1, 2005 at 11:00 am

"Embedded TIME Reporter: Bush Lied In Speech Yesterday About Iraqi Security Forces"

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Yesterday, President Bush claimed that Iraqi security forces “primarily led” the assault on the city of Tal Afar. Bush highlighted it as an “especially clear” sign of the progress Iraq security forces were making in Iraq.

The progress of the Iraqi forces is especially clear when the recent anti-terrorist operations in Tal Afar are compared with last year’s assault in Fallujah. In Fallujah, the assault was led by nine coalition battalions made up primarily of United States Marines and Army — with six Iraqi battalions supporting them…This year in Tal Afar, it was a very different story. The assault was primarily led by Iraqi security forces — 11 Iraqi battalions, backed by five coalition battalions providing support.

TIME Magazine reporter Michael Ware, who is embedded with the U.S. troops in Iraq who participated in the Tal Afar battle, appeared on Anderson Cooper yesterday. He said Bush’s description was completely untrue:

I was in that battle from the very beginning to the very end. I was with Iraqi units right there on the front line as they were battling with al Qaeda. They were not leading. They were being led by the U.S. green beret special forces with them.

Watch it:

cooper

(Quicktime Streaming)

Sen. John Warner (R-VA) who was also on Anderson Cooper yesterday said “I respect those journalists that embed themselves and I accept as a credible description what you’ve just put forward.”

Full Transcript:

COOPER: You know this is not one of the shows where we take sides. I really try to just look at facts on the ground, and the President in his speech talked about the battle of Tal Afar. And in his speech today, he said that it was led primarily by Iraqi security forces, eleven Iraqi battalions, backed by five coalition battalions providing support. He used this as compared to the battle of Fallujah as an example of how much better the Iraqis are doing. Earlier, I talked to Time Magazine’s Michael Ware, the Baghdad bureau chief who was embedded during the entire battle. I want to play you what he said about the Iraqi units he saw.

WARE: I was in that battle from the very beginning to the very end. I was with Iraqi units right there on the front line as they were battling with al Qaeda. They were not leading. They were being led by the U.S. green beret special forces with them. Green berets who were following an American plan of attack who were advancing with these Iraqi units as and when they were told to do so by the American battle planners. The Iraqis led nothing.

COOPER: Do you think the president was correct in saying that this was an Iraqi victory, that the Iraqis were leading the way?

WARNER: Well, I’ll let the commanders sort that out but I – first I respect those journalists that embed themselves and I accept as a credible description what you’ve just put forward. But you didn’t hear him say they cut and run like they did in Fallujah. You didn’t hear him say that the Iraqis dropped the arms. He said they were fighting. Now it may well have been that the battle plan was drawn up by the coalition forces, probably the U.S. leading.

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