Sunday, September 30, 2007


Some people think the truth is simply what’s true. It’s not. Truth is relative. The only way to tell if something is true is to stand it next to a lie. It’s a comparison thing. You gotta have the lies to find the real truth, so keeping the lies out of the public debate stops the open exchange of ideas, which is what this country was based on. Besides, the truth has been around a long, long time. It gets stale. If we restrict our thinking to just about what’s true, we get stuck in our ways.

Old truths worked for old problems. But we’ve got new problems. And we can’t have a new approach to a new problem if we keep relying on the same old truths. If I’d listened to the truth, believed the truth, acted based on the truth, do you think this great country, and the world, would be where it is today? I sincerely doubt it. Which is why when someone comes along sayin’ that I’m ignoring the truth, I say “damn right.” But ignoring the truth is not easy. Some people say you’re supposed to have an open mind. I say “no.” Having an open mind means that just any old thing can get in. A mind is like a bank vault; it only works when it’s closed. If it were open, evil doers could just walk in and take all the money. Then what happens to our great country when all the money gets into the hands of a few thieves? I think we all know the answer to that question.

You see, when you look at it a certain way, free speech is Un-American. In our capitalist economy, things that are free aren’t worth anything. Who’d pay for something if they gave it away free? Free speech ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Thoughts and opinions that have been bought and paid for – now that’s worth something. So I call on all Americans, in the interest of protecting our democracy, to put aside free speech. Resist what anyone else claims to be the truth. Disregard the facts in front of your eyes. Pay no mind to the lessons of history.

Ignoring the truth shall set us free.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The current GOP presidential field is flailing, trying desperately to find some traction, like a cartoon character trying to run on the ice. It seems not one of them can pick up any momentum, or strike an actual chord with the voters. Not Mitt, that haircut in search of a personality; nor Rudy, full-time tough guy, part-time de-nutted husband, and occasional drag queen who’s traveling the world picking his teeth with the bones of 9/11 victims; or even John McCain, who’s racing around the primary states after doing a Pimp My Bus job on the Straight Talk Express dubbing it “No Surrender.” I particularly like the “Ich Bein Ein YOUR STATE HERE” bumper sticker, though for some reason the bus keeps running out of gas, and the GPS won’t work so it just meanders aimlessly through the countryside, much like grandpa when he goes out for a walk.

It certainly seems that, barring Democratic implosion, GOP electoral college gerrymandering, a mystery candidate crawling out of the woods who hasn’t been accused of licit or illicit gay sex, or an Executive coup (“the world situation has become too volatile to allow for the orderly transfer of power…”) there will be a Democrat in the White House in 2009. However, this won’t stop the GOP machine. If it’s Hillary, the “get Clinton” forces will begin swift-boating their alleged hearts out, but that will only be Stage One of a more nefarious plot. One that has already kicked into high gear.

Deep in the heart of the Virginia suburbs, just a country walk from CIA headquarters, in the bowels of the clubhouse of a restricted country club, (where the 3rd hole is this deceptive little par 4), and guarded by an elite private security force, is a double secret Republican (yet, somehow, Federally funded) laboratory where the goal is nothing less than building a Republican presidential candidate for the 2012 election. A GOP cyborg, who will roar onto the national scene, taking advantage of the impression of a limp, Carter-esque, one-term Democratic presidency to catapult itself back into power… and remain there. Ad nauseum and beyond.

But what would it take at this point to fashion such a candidate? GOP scientists have already begun identifying those key components:

The actor-y, heterosexual good looks and overall likeability of Ronald Reagan.
The war record of Dwight Eisenhower, (with a touch of Bush 1 fighter pilot credibility).
The single-minded lust for power, and complete absence of morals of Richard Nixon.
The folksy everyman-ness and unquestionable marital fidelity of Gerry Ford.
The shock and awe-shucksiness, perceived religiosity, straightfaced lie-ability, and ultimate vacuity and malleability of Bush II.

Once these key components are isolated, they will be distilled into a goo, dumped in a vat, whipped into a fine liquid, then poured into a stately 6-foot frame, adorned with a full head of wavy hair and twilight’s last gleaming white teeth, glazed over with the powerful two-dimensionality of Mitt Romney, and then buffed to a high sheen.

Actually, we have already seen one of the prototypes: The Fred Thompson 1, though it will soon be recalled, having failed even the most preliminary field tests for perceived sincerity and intelligence. Yet, this was just a prototype and simply means there is much work to be done, as scientists continue working to distill only those choice elements from various Republicans to build an invincible Uber-Republican who will capture the hearts and minds of all Americans by the strength of his intelligence, his faith, and his character. Or by force if necessary.

