Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Inside the Iraqi Government

Senator Inhofe (R-OK) gives Hugh the scoop after returning from his 11th trip to Iraq.

HH: Let's talk a little bit about the new defense minister, Jassin, Senator Inhofe. How's he strike you? Is he middle aged? Is he experienced in military matters?

JI: Yeah, he's very experienced. He's a general. He is a career military guy, and he's tough as he can be. And he came out with all kinds of wild things. I probably shouldn't tell you this...

HH: Oh, go ahead.

JI: But...and this is so funny when it happened. I was talking to him through an interpretor, and I didn't know whether he could speak English. And I finally got to the point where I said look, our big problem is the media, the media back in the United States, because they're lying to the people of America. All of a sudden, in clear English, he said I hate CNN.


HH: I'm talking with Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, just returned again from his 11th visit to Iraq, just today, I imagine. Senator, I just want to pause on the defense minister of Iraq's reaction to CNN. I hate CNN. Did he tell you why he hates CNN?

JI: Oh, he said all they do is talk about negative things, things that are bad, and we have nothing but successes over here. And then he start enumerating the successes, which I can verify, because I'm there all the time. The number, out of 112 battalions, they have 62 of them. That's over half of them that are either level 2 or level 1. That means they can conduct their own combat. He made the statement, and this is one of the things that he says that CNN and some of the media keeps saying, they keep saying that America is leading them, and we're in the rear. And he said that's not true at all. We are leading, and America is offering support. In fact, of the last 500 special operations that took place, 75% of them were led by the Iraqis, not by the Americans. Only 25% were. Now if you go back, as I've done on almost a monthly basis, you can see how this changes. And a year ago, hardly any of them were led by the Iraqis. These guys...I was up in Fallujah during the last election, and they were so proud. They were going down there to vote, and they were targeted, because they were supposed to shoot any of the Iraqi security forces that voted. And they went down, they voted, and they came back, and they were real proud of it. And then, when I asked them the question, are you going to be able to take over the security of's kind of funny, because of the language problem, they said nein, nein. I thought that meant no, no, but that really means yes, yes.

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