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Matthew Hoy currently works as a metro page designer at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The opinions presented here do not represent those of the Union-Tribune and are solely those of the author.

If you have any opinions or comments, please e-mail the author at: hoystory -at- cox -dot- net.

Dec. 7, 2001
Christian Coalition Challenged
Hoystory interviews al Qaeda
Fisking Fritz
Politicizing Prescription Drugs

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Sunday, January 23, 2005
Don't judge a press release by its headline: At last week's confirmation hearings for Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, Sen. Joseph Biden (Plagiarist-Del.) suggested that Rice needed a little reality check when it came to the number of Iraqi troops we have trained.

Rice puts the total number -- including police officers, border patrol, regular army -- at more than 100,000. Biden countered -- and the press used as gospel -- with a smaller number: 4,000.

If you pause to think about it, that number doesn't pass the smell test. With the reports we get from the press almost daily of terrorists bombing police stations, kidnapping and executing Iraqi soldiers, etc., you'd have to calculate that there are maybe 1,000 of them left in the entire country and we're keeping them locked tight in a bank vault so we don't lose all of them.

So, where does Biden get this absurdly small number? Well, a commenter over at Captain's Quarters found out, but it has been so buried that no one in the mainstream media has reported on it.

Biden's number comes from this press release headlined: "IRAQ: IRAQI SECURITY FORCE TROOPS GROW TO NEARLY 4,000." Uh oh, looks like Biden's right -- until you actually read the rest of the document.

MOSUL, Iraq -- In an effort to provide enhanced security and stability for the Jan. 30 elections, Iraqi Security Forces have increased the number of troops in northern Iraq.

Currently there are nearly 4,000 Iraqi Security Forces in the Mosul area. Their forces include members of the Iraqi National Guard and Iraqi Regular Army. Troops will continue to move into the area as the elections draw closer.

The increase in Iraqi Security Forces will provide additional security to allow the citizens of Iraq to vote.

That's right, 4,000 troops is the number in Mosul -- and only Mosul.

Yet Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" today, used Biden's number to challenge U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, with a question on how many troops we really have trained.

When President Bush makes a whopper of a misstatement the media pile on and we get a correction. When the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations committee tells a whopper, there is no fact checking, no correction.

Mainstream media, this is your wake-up call.

11:30 PM

I listened to Biden's accounting during the hearing and it certainly doesn't jibe with what you say. I suspect that the key to this arguement is the definition of "trained." If we have over 100,000 "trained" security forces, then why are we still there. Rice was fudging the figures far more than Biden. And by the way, why are we securing the borders now, shouldn't that have been done from the very beginning--or maybe we are just saying that to encourage the Iraqis to vote in larger numbers.
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