Scientists realize this will be a long process. But the goal is an important one, that of re-capturing the White House and restoring it to its former glory. They know it will take much work, but it’s worth it. After all, Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Still giddy from his blood-surging rush of righteous indignation over the Betray Us scandal, and the success of its condemnation in the Senate, the President has issued a new list of executive proclamations.

The president's 64% disapproval rating will now be known as his 64% “heck of a job” rating.
Dead soldiers will be reclassified as “involuntary non re-enlistees.”
Wounded soldiers will be termed as “prosthetically redeployed.”
PTSD will be designated as Post Terror Surge Delight.
Blackwater and other private security groups will be known by the term “paid military buddies.”
Effective immediately, the Democratic Party donkey mascot party will be outlawed, replaced by a Two-Faced Communist Gay Weasel pissing on the American flag. (A national design contest will follow.)
God will be officially decreed a Republican. As such the GOP will be known as “God's Only Party.”
Allah will be declared a Democrat.
Based on an upcoming Surgeon General report that education causes Cancer, all colleges and universities will be immediately closed.
Pulling strings to enlisting in the National Guard as a way of avoiding service during the Vietnam war will be designated as “domestic gallantry.” Any media reports to the contrary will be outlawed and those reponsible will be fired for reasons of national security.
Serving in Vietnam will be known as “cowardice.”
Being wounded in Vietnam - "extreme cowardice."
Losing limbs in Vietnam -- “aiding and abetting the enemy.”
The New York Times may no longer publish under that banner and must change its name to read: New York Jewish Liberal Babykiller Treason Times.

Fox News will be retitled vox dei.
Beginning with the 2008 election, voting booths will have only 2 levers: one to vote Republican, the other to vote Republican With All My Heart. A Vegas-style eye in the sky will be installed in all polling places to catch those who merely vote Republican.

When asked if some of these proclamations seem excessive, cruel, defying logic, running counter to the principles upon which the country was founded, and perhaps even borderline insane, the president was quoted as saying: “Hey, I'm the president. If I say it, that makes it so. Je suis l'etat, and yippe-kay-ay, motherfucker. “

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Protest For The Digital Age

These are pictures I took during a rally in Harrisburg, 1972, in support of Father Philip Berrigan and six other nonviolent activists (The "Harrisburg Seven") accused of plotting to kidnap Henry Kissinger. (Talk about The Ransom of Red Chief...) The only speakers I remember were Bella Abzug (anyone?) and Daniel Berrigan. I got a few shots of him onstage. Being there seemed like the right thing to do at the time, though I suppose to some, I was just part of "America's noisy scum."

Thirty-five years later, it's another war. The outrage is the same, only it's played out in cyberspace. People at home furiously pecking away at keyboards instead of taking to the streets. Not that there haven't been demonstrations, or arrests, but they're no longer a focal point. Instead of the Days of Rage, shutting down the War Machine, and levitating the Pentagon, we've got the blogosphere and It's certainly more peaceful. Probably more civilized. And no one gets tear gassed or smacked with a bat. We can stay comfortably at home on our computers and preach to our respective choirs. Sometimes I wonder if it's as focused. And ultimately, as effective. If it's easier for those in power to turn a deaf ear to millions of clattering keyboards, than to a few hundred thousand people screaming outside the Oval Office window.

But it is what we do now. I suppose if anyone really gets mad as hell, they can always throw the computer out the window.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Like cracking a window after somebody farts in the car during a hot summer road trip, the only breath of fresh air from that puppet show masquerading as a presidential address was actually hearing the words “after my administration.” Not since Nixon has an entire country thirsted to rid itself of a white house occupant and put an unholy war behind them.

Still, Mr. President, I imagine retirement will have an upside for you, too. I’m sure it will be relaxing not to have to enter the oval office (on the days you were actually there) sit there, and know that you really weren’t up to the job. Intellectually, morally, spiritually; hell, even linguistically. To have to figure out different ways to posture like a president while pretending to either know or care what you were talking about. That desk hasn’t dwarfed a person since John John sat behind it. But stupidity and power are always a tough combination. Aware of its own inadequacies, it has to be doubly vigilant to keep up the image. And that can be exhausting.

