it turns out that you can walk through a market three minutes from the green zone with 100 armed soldiers, 3 black hawk helicopters, and 2 apache helicopters and be safe. I guess McCain is right when americans are "not getting the full picture", its worth than we thought.
Neither here nor there, just comment on the real issue. It's pretty hypocritical to say American's aren't getting the real picture about Iraq, say there are parts of Iraq you can safely walk through, yet he's walking through a market three minutes from the green zone with all that security. Did he not just confirm our beliefs about Iraq by doing that? Yes he's a politican so he's concerned with his safety, but come on.
Iraqis in the capital said Tuesday that Sen. John McCain's account of a heavily guarded visit to a central market did not represent the current reality in Baghdad, with one calling it "propaganda."
Jaafar Moussa Thamir, a 42-year-old who sells electrical appliances at the Shorja market that the Republican congressmen visited on Sunday, said the delegation greeted some fellow vendors with Arabic phrases but he was not impressed.
"They were just making fun of us and paid this visit just for their own interests," he said. "Do they think that when they come and speak few Arabic words in a very bad manner it will make us love them? This country and its society have been destroyed because of them and I hope that they realized that during this visit."
Leading a congressional delegation to Baghdad's oldest market over the weekend, Sen. McCain praised the safety of the city since the American troop surge, reports Martin Seemungal for CBS News.
But according to someone who was actually with the delegation, that sense of security required a massive military operation: dozens of U.S soldiers, snipers, and helicopters hovering overhead.
The shopkeepers were back Monday, adds Seemungal, but they confirmed that Sen. McCain's delegation could never have come here without heavy security.
McCain, a Republican presidential hopeful who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said he was "cautiously optimistic" after riding with other members of a Republican congressional delegation from Baghdad's airport Sunday in armored vehicles under heavy guard to visit Shorja.
The market has been hit by bombings including a February attack that killed 137 people. The delegation said the trips were proof that security was improving in the capital.
McCain acknowledged a difficult task lies ahead in Iraq, but he insisted a U.S.-Iraqi security plan was working, citing a recent drop in execution-style sectarian killings, the establishment of security posts throughout the city and Sunni tribal efforts against al Qaeda in the western Anbar province.
"These and other indicators are reason for cautious, very cautious optimism about the effects of the new strategy," the Arizona senator said.
The congressmen, who wore body armor during their hour-long shopping excursion at the Shorja market, said they were touched by the resilience and warmth of the Iraqi people, some of whom would not take money for their souvenirs.
The delegation was accompanied by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and followed his lead in taking off their helmets as they bought souvenirs and drank tea.
"I didn't care about him, I even turned my eyes away," Thamir said. "We are being killed by the dozens every day because of them. What were they trying to tell us? They are just pretenders."
Karim Abdullah, a 37-year-old textile merchant, said the congressmen were kept under tight security and accompanied by dozens of U.S. troops.
"They were laughing and talking to people as if there was nothing going on in this country or at least they were pretending that they were tourists and were visiting the city's old market and buying souvenirs," he said. "To achieve this, they sealed off the area, put themselves in flak jackets and walked in the middle of tens of armed American soldiers."
But Abdullah applauded the congressmen for venturing out of the heavily guarded Green Zone, which houses the U.S. and British embassies as well as Iraqi government offices.
"Although these U.S. officials were using this visit for their propaganda to tell the Americans 'we are gaining progress here, don't worry,' it left a kind of good impression with some of us," he said. "They are at least better than Iraqi officials who never venture out their Green Zone to talk to normal people and see their problems. I hope that this visit will encourage Iraqi officials to leave their fortified houses inside the Green Zone."
McCain and fellow Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Representative Mike Pence of Indiana and Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona traveled Monday to Anbar province, a Sunni insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad that also is part of the security crackdown to which President Bush has committed some 30,000 extra troops.
The congressmen met with provincial police as well as Sheik Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi, who is leading a growing movement of Sunni tribesmen who have turned against al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Anbar, the military said in a statement issued Tuesday.
A NEWBORN baby was one of at least 14 children and adults killed today when a suicide bomber detonated a truck laden with explosives close to a primary school in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
The latest massacre of Iraqi children came as 21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital.
The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.
The Kirkuk bloodshed erupted when a bomber driving a truck full of explosives hidden by sacks of flour targeted an Iraqi police station that US soldiers were visiting. The full force of the blast hit a nearby primary school.
Buthayna Mahmud, 10, was horrified to see the bodies of her classmates strewn on the ground in flames.
⁈Å"Everyone I saw was wearing the blue school uniform drenched with blood. Some of their dresses were torn. I only saw fire. I heard teachers and students shouting,⁈ she said. ⁈Å"When we rushed out of the school, we saw pupils on the ground, some of them burning.⁈
⁈Å"We were at the last lesson and we heard the explosion. I saw two of my classmates sitting near the window. They fell on the floor, drenched in blood,⁈ said Naz Omar, a girl in the fifth form. ⁈Å"They could not speak. I was terrified. I said, ⁈