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Kurdish leader blasts media

Posted by Richard on November 7, 2006

The grass-roots pro-troop organization, Move America Forward, is sponsoring a delegation of Gold Star Families — families who lost a child in Operation Iraqi Freedom — on a ten-day trip to Iraq to see first-hand what their children gave their lives for and to show their support for our troops. On Monday, they met with the Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government, who told them he couldn’t believe how distorted the Western media’s coverage of Iraq has been (emphasis added):

"CNN International and [Arabic television network] al-Jazeera are equally bad in their coverage of the situation in Iraq," Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was quoted as telling a visiting group of Americans on Monday.

"When I was in the United States recently and read the negative news in the Washington Post, New York Times and in the network TV broadcasts, I even wondered if things had gotten so bad since I had left that I shouldn’t return," he said.

Move America Forward spent a year planning the Gold Star Families trip, but kept it strictly secret until the delegation actually arrived in Iraq on Saturday. They’ve met with U.S. troops, Iraqi leaders, and Iraqi citizens. You can see the latest pictures of the trip at this photo gallery.

Members of the delegation were thrilled that Saddam’s guilty verdict was announced while they were there, and they celebrated with Iraqis:

"Justice has been served, and we are now celebrating together with the people of Iraq," said Joseph Williams, whose son, Michael, was killed near Nasiriyah in March 2003.

Another parent, Mike Anderson, said the verdict provided additional justification for the war on terrorism.

"We are doing the right thing in Iraq, and many of the people in Iraq are trying to do the right thing in building a future free of violence and terrorism," said Anderson, whose son, Michael Jr., died in Anbar province in December 2004.

Debra Argel Bastian, whose son Derek Argel died in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province in May 2005, agreed.

"I am so happy to see that justice has prevailed over terrorism and bloodshed," she said. "I am so proud of the men and women of the United States military who have made this moment possible. And I honor the sacrifice my son gave to serve his country in the war against terrorism."

Among those on the trip are Joe and Jan Johnson, whose son Justin was killed in Baghdad in April 2004. The Johnsons, like others in the delegation, had a low opinion of Sen. John Kerry’s recent comment (emphasis added):

Kerry last week triggered a storm when he said during a California campaign event: "Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."

As Cybercast News Service reported recently, the Johnsons claim in a newly released book that Kerry tried to recruit them at their son’s funeral to speak out against President Bush and the war in Iraq.

Instead, the family, whose son was good friends with Casey Sheehan, son of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, said they support the president and the war.

"I want to be able to tell the troops that there are Americans who still believe we are doing the right thing by being here," Joe Johnson said.

Move America Forward has put the photo of U.S. troops holding a "HALP US JON CARRY" sign on the front of a T-shirt. The back says:

I Support Our Troops!

Smart. Brave. Proud.

They deserve our respect & gratitude.

They’re $15, and you can order them here. If you know anyone with a loved one in the military, there’s your Christmas present.

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