Similarly, it will be a welcome relief for most thinking Americans not to have that vomit crawl up the esophagus every time the president opens his mouth. Or to shrink from embarrassment at the thought of being led by someone so totally bankrupt. So it’ll be win-win.

As you fade away, my only hope is that you won’t get bored. Idle minds are the devil’s workshop. Hell, the last 6 years have been testament to that. Of course, there’s the 2008 election, though I doubt there’ll be much of a place for you as the GOP frontrunners will be running like hell to distance themselves from the stench. So you will have to fill the time. A few suggestions:

You could sponsor a 10K for Iraq vet amputees and their spouses to run together. Gives the 3-legged race a whole new spin. Then maybe a picnic after for the families. For a couple billion you could get KBR to cater it.
You could call OJ and see if he’s up for golf. Have a beer after in the clubhouse, and play liar’s poker. Of course, there’ll be the eulogy for Cheney, which you should get your staff working on. There’s the funding for the Presidential Libery. They have senior discounts at the movies. (Though who needs an AARP card when they’ve got the PIN number to the Treasury?) You could catch up on your reading. I can’t remember if you ever finished My Pet Goat. There will be corporate boards to sit on. Time for some payback. As you know, there’s the lucrative lecture circuit so you can refurbish the ol’ coffers, as if you haven’t been doing that these past years. But you will need a theme. How about: “I Did a Heck of a Job”?

Either way, I’m sure you’ll find stuff to keep you busy. There’s naps. Jumpin’ in the pickup and patrolling the border for illegals... Does the Special Olympics have a rodeo?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


What scares me less than President Pinocchio and the string of lies that launched us into Iraq and are keeping us there with no end in sight, and even less than the blustering of Fox News, aka The Ministry of Information setting the table for the bombing of Iran, is the prospect of another Republican president and the distinct possibility that this could happen.

Could be McCain, who seems to have a renewed taste for war, or at least the rhetorical appeal of running on that platform. Could be Benito Giuliani. That's not an Italian thing. It's a megalomania thing, 'cause when he tilts his head, juts out his jaw, and is shot at an up-angle, he's got that same power-mad look. One guy made the trains run on time, the other cleaned the hookers out of Times Square to make room for Planet Hollywood and Toys 'R' Us. He was nutty enough with the NYPD at his disposal, imagine how batshit he'd go with the entire U.S. military.

And even with the recent Republican implosion, one of them could still win. All it would take is another attack on U.S. soil. And that could happen because the Al Qaedas of the world don't seem to want a peaceful settlement to a geo-political crisis fueled by religious fervor that has been going on for over half a century. In their hysteria, they simply cry for the elimination if Israel. And that's not going to happen. And they have no other apparent political goals short of Armageddon and, in a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy, may have the means to create it.

One messianic maniac with a bomb vest and a thirst for holy war can wreak enough havoc in another attack on U.S. soil to make sure the fight goes on. The war with Iraq was sold as a response to 9/11. It didn't matter that it was untrue. Enough people bought the lie based on national outrage and a desire for vengeance. And we can be sold again.

If the recent appearance by Petraeus in his soldier suit conducting his wag-the-dog-and-pony show, complete with death charts, and cheered on by partisan cries from the sidelines via football metaphors like “we're going on offense” and “we've got the ball and we're headed down the field” don't trigger mass demonstrations and cries for impeachment, and if a recent poll is true that one in three Americans still believe there was a Saddam/9-11 connection, then we remain intellectually and politically malleable. Just push the right buttons where and when it counts, and we'll respond. Or worse, we'll do nothing.

Another attack timed close enough to the election to allow for maximum outrage and cries for revenge could provide the GOP with all the campaign rhetoric it needs to cut another anemic Democratic ticket off at the knees. And if enough people in the right states fall for this misdirection, then we could be fighting for another 8 years. Unless a century after the last one, this really becomes the “war to end all wars.” It could happen. And that's what scares me.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


George Bush will not be impeached. He will not change course. He is impervious to facts and immune to sarcasm. He will never admit he's wrong, which is the mark of the true idiot, and all the Times editorials and GAO reports will not effect the theatre of the absurd he's concocted entitled “Waiting for the Petraeus Report."

The only hope for peace is the 2008 elections and getting a Democrat in the White House. And with the Republicans going down the toilet literally and figuratively, it seems like a sure thing. But never count these people out. Like the Terminator, just when you think they're dead, they reform out of that mercurial slime back into a killing machine. Never underestimate their lack of decency when there is money, power and oil at stake. They will not go gently, especially when there is still swift boating to be done, muck to rake, and electoral votes to partition. Whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be will find him or herself weathering a shitstorm of lies and misdirection that will pull lesser minds under its sway. As such, there is only one way to protect ourselves: bring back literacy tests.

