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CBS News Edits Out McCain's Misunderstanding of Iraq

CBS News Edits Out McCain's Misunderstanding of Iraq

John McCain may mock the media's love affair with Barack Obama, but CBS attempted to give him a generous pass by editing out McCain's incorrect account of crucial events in Iraq. Last night CBS replaced the plainly wrong assertion that the "surge" prompted the Sunni (Anbar) Awakening, which happened before the idea of a surge even existed, with a completely different answer.

Here's how it actually went down:

Katie Couric: Senator Obama says, while the increased number of US troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What's your response to that?

McCain: I don't know how you respond to something that is as — such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel MacFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar Awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history.

The record overwhelmingly shows that McCain was wrong. For example, the military official cited by McCain actually discussed the Anbar Awakening four months before the surge was even announced. To see how McCain's camp responded,


McCain's spokesman issued a quick response: "Democrats can debate whether the awakening would have survived without the surge . . . but that is nothing more than a transparent effort to minimize the role of our commanders and our troops in defeating the enemy, because to credit them would be to disparage the judgment of Barack Obama and praise the leadership of John McCain."

Despite the fact that McCain demonstrated a lack of basic understanding of Iraq, an issue considered to be his strength, the mainstream media (not counting Keith Olbermann) has yet to pick up this story. Was CBS wrong to hide this mistake from the American people?


