As the former CIA agent and current Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi comes to Washington to praise President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, we examine what is actually happening in the streets of Iraq. We host a debate with two reporters who have been embedded in Iraq, Karl Zinsmeister of AEI and Christian Parenti. [includes rush transcript]
In his first official visit to the United States, Iraq’s interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi addressed a joint session of the US congress yesterday. He thanked the Bush administration and congress for overthrowing the government of Saddam Hussein and said that the US occupation authority and the Iraqi government were winning the battle against what he called terrorists operating in Iraq.
He chastised the US media for painting what Allawi called an unfair picture of the situation in Iraq, saying that what he sees on US TV does not reflect the successes of the occupation. Later in the day, Allawi met with President Bush at the White House. The president praised Allawi’s government and gave this assessment of the situation on the ground in Iraq.
For his part, Allawi said that despite the daily bloodshed, regular beheadings and an increasingly visible resistance, Iraq is becoming more stable every day. He said 14 or 15 of Iraq’s 18 provinces "are completely safe. He highlighted what he said were the economic successes in the new Iraq.
As Allawi made his way around Washington yesterday, Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was campaigning in Ohio where he commented on the statements by both Bush and Allawi that the US was winning in Iraq.
With the recent beheadings of two American contractors kidnapped in Iraq, both Bush and Allawi were asked a number of times yesterday about what appear to be stepped up attacks by resistance groups.
To discuss Allawi’s visit and the current situation in Iraq, we are joined by 2 journalists who have spent extensive time on the frontlines in Iraq.
- Karl Zinsmeister, editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise Magazine and author of the new book, Dawn Over Baghdad: How the US Military is Using Bullets and Ballots to Remake Iraq. He has spent extensive time in Iraq embedded with US troops.
- Christian Parenti, correspondent for the Nation Magazine and author of the forthcoming book The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq. Over the past year he has been embedded with US troops and has spent time with Iraqi resistance groups.