Once a form of covert racism in the separate but equal south, it was not a bad idea on its face as a way of ensuring a minimum level of intelligence, like the bar at an amusement park saying: “you have to be this smart to vote." And if Literacy Test still carries too negative a connotation, maybe change the name to, I don't know, something more user-friendly, like Shithead Quiz. Nothing too complex; just a simple 10-question primer on current events. Maybe something like:

1) Global warming is:

a) destroying the planet.
b) a plot by Al Gore to force me to drive a golf cart.

2) Waterboarding is:

a) a form of torture.
b) an X-Games sport.

3) Gay people are:

a) just people trying to live their lives.
b) after me.

4) The Vice President is:

a) a heartless power-mad scumbag who shot his friend in the face.
b) not a member of the executive branch.

5) Bill O'Reilly is:

a) a responsible newsman hosting a healthy debate on the issues that face our democracy as part of a Platonic search for Truth.
b) Goebbels.

6) New Orleans was flooded because:

a) the levees were not build to withstand a powerful hurricane.
b) God hates jazz, and unnecessary fornication.

7) Jesus:

a) was a mystic who preached peace.
b) did the right thing when he realized he was Jewish -- became a Christian.

8) Real Americans:

a) are free to speak their minds.
b) trust the government and do what they're told so shut your mouth.

9) God is:

a) the name given by a particular religious tradition to the cosmic energy that courses through all things.
b) on my side.

10) George Bush is:

a) a great President who will be seen in history as the man who singlehandedly brought democracy to the Middle East and peace to a troubled world.
b) proof that hiring the handicapped has its limitations.

Answer key:

If you actually had to look down and check the answer key, you are officially declared TOO DUMB TO VOTE. Now put down the ballot, go home, and watch TV. We'll be over later to take away your guns. And your children.

Monday, September 3, 2007


“Great, so this asshole can’t wait to get home to the ranch to kick back and drive a truck? And I’m supposed to do what? Sit around and watch him lick his balls for a change? What about me? I’ve been crappin’ in the Rose Garden for 6 ½ years, eatin’ steak, livin’ like royalty and now what? I’m supposed to go back to that Texas pisshole and chase armadillas? Eat me. Not to mention the shit I’m gonna take from every bitch in the neighborhood, raggin’ on me that my master used the power of his office to nearly start World War III, let New Orleans drown, ratted out a CIA agent as a political ploy to deflect attention from being busted in a lie, employed greedy bastards, megalomaniacs and incompetents in every government office, let lobbyists run amok like it was the California Gold Rush, played fast and loose with the Constitution, and spent trillions on a war nobody wanted. And for that he thinks he’s goin’ on the lecture circuit? To teach what? How to fuck up the world in 10 easy lessons? ... Jesus! Oh, and speaking of Jesus, it’s “Blessed are the Peacemakers, asswipe!” And you think God’s gonna let you cry on his shoulder! If there is a God, I guarantee the first thing he’s gonna do when you get back to Crawford is whoop your ass, Texas-style. And if by some miracle, you do take the End Times ride to Heaven, I hope Molly Ivins does it, too! So in January of ’09, you can do the Nixon wave, climb on a chopper, and haul ass back to Texas but you’re goin’ alone, numbnuts! I’m not leavin’. I’m staying right here in the White House. Maybe the Democrats will adopt me if I promise not to eat Hillary’s cat. And if you try to take me, I’ll tell everyone how you, Karl, and Jeb stole the 2000 election. I heard it all, man. And I took notes. So do not screw with me!”

Oh, wait. That wasn’t Barney. That was Laura.

Any of this about to sound familiar?

An article from the Washington Post -- September, 2004

Battling for Iraq
By David H. Petraeus
Sunday, September 26, 2004; Page B07

BAGHDAD -- Helping organize, train and equip nearly a quarter-million of Iraq's security forces is a daunting task. Doing so in the middle of a tough insurgency increases the challenge enormously, making the mission akin to repairing an aircraft while in flight -- and while being shot at. Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up.
The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down. And Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of the new Iraq.