Join The Conversation
dblsparkle dblsparkle 9 years
Is anyone surprised by this deletion and change in the news report? The media controls what we hear, read, see.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Actually, he hasn't changed his position. You have quotes from an article that lies about his position. I know you are very concerned with lying in regards to this election, and the article you quoted is full of lies. McCain's position has always been that he wants more troops in Afghanistan; read his speeches and his website.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
McCain has changed his position on Afghanistan in July...but the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff has been talking about Afghanistan for some time now. So between July 7th and July 15th McCain did a 180 on Afghanistan. Torg, I have read several things from veterans who are pretty upset that McCain said that about Obama.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I agree that I'm surprised more has not been made of McCain's statement about Obama. That's a pretty heavy accusation.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Obviously very wrong, and it's quite alarming that the media would rather sweep it under the rug in favor of more coverage of itself covering Obama than shine a spotlight on such statements, as well as things like thinking that Iraq and Pakistan share a border.
Jinx Jinx 9 years
"Was CBS wrong to hide this mistake from the American people?" "Absolutely!" AGREED!
liliblu liliblu 9 years
"John McCain has called Iraq the "central front" of the war on terror, a crucible of America's ability to defeat violent Islamic extremists the world over." ""As on many things, Senator Obama is not listening to our commanders, and Senator McCain is," says Kori Schake, a senior policy adviser to McCain. "General David Petraeus believes Iraq is the central front in the war on terror." The only trouble is, that isn't true."
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
#38 was in response to #34. (Just an fyi.)
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
On July 15, McCain said, "We need to at least double the size of the Afghan army to 160,000 troops." He also stated, "We also need to increase our non-military assistance to the Afghan government, with a multi-front plan for strengthening its institutions, the rule of law, and the economy."
liliblu liliblu 9 years
"This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."- John McCain This is a serious allegation to make. Why is McCain not being challenged on this statement by the press? Is McCain acussing Obama of being a traitor?
Jillness Jillness 9 years
By digging his heels in and not correcting himself, McCain has turned what could have been a mistake into something else. I am really shocked that he stuck to his story, even when corrected. On a side note, I am really glad I was able to read that article. It is great that we have the ability to read what is going on with our military.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
His website and several speeches he has given say otherwise. Did he call Iraq the central front or a central front?
Jillness Jillness 9 years
July 7th: " John McCain has called Iraq the "central front" of the war on terror, a crucible of America's ability to defeat violent Islamic extremists the world over. McCain has resisted calls for more troops in Afghanistan and has rejected criticism that the Iraq war is detracting from efforts to secure Afghanistan." The Baltimore Chronicle" "But possibly a larger vulnerability for McCain is the fact that he was a leader in the neoconservative strategy to downplay the political-military challenges in Afghanistan in favor of exaggerating the strategic threat from Iraq."
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"I don't think anyone has clearly identified all the factors involved in the Anbar Awakening." Here is a document written by Colonel Sean MacFarland, U.S. Army. "The “ready First combat team,” was at the center of the Anbar Awakening. When we arrived in ramadi in June 2006, few of us thought our campaign would change the entire complexion of the war and push Al-Qaeda to the brink of defeat in iraq." "on 9 september 2006 sittar organized a tribal council, attended by over 50 sheiks and the bri- gade commander, at which he declared the “Anbar Awakening” officially underway. the Awakening council that emerged from the meeting agreed to first drive AQiZ from ramadi, and then eestablish rule of law and a local government to support the people." According to Col MacFarlane, the plans were in place and the revolution was happening long before December of 2006 (keep in mind December of 2006 is the month that McCain specified). The council meeting that is called the Anbar Awakening was months before. I think McCain is way out of line to try and re-write history. The surge did not begin the Anbar Awakening.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
Jill great posts as always. You said it all.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
I can't believe people are defending McCain on this issue. McCain either lied about or is misinformed about events in Iraq and CBS News helped to cover it up. The media has been ignoring McCain's "mistakes" the entire campaign. I guess he truly has not lost his base.
em1282 em1282 9 years
"2nd...this isn't a "gaffe". A gaffe is when you accidentally say the wrong thing, but you know the truth. McCain didn't dispute these comments...he just reinforced them. Just today he said that he had been briefed in December of 2006, that parts of the surge were starting in December 2006, even though the surge troops didn't arrive until Feb. 2007. McCain said, Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar Awakening."" AMEN, Jillness.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I meant to say it hasn't been focused on much by the media because they are so busy focusing on his position on Iraq. Honestly, I don't believe Obama's Afghanistan plans have been focused on much by the media, either.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
McCain has always said we needed more troops in Afghanistan, it just hasn't been focused on much. McCain and Obama's Afghanistan plans are very similar and it's completely inaccurate to group McCain with Bush on the issue of Afghanistan and say that he is "ignoring the Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff."
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 9 years
CBS is wrong for pampering a 71 year old man! I want to see who this guy really is. He's been corrected from Joe Lieberman to CBS! Who's gonna correct him next ...the Pope?
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Also, I don't think anyone has clearly identified all the factors involved in the Anbar Awakening. It may well be that our continued, dedicated presence was a major component, even before the surge. After the way we cut and run on the Iraquis the last time around, I wouldn't blame them for being suspicious and hesitant to trust us long-term. Preliminary discussions of plans for a surge may have provided further reassurance. It may have started based on private talks and promises. Not claiming this is all true, just that it's very possible and we don't have--and probably never will have--enough information to draw out a detailed timeline. I agree, Afghanistan also needs more attention. However, we have limited resources and personnel. And Congress isn't doing anything to help that situation.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Certainly, it's dishonest to air a question paired with anything other than the answer that was given. Either air it, or don't. As usual when I read a news story, I want more information to evaluate it. Remember, these things don't happen overnight. If the first troops arrived in February 2007, a lot of planning had to happen before that. Soldiers need to be told, with a reasonable amount of notice, that they're being deployed. Before that happens, there have to be high-level strategic discussions about how many people to call up, from what areas, and what housing and equipment needs must be provided for. I'd bet all of that takes at least two months, probably closer to three (depending on the amount of notice given to personnel). That preparation is also, really, "part of the surge". Therefore, it's very believable that government officials might be briefed in December 2006.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Ha, thanks,Stephley. I wasn't able to get on during the day, and I had a few thoughts. :)
stephley stephley 9 years
Jillness, you never cease to amaze me.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
One final thought... On PBS, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that he agrees with Obama's assessment that Afghanistan is "precarious and urgent", and he said that troops are needed there but that they wouldn't be able to move them there in "any significant manner" until there is with draw from Iraq. "My priorities, given to me by the commander in chief are focus on Iraq first. It has been that way for sometime. Focus on Afghanistan second." By ignoring the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, McCain and Bush are ignoring the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces.
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