In recent months, I have observed thousands of Iraqis in training and then watched as they have conducted numerous operations. Although there have been reverses -- not to mention horrific terrorist attacks -- there has been progress in the effort to enable Iraqis to shoulder more of the load for their own security, something they are keen to do. The future undoubtedly will be full of difficulties, especially in places such as Fallujah. We must expect setbacks and recognize that not every soldier or policeman we help train will be equal to the challenges ahead.
Nonetheless, there are reasons for optimism. Today approximately 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 74,000 facility protection forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.
Most important, Iraqi security forces are in the fight -- so much so that they are suffering substantial casualties as they take on more and more of the burdens to achieve security in their country. Since Jan. 1 more than 700 Iraqi security force members have been killed, and hundreds of Iraqis seeking to volunteer for the police and military have been killed as well.
Six battalions of the Iraqi regular army and the Iraqi Intervention Force are now conducting operations. Two of these battalions, along with the Iraqi commando battalion, the counterterrorist force, two Iraqi National Guard battalions and thousands of policemen recently contributed to successful operations in Najaf. Their readiness to enter and clear the Imam Ali shrine was undoubtedly a key factor in enabling Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to persuade members of the Mahdi militia to lay down their arms and leave the shrine.
In another highly successful operation several days ago, the Iraqi counterterrorist force conducted early-morning raids in Najaf that resulted in the capture of several senior lieutenants and 40 other members of that militia, and the seizure of enough weapons to fill nearly four 7 1/2-ton dump trucks.
Within the next 60 days, six more regular army and six additional Intervention Force battalions will become operational. Nine more regular army battalions will complete training in January, in time to help with security missions during the Iraqi elections at the end of that month.
Iraqi National Guard battalions have also been active in recent months. Some 40 of the 45 existing battalions -- generally all except those in the Fallujah-Ramadi area -- are conducting operations on a daily basis, most alongside coalition forces, but many independently. Progress has also been made in police training. In the past week alone, some 1,100 graduated from the basic policing course and five specialty courses. By early spring, nine academies in Iraq and one in Jordan will be graduating a total of 5,000 police each month from the eight-week course, which stresses patrolling and investigative skills, substantive and procedural legal knowledge, and proper use of force and weaponry, as well as pride in the profession and adherence to the police code of conduct.
Iraq's borders are long, stretching more than 2,200 miles. Reducing the flow of extremists and their resources across the borders is critical to success in the counterinsurgency. As a result, with support from the Department of Homeland Security, specialized training for Iraq's border enforcement elements began earlier this month in Jordan.
Regional academies in Iraq have begun training as well, and more will come online soon. In the months ahead, the 16,000-strong border force will expand to 24,000 and then 32,000. In addition, these forces will be provided with modern technology, including vehicle X-ray machines, explosive-detection devices and ground sensors.
Outfitting hundreds of thousands of new Iraqi security forces is difficult and complex, and many of the units are not yet fully equipped. But equipment has begun flowing. Since July 1, for example, more than 39,000 weapons and 22 million rounds of ammunition have been delivered to Iraqi forces, in addition to 42,000 sets of body armor, 4,400 vehicles, 16,000 radios and more than 235,000 uniforms.
Considerable progress is also being made in the reconstruction and refurbishing of infrastructure for Iraq's security forces. Some $1 billion in construction to support this effort has been completed or is underway, and five Iraqi bases are already occupied by entire infantry brigades.
Numbers alone cannot convey the full story. The human dimension of this effort is crucial. The enemies of Iraq recognize how much is at stake as Iraq reestablishes its security forces. Insurgents and foreign fighters continue to mount barbaric attacks against police stations, recruiting centers and military installations, even though the vast majority of the population deplores such attacks. Yet despite the sensational attacks, there is no shortage of qualified recruits volunteering to join Iraqi security forces. In the past couple of months, more than 7,500 Iraqi men have signed up for the army and are preparing to report for basic training to fill out the final nine battalions of the Iraqi regular army. Some 3,500 new police recruits just reported for training in various locations. And two days after the recent bombing on a street outside a police recruiting location in Baghdad, hundreds of Iraqis were once again lined up inside the force protection walls at another location -- where they were greeted by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
I meet with Iraqi security force leaders every day. Though some have given in to acts of intimidation, many are displaying courage and resilience in the face of repeated threats and attacks on them, their families and their comrades. I have seen their determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq.
There will be more tough times, frustration and disappointment along the way. It is likely that insurgent attacks will escalate as Iraq's elections approach. Iraq's security forces are, however, developing steadily and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months. With strong Iraqi leaders out front and with continued coalition -- and now NATO -- support, this trend will continue. It will not be easy, but few worthwhile things are.

The writer, an Army lieutenant general, commands the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq. He previously commanded the 101st Airborne Division, which was deployed in Iraq from March 2003 until February 2004.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Greetings from Baghdad where The Surge is Working and it’s a balmy 130 degrees, so don’t forget that sunblock. SPF 50 ought to do it.

The flight was unremarkable, though private, thank God. I mean, if you’re going to visit a warzone, might as well be on a G4. Uneventful landing, no SAM’s whizzing by the fuselage. And, to my surprise, a duty free store at the airport with candy and scores of watches. Must remember on the way out to grab some I (heart) Baghdad T shirts for the kids and mugs for the CBS staff.

So much to take in on my first day. Ride to the so-called Green Zone was a stark reminder that there’s a war going on here. Concrete barricades everywhere, lots of barbed wires. And the checkpoints. One after the other. Apparently, the place used to be strewn with IED’s – military shorthand for Improvised Explosive Devices – which insurgents (the bad people) have used to blow up U.S. troops (the good people) and even many Iraqis (the people caught in the middle.) But that doesn’t happen as often because The Surge is Working.

Finally made it to the Green Zone, which I’ve been told is the absolute must first (and only) stop for a foreigner in Baghdad. Since all this terminology is new to many Americans, let me explain. The “Green Zone” is where important good people live, to make it harder for bad people to blow them up. Our living conditions are hugely luxurious. We’ve taken over a house rented from a wealthy Iraqi entrepreneur (wonder if he knows where any of that missing 8 billion is. Should make a note to schedule a hard-hitting, no-nonsense interview.) Anyway, the house has air conditioning, a pretty spacious kitchen, and multiple televisions. Alas, no flat screens or HD but, heck, when you’re at the front lines, you need to learn to tough it out.

Met some of the CBS staff, including a producer who’s been here from the beginning of the war. I asked him why he didn’t try to get another assignment. He said: “This is one of the most important stories in the world. I’m a reporter. It’s not only my job to understand the situation from an historical, religious, and geo-political perspective, but to be an eye- witness to events as they unfold, then to learn the facts, and report those facts back to the American people in as unbiased a way as I possibly can so they can become a more informed electorate, and that requires my physically being in the country for extended periods of time instead of parachuting in for a week for a photo op just to give myself some instant journalistic street cred.” Hmm… Apparently, that happens. Wouldn’t be surprised though, as there will probably more journalists in town pretty soon as The Surge is Working.

Later in the day, we visited the home of a typical Iraqi family just to see what day-to-day life was for them. Even though their apartment was small, extremely hot, had no running water and spotty electricity, (which would be like a 2-grand a month upper east side one bedroom) they were warm and welcoming. And while they told me they were afraid for their safety on a daily basis, the most heartbreaking thing of all was that their young children, ages 9, 7, and 8 months couldn’t even play outside because of the bombs and bullets. Yet the parents don’t blame U.S. forces and hope that the Americans will stay because if they don’t “the militias will kill everyone.” I told them not to worry about that because The Surge is Working.

(A thought: would’ve been fun to bring Willard here for one of his Smuckers tribute to those rascally centenarians, but I’ve been told that it’s tough to find anyone in Iraq who’s made it past 100.)

When we returned my producer informed me that what we did was a bit dangerous and we could have been victims of a kidnapping, or worse, which has happened to scores of journalists in Baghdad since the war began four years ago. Great, now he tells me!

Anyway, I’m anxious to get to my exclusive interview with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to get a better handle on the situation on the ground, as all Americans, up to and including the president, are anxiously awaiting their report to the Congress and the American people, having absolutely no idea what they’re going to say. Hmm…I smell a scoop.

All in all, it’s been an eventful day, and has given me a fuller appreciation of the situation on the ground and admiration and respect for our troops who I’m told must patrol the 110 degree streets in full body armor and heavy uniforms, but they are the boots of freedom – boots for which we should all be grateful.

Tune in tomorrow for more of my report from the front lines in Baghdad. We’ll be featuring “Kevlar fashions for Fall” hosted by Donna Karan, a cooking segment entitled: “Quickie goat recipes for that electric oven that’s only got an hour of power a day!” and a Concert in the Rubble, featuring the song stylings of crooner Michael Buble, who’ll be singing his new hit single: “The Surge is Working.” If that doesn’t get the bullets flying from all sides, I don’t